Power-to-X: The concept of storing, converting and reviving power in different forms

You might as well get used to the expression "Power-to-X", as it will be one of the buzzwords that pops up in future discussions about green power, green fuels and greenhouse gas.

The “Power-to-X” concept covers the activities of taking surplus renewable electricity from wind, solar or water and converting it into other energy carriers (the “X”) to be able to store the energy for later use and absorb energy fluctuations.

The first step in the process is to convert the renewable power into hydrogen (H2) by electrolysis. Hydrogen, the smallest molecule we know, does not emit CO2 when burnt. It can be used immediately, or it can be stored in pressurised tanks and retrieved when supply is low.

There are several different utilisation pathways: Feeding hydrogen into the gas network, displacing some of the CO2-containing natural gas (Power-to-Gas), or through a methanation process with CO2 converting the hydrogen into methane. The methane can be injected into the natural gas network replacing the fossil natural gas (also Power-to-Gas). The CO2 source for the methanation process could i.e. be biogas produced from biowaste in biogas plants or wastewater plants.

Other concepts include production of methanol or ammonia to be used in fuel cells in cars and ships, or synthetic fuels to be used in conventional car and jet engines (Power-to-Liquids). This is all achieved through synthesis that involves hydrogen and a CO2 source that could, again, come from the process of converting waste into biogas.

The generated “green hydrogen” from renewable energies can also be used in fuel refining (hydrogenation) in conventional refineries as well as a basic chemical in many different industries (Power-to-Chemicals, Power-to-Plastics).

Finally, the stored hydrogen can also be concerted back into electricity when required via fuel cells (Power-to-Power).

Where can AVK contribute to the Power-to-X concept?

Many countries are looking at adding hydrogen into the existing gas networks to decarbonise natural gas. Gas at concentrations of up to 20% hydrogen can be transported in the existing natural gas network without the risk of damaging gas installations, distribution infrastructure etc.

Until well into the 20th century, hydrogen-rich town gas with a hydrogen concentration above 50% was distributed to households in i.e. Germany, the USA and England via gas pipelines. It could be assumed that many of the gas transport networks, distribution lines and storage facilities that were operated in the past are still in use today.

Blending hydrogen into natural gas pipeline networks has also been proposed as a means of delivering pure hydrogen to markets, using separation and purification technologies downstream to extract hydrogen from the natural gas blend close to the point of end use. As a hydrogen delivery method, blending can defray the cost of building dedicated hydrogen pipelines or other costly delivery infrastructure during the early market development phase.

In the UK and in the Nederlands, the possibility of converting the regions’ existing natural gas network (used primarily for municipal heating supply) entirely to hydrogen is being explored.

AVK in the Nederlands is supplying valves to a project at Arnhem Nijmegen University where 100% hydrogen is being tested in a test environment (top image).

In Denmark, Energinet is testing a small closed natural gas network with pressures ranging from 3 to 65 bar with up to 15% hydrogen. AVK visited the M/R station test facility in November 2019, represented by Jesper Kallehauge from AVK International, and Michael Ramlau and Michael Søgaard from AVK Holding (right image).

AVK UK and AVK Donkin is involved in a project (H100) where they are supplying S310 Flow Limitors to a test network with 100% hydrogen. The limitors are used to secure the network in case of a pipe burst, where it will cut off supply to avoid accidents (left image).

To AVK, embracing the future in power-to-x includes being able to confirm and to document that our products meet the rising needs of this industry. Among other factors, that means to type test our products to make sure that they are up for the task. AVK International A/S has collaborated with FORCE Technology in developing a valve test for hydrogen use. Learn more about the test here, and how our valves are meeting the requirements for hydrogen applications.


Wastewater is a valuable resource, not a problem

30-50% of a municipality’s energy consumption is used for water- and wastewater handling. The water- and wastewater sector accounts for 8% of the global energy consumption.

What if wastewater is seen as a resource instead of a problem? What if we can turn wastewater into renewable energy, producing electricity, biogas, district heating or -cooling, and recover other valuable resources from the sludge, e.g. phosphorus?

We can - and the potential savings are huge; not to speak of the many ways it would also assist in taking care of our nature and our climate. Today, around 80% of all human-induced wastewater is discharged directly into seas and oceans without any prior treatment.


What if waste is no longer considered waste?

What if, is no longer a relevant question….

It is possible to turn wastewater into renewable energy.

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