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Energies 2017, 10(7), 855; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10070855

Experimental Investigation on CO2 Methanation Process for Solar Energy Storage Compared to CO2-Based Methanol Synthesis

1
Engineering Department, University of Perugia, CIRIAF, Via G. Duranti 67, 06125 Perugia, Italy
2
Department of Architectural Engineering & Technology, Environmental & Computational Design Section, TU Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 134, 2628 BL Delft, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 May 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract

The utilization of the captured CO2 as a carbon source for the production of energy storage media offers a technological solution for overcoming crucial issues in current energy systems. Solar energy production generally does not match with energy demand because of its intermittent and non-programmable nature, entailing the adoption of storage technologies. Hydrogen constitutes a chemical storage for renewable electricity if it is produced by water electrolysis and is also the key reactant for CO2 methanation (Sabatier reaction). The utilization of CO2 as a feedstock for producing methane contributes to alleviate global climate changes and sequestration related problems. The produced methane is a carbon neutral gas that fits into existing infrastructure and allows issues related to the aforementioned intermittency and non-programmability of solar energy to be overcome. In this paper, an experimental apparatus, composed of an electrolyzer and a tubular fixed bed reactor, is built and used to produce methane via Sabatier reaction. The objective of the experimental campaign is the evaluation of the process performance and a comparison with other CO2 valorization paths such as methanol production. The investigated pressure range was 2–20 bar, obtaining a methane volume fraction in outlet gaseous mixture of 64.75% at 8 bar and 97.24% at 20 bar, with conversion efficiencies of, respectively, 84.64% and 99.06%. The methanol and methane processes were compared on the basis of an energy parameter defined as the spent energy/stored energy. It is higher for the methanol process (0.45), with respect to the methane production process (0.41–0.43), which has a higher energy storage capability. View Full-Text
Keywords: CO2 methanation; carbon recycling; energy storage; solar energy; P2G Power to Gas; synthetic fuels CO2 methanation; carbon recycling; energy storage; solar energy; P2G Power to Gas; synthetic fuels
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Castellani, B.; Gambelli, A.M.; Morini, E.; Nastasi, B.; Presciutti, A.; Filipponi, M.; Nicolini, A.; Rossi, F. Experimental Investigation on CO2 Methanation Process for Solar Energy Storage Compared to CO2-Based Methanol Synthesis. Energies 2017, 10, 855.

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