The ECo project has begun

Friday 03 Jun 16

A new European research project will develop and validate innovative energy conversion technologies to enable the storage of electricity from renewable sources. In a world more and more concerned with the issue of global warming and pollution – in particular CO2 emission – and increasing use of inherently fluctuating renewable power sources such as wind and solar, highly efficient pathways are needed to help balancing a growing electricity production/consumption mismatch. The ECo project (Efficient Co-Electrolyser for Efficient Renewable Energy Storage) will focus on conversion of excess renewable electricity into distributable and storable hydrocarbons, such as methane, by the simultaneous electrolysis of steam and CO2. This will be done using Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells (SOEC). ECo is a three-year project, involving nine partners from both academia and industry across six European countries; it starts May 2016.The ECo project will bring the technology from proof-of-concept to validation of the technology in a relevant environment, and make it ready for prototype demonstration.

The project focuses on hydrocarbon gas production as it has one great advantage over comparative storage options: it readily integrates with the existing natural gas networks and storage facilities. Already now, approx. 50% of the total electricity produced from renewable sources could be accommodated as methane in existing underground storage facilities in Europe. Thus, no additional infrastructure is necessary, saving significant investments. The comprehensive natural gas network also makes it a system of transport for bringing power from production to consumption areas.

The ECo partners are among the strongest within the field of solid oxide fuel and electrolysis cells, including strategic industrial players from different segments in the value chain, from cells to plants and system operators: Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA), European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER), École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), HTceramix, Laborelec/ENGIE, Enagas and VDZ. The project consortium is strengthened by an Industrial Advisory Board consisting of ECRA (European Cement Research Academy) and AkzoNobel. The overall ECo project coordinator is the Technical University of Denmark.

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13 JUNE 2024