The “CO2-Eating Monster”, a new success “Made in BFP”
The construction of the first plant in Italy that turns the surplus of energy from renewable sources into gas
Transforming the surplus of wind and solar energy produced in the Apulian “Dauni” mountains into methane: this is the goal achieved thanks to the work of BFP GROUP that managed and developed the whole project carrying out Basic and Detail Engineering, Civil and Electrical Construction and related interconnections, Construction Management and Supervision. We are talking about the new pilot plant in Troia (Foggia), the only one in Italy, that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The plant was completed in July and is already in operation as part of the project of “STORE & GO”, founded by the European Union’s “Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme”.
On October 18th, in Brussels, the “STORE & GO” Consortium – which includes both BFP GROUP and the Municipality of Troia – met the main stakeholders of the European Commission and the industrial and research sectors to discuss the potential applications of the power-to-gas technology, a fundamental step to achieve the European zero-carbon energy plans and develop the Climate Package of the “20-20-20 Plan”.
The plant collects carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and matches it to the hydrogen (H2) to produce fuel (methane) with little or no added CO2 in the atmosphere. Currently only three plants like this exist, the other two are in Switzerland and in Germany.
The new Italian plant will work for over 4000 hours in 17 months (less than 8 hours a day) and will capture CO2, combining it with other gases, and transforming it into methane to be used as vehicle fuel or for storage systems that make it possible to maximize the exploitation of renewable resources (wind and photovoltaics).
The 200 kWh-power plant engineered and designed by BFP filters up to 150 tons of CO2 from the air per year. At the same time, an alkaline electrolyzer (1.2 MW) locally generates 240 cubic meters of renewable hydrogen per hour using the excess of photovoltaic energy on site. The captured CO2 and the renewable hydrogen are therefore catalytically turned into methane (the said Power-to-Gas process) in modular reactors. The methane is then liquefied and used to fuel natural gas trucks.
The electrolyzer is present on the intervention site in Troia because of the previous experimental project called “Ingrid”, a project co-funded by the 7th Framework Program of the European Union, which proposed an innovative solution to accumulate hydrogen in a solid state, in order to exploit the surplus of electricity from renewable sources that would otherwise be lost. BFP was one of the partners of this project too.
The conversion of electricity into methane takes place through successive steps; the hydrogen (4kg/h), produced by the electrolysis process, is then sent to a methanizer, supplied by the company ATMOSTAT, which together with CO2 (20 kg/h) obtained by a CO2 sensor supplied by the company CLIMEWORKS AG, produces methane in a gaseous state (8kg/h). The methane obtained is then sent to a cryogenic system, supplied by the company HYSYTECH SRL, which transforms almost all the gaseous methane into liquid methane, which is then stored in a special tank at a controlled temperature, while the remaining quantity of gaseous methane is sent back to the methanizer to restart the process.
For a territory like Apulia, the second Italian region after Lombardy for the production of electricity, and the first in Italy for power production from renewable sources, STORE & GO represents a response to the energy surplus produced and the problems related to the mismatching between intermittent energy production and its use.
The repercussions on environmental, social and economic sustainability are evident, as well as the prestige of affirming that the experimentation for the renewable energy optimization has also reached Italy.