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WIREs Energy Environ.
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On the long‐term prospects of power‐to‐gas technologies

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Electricity generation from variable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar has grown in some countries at such a high rate that long‐term storage becomes relevant. The main rationale of power‐to‐gas (P2G) conversion of excess power is that the capacity of the gas pipelines and gas storage is much higher than that of the electricity transmission lines. This paper investigates the market prospects of hydrogen and methane from P2G conversion as a long‐term electricity storage option. Of specific interest is the future development of investment costs, economies‐of‐scale, the impact of the electricity price, and its distribution as well as possible locations. We conclude that from an economic point‐of‐view, the future prospects of all P2G technologies are much less promising than currently indicated in several papers and discussions. It will become very hard for P2G to compete in the electricity markets despite a high technological learning potential. However, for both hydrogen and methane, there are prospects for use in the transport sector. Already today compressed gas vehicles are by and large competitive. This article is categorized under: Concentrating Solar Power > Economics and Policy Energy Systems Economics > Economics and Policy Energy Systems Analysis > Systems and Infrastructure Energy and Transport > Economics and Policy
Development of electricity from variable renewable energy sources such as wind and photovoltaic in EU‐28 (data source EUROSTAT)
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Total specific costs per 100 km in 2050 depending on full‐load hours of the electrolysis for hydrogen and methane production
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Fuel/ energy costs of mobility per 100 km based on average of EU countries in 2050 depending on full‐load hours of the electrolysers
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Development of total costs of several technologies for long‐term storage of electricity for large and small storage type over time up to 2050 (full‐load hours, FLH = 2,800)
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Future perspectives of the investment costs for long‐term storage of electricity for large and small storage types with high learning rates
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Small storage types: Perspectives for the total costs of hydrogen and methane with low and high learning rates over time up to 2050 (full‐load hours, FLH = 2,800)
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Large storage types: Perspectives for the total costs of hydrogen and methane with low and high learning rates over time up to 2050 (full‐load hours, FLH = 2,800)
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Small storage types: Future perspectives of the investment cost of hydrogen and methane with low and high learning rates
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Large storage types: Future perspectives of the investment cost of hydrogen and methane with low and high learning rates
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Total mobility costs per 100 km in 2016 depending on full‐load hours of the electrolysers
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Energy (fuel) costs of mobility per 100 km depending on full‐load hours of the electrolysers (based on average of EU countries in 2016)
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The chain for the use of renewable energy source via hydrogen and methane in the transport sector
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Total production costs of hydrogen and methane depending on the full‐load hours of operation depending on the electric capacity of the electrolysis (as of 2016)
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Large system: The total cost of methane depending on capital costs, electricity costs, and the number of the full‐load hours
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Investment costs in electrolysis and methanation, as well as total system costs depending on the electric capacity of the electrolysis (as of 2016)
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The chain for producing methane and re‐electrification, efficiencies indicated as of 2016
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The chain for storing electricity as hydrogen or methane and re‐electrification via combined cycled gas turbine
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Survey on storage options depending on capacity and discharging time (Specht et al., ; Leonhard et al., )
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Electricity generation from renewable energy source over a year and the need for long‐term storage
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Example: Electricity generation from variable renewables (wind, photovoltaic, and run‐of‐river hydro) over a summer week on an hourly base in comparison to demand. (Adapted from Haas, Lettner, Auer, & Duic, )
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Basic principle of the P2G process: Converting electricity into hydrogen and methane
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Historical development of P2G conversion technologies from laboratory to demonstration plants. (Adapted from Enea (2016))
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Energy Systems Analysis > Systems and Infrastructure
Energy and Transport > Economics and Policy
Energy Systems Economics > Economics and Policy
Concentrating Solar Power > Economics and Policy

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