Good story (as usual) from Tux Turkel, Portland Press-Herald’s long-time energy writer, about the possibility of using excess power from Maine onshore wind farms, which are constrained by the grid, to generate hydrogen or methane that could then be shipped and burned.
During the winter, wind farms in eastern Maine may produce more power than they can feed into the grid. The pilot plant could use surplus electricity and equipment called an electrolyzer to extract hydrogen and oxygen from water, capture the hydrogen and mix it with natural gas in the pipeline system.
A further step could turn the hydrogen into natural gas through a process using carbon dioxide. In Colorado, the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory has partnered with California gas utility SoCalGas to build the nation’s first biomethanation reactor.
In Germany, methane gas derived from wind power and created through the methanation process is now being fed into gas pipeline networks.
It’s all very much in the “hey, wouldn’t this be great?” stage, but still viable. Read the whole story here.