Methane from Renewable Energies. CO2 Capture and Use in the Residential, Industrial and Automotive sector

      One of the most promising technologies for energy storage is Power to Gas. This technology uses electricity to dissociate water in hydrogen (stored energy) and oxygen (byproduct) by means of electrolysers. Then, methanation combines the hydrogen with carbon dioxide to produce synthetic methane. Thus, surplus electricity from the electric network can be stored in the gas infrastructure. The MERCURIA project focuses on the design, commissioningn and testing of a methanation reactor at laboratory scale (1 – 5 kWH2). The experimental production of methane under different operating conditions will be characterized, together with the energy yields and the quality of  the produced gas.

      The experimental plant consists of a pre-mixer fed by bottled gas, a ceramic heater to pre-heat the reagent mixture up to 300 – 400 ºC, a methanation reactor (with electrical heating and air cooling), a water condenser and a burner to co-fire the synthetic methane with butane. For cleaning and heating purposes, the facility also includes a N2 entry. Pressure, temperature and mass flows are measured with standard instrumentation in different points of the installation, while the gas composition is measured with a gas analyzer before and after the methanation stage. The operation parameters, in particular mass flows of reactants, are controlled by Labview, which also records the on-line measurements. Hydrogen flow ranges from 335 to 1796 l/h, equivalent to 1-5 kWH2 input, while CO2 flow varies from 84 to 446 l/h.

      The reactor is a “double pipe” design with parallel flows (air as cooling fluid in the outer side) and equipped with two CaF2 crystal viewports. The catalyst fixed bed is located inside the tube of L=590 mm length, 33.4 mm inner diameter and 4.45 mm thickness. The cooling air flows through the annular space, being 100 mm the outer diameter of the shell. The tube is filled with 50 – 100 grams of commercial pellets of alumina impregnated with Ruthenium (0.5 wt.% Ru/Al2O3) and quartz wool.

  • An experimental plant for methanation was designed, commissioned and operated.

  • Experimental campaigns were carried out to test the extent of the methanation reaction at different inputs (catalyst quantity, activation time, reactor temperature, type of reactor). The model developed in Aspen Plus shows good agreement between simulated conversion and experimental results, with and without reactor cooling for different reactor temperatures.

  • The application of Power to Gas to different sectors has been theoretically analyzed in 7 papers (oxyfuel combustion, buildings and power plants).
Completed 100%

Project info

01 January 2017 – 31 December 2020

Total budget: 183,920 €

Principal investigator
Luis M. Romeo (
University of Zaragoza

[1] Design configurations to achieve an effective CO2 use and mitigation through power to gas. LM Romeo, M Bailera. Journal of CO2 Utilization, Volume 39, 1 July 2020, Pages 101174.

[1] Decision-making methodology for managing photovoltaic surplus electricity through Power to Gas: Combined heat and power in urban buildings. M Bailera, B Peña, P Lisbona, LM Romeo. Applied Energy, Volume 228, 15 October 2018, Pages 1032-1045.
[2] Renewable energy sources and power-to-gas aided cogeneration for non-residential buildings. M Bailera, P Lisbona, E Llera, B Peña, LM Romeo. Energy, Volume 181, 15 August 2019, Pages 226-238.

Power plants
[1] Techno-economic feasibility of power to gas–oxy-fuel boiler hybrid system under uncertainty. M Bailera, DP Hanak, P Lisbona, LM Romeo. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 44, Issue 19,12 April 2019, Pages 9505-9516.
[2] Avoidance of partial load operation at coal-fired power plants by storing nuclear power through power to gas. M Bailera, P Lisbona, LM Romeo. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 44, Issue 47, 4 October 2019, Pages 26063-26075.
[3] Improved flexibility and economics of combined cycles by Power to Gas. M Bailera, B Peña, P Lisbona, LM Romeo. Frontiers in Energy Research, Volume 8, 14 July 2020, 151.
[4] Reducing cycling costs in coal fired power plants through power to hydrogen. LM Romeo, B Peña, M Bailera, P Lisbona. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 45, Issue 48, 30 September 2020, Pages 25838-25850.

Experimental results
[1] Lab-scale experimental tests of Power to Gas-Oxycombustion hybridization: system design and preliminary results. M Bailera, B Peña, P Lisbona, J Marín, LM Romeo. Energy, 2021, Pages 120375.

This project received funding from the R+D Spanish National Program from Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities) and the European Regional Development Funds (European Commission), under project ENE2016-76850-R