The South Korean government is set to lanuch the nation's first power-to-gas (P2G) project, which converts electricity produced by solar power or wind power into hydrogen or methane gas. It is planning to invest 49 billion won (US$44 million) over the next five years to develop core technologies and build a demonstration plant.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will spend 28.50 billion won (US$25.31 million) from its own budget and attract 20 billion won (US$18 million) from private companies to finance the P2G R&D demonstration project, which will be promoted from this year to 2023.
The project is designed to store surplus electricity generated by solar power and wind power whose output changes greatly depending on weather conditions and seasons.
P2G is a technology that stores renewable energy generated by solar power and wind power in the form of hydrogen or methane. It can convert electrical power to a gas fuel. When power output is high, the technology electrolyzes water by using the surplus electricity that is dumped, producing hydrogen or methane, which is then injected into a gas network.
Hydrogen and methane can be used as a fuel for gas turbines, fuel cells and CNG-powered vehicles. A P2G plant can be built in an existing natural gas facility or a regional combined thermal power plant. The plant can also process carbon dioxide emitted from power plants in the process of converting hydrogen into methane. In addition, they can utilize waste heat generated in the process of converting hydrogen back into electricity.