Renewable power-to-gas to decarbonise the transport sector

As an expert company providing consultancy in technologies and markets for energy transition, ENEA carried out a study for the IEA-RETD on the potential of renewable power-to-gas for the non-individual road transport sector. Indeed, mobility is the most viable market for power-to-gas, as shown in one of ENEA’s previous study. Here the study goes through an analysis of mobility uses and technology paths, TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) modeling and policy measures in order to provide recommendations on the potential of renewable power-to-gas mobility and on strategies and policy support to be set up to foster its development at large scale.

4th August 2016, by Jacques De Bucy ENEA - Consulting

To be environmentally sound, power-to-gas must be based on fully, or close to fully, renewable electricity.

Power-to-gas could hardly be a green mobility option without relying on renewable electricity. The access to renewable electricity for power-to-gas production plants implies some constraints on their operating conditions (i.e. number of yearly operating hours, price of electricity).

Captive fleets of long range light duty vehicles are the most promising market segment for early adoption of power-to-gas technology

On short ranges, power-to-gas is out-competed by the battery electric option which is inherently more energy efficient and benefits from a higher development status on the market. The development of power-to-gas mobility should thus focus on long range uses where battery-electric vehicles are not suited due to range constraints.

Renewable power-to-gas in the mobility sector will not grow without strong policy support

Whatever the market segment, renewable power-to-gas mobility will hardly compete with fossil options or with the cheapest renewable options (i.e. batteries and biomethane) without significant policy support. The regulation on renewable fuels in transport should at least include higher requirements in terms of share of renewable fuels at the distribution infrastructure level. In parallel, an exemption of taxes on electricity consumed and on fuel produced should be granted to power-to-gas plants running on renewable electricity. Subsidies for hydrogen distribution infrastructure, Green Public Procurement and direct financial support to private fleet operators are other recommended policy measures for power-to-gas deployment at larger scale.

This article is available on ENEA Consulting.

The previous study on the potential role of Power-to-Gas can be found here. The report of this study is available on IEA-RETD's website or you can download it here.

August 5th, 2016 - 14:21h