- World’s largest power-to-gas plant compensates for load peaks
- Qualification confirmed for participation in the electricity balancing market
July 15, 2015 – The Audi e-gas plant in the city of Werlte in Lower Saxony produces CO2 neutral fuel, and it also contributes toward stabilising the public power grid. After successfully completing a test sequence, the plant is now qualified for participating in what is known as the electricity balancing market.
In the German electrical energy mix, the share of renewable energies is growing rapidly – this share already reached 33 percent in the first half of 2015. However, regional expansion of wind and photovoltaic generation plants leads to increasingly larger load fluctuations – it is therefore important to have flexible consumers like the Audi e-gas plant ready to buffer load peaks and thereby stabilise energy grids.
The Audi e-gas plant in Werlte (Emsland) is able to respond to even slight load changes in the electricity grid to balance them out. This has resulted in the plant being accepted under the direction of grid operator Tennet TSO GmbH. The plant had to be able to draw 6 megawatts of power from the grid within five minutes as well as run prescribed load profiles. By passing this test, the Audi e-gas plant has been qualified for participation in what is known as the electricity balancing market that is organised by grid operators. This means that the plant can now target higher annual operating times, which benefits the power grid and the amount of Audi e-gas that is produced.
The power-to-gas plant in Werlte, which produces synthetic methane (Audi e-gas) from water and CO2 utilising wind-generated electricity, was launched in 2013. Audi customers can pay with the Audi e-gas card at CNG fueling stations, and Audi then feeds equivalent quantities of e-gas into the German natural gas network. The Audi A3 Sportback g-tron with 81 kW of power is currently available from dealers. The new Audi A4 Avant g-tron with 125 kW will follow next year.
Both models can be driven climate-neutrally with Audi e-gas. This means that the amount of CO2 that is emitted during vehicle operation is equal to the amount that is chemically bound to produce the fuel.
In addition to e-gas production in multiple plants, the brand with the four rings is also working on a broad front to develop other CO2-neutral fuels – Audi e-fuels. In early 2015, a pilot plant in Dresden that is operated by project partner sunfire GmbH started up production of the synthetic fuel Audi e-diesel. Audi is also conducting joint research on the synthetic manufacture of Audi e-gasoline with the French company Global Bioenergies S.A.
In another project, Audi is working together with the USA-based company Joule Unlimited Technologies, Inc., which is using microorganisms to produce the synthetic fuels Audi e-diesel and Audi e-ethanol. In the field of e-gas, Audi is also working with a partner to develop a new production method in which the methanation process runs on biological pathways.