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Constructed under the SOLETAIR project implemented by LUT and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the facility is due to become operational during 2017. In addition to LUT, VTT and Gasum, the project is co-funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and a group of other Finnish enterprises.
At the pilot facility, hydrogen will be produced from solar electricity in a process where water is split by means of electrolysis. The resulting hydrogen can be combined with carbon dioxide obtained from air, and these two gases can then be converted to methane and other hydrocarbons. This means the demo facility could also serve as a filling station for gas-fueled vehicles.
Power-to-Gas is a concept developed in response to the increased prevalence of solar and wind power. Production peaks in weather-dependent electricity production result in the need for electricity storage. One option is to convert surplus electrical energy to gas, which can then later be used efficiently whenever required in transport or combined heat and power (CHP) production.
According to Gasum CTO Mari Tuomaala, ”being able to store solar and wind power through electrolysis opens up an entirely new production path for renewable gas that can be utilized efficiently in the existing gas infrastructure”. Gasum is supporting gas-related research and development work through several international and Finnish cutting-edge research projects.