BIOHIDROGAS will valorise the biomethane technology developed at IREC

  • Energy storage

The consumption of natural gas represents 20-25% of the primary energy consumed today in Catalonia, necessary for industrial activity, and for applications that are difficult to electrify in the short and medium term. To replace this demand with renewable gas and in a sovereign manner, there is currently a major expansion of biogas and biomethane generation plants. To increase the production of renewable methane gas, biogas can be combined with green hydrogen. This technology, called methanation, converts carbon dioxide present in the biogas and prevents its emission. The final product, renewable methane, has the same properties as fossil natural gas, can be transported through existing infrastructures, and facilitates the decarbonisation of industrial activity.

The few commercial methanation technologies still have a prohibitive cost and present certain deficiencies. IREC has designed its own reactor to minimize investment and operation costs, while maintaining the quality of the final product. The technological strategy has been based on the simplification of the system of heat exchange and reduction of auxiliary equipment. With a commitment to appropriate technology for small biogas production plants distributed in the territory, the aim is to facilitate the deployment of green methane. Currently, these devices have been validated, both at laboratory scale, and in real conditions at a pilot plant. Specifically, within the framework of the Ruralgas project (validation of valorisation devices of biogas for rural areas), the technology has been validated with the biogas generated in the controlled deposit of Mas de Barberans in Terres de l’Ebre.

The reduction of the environmental impact is based on being the only technology that allows the valorisation of all the biogenic carbon present in waste; allowing the storage of renewable electric energy, in the form of fuel through the generation and consumption of hydrogen; and facilitating the decarbonization of the natural gas network. At an economic level, the possibility of using competitive renewable natural gas is offered to the industrial and domestic sectors. In any case, the differential trait of the technology is its social impact, since its promotion will enable the construction of small plants distributed throughout the territory, which at the same time will allow to create qualified jobs, and to offer the possibility of stabilizing the population in the area.

In this line, the project BIOHIDROGAS (Devices for converting biogas with hydrogen to renewable gas) is an “Innovadors” grant (AGAUR) that is focused on the valorisation and transfer of this development line at IREC. The project has been granted a total of 84,000 euros and will have a duration of 18 months.

Jordi Guilera, head of the research line in thermochemistry and bioenergy at IREC, leads this project, which includes the hiring of Rosana Boccia who has an entrepreneurial profile and will carry out the necessary activities for the transfer to the productive sector of the technology developed by our institute.

Acknowledgments (in Catalan): Amb el suport del Departament de Recerca i Universitats de la Generalitat de Catalunya.