Dietikon/Allendorf – The Swiss energy supplier Limeco is partnering with Viessmann subsidiaries microbEnergy and Schmack Biogas to build the world’s largest power-to-gas plant, which uses the microbiological conversion of hydrogen to methane. The technology was developed and brought to production maturity by Viessmann subsidiary microbEnergy. The technology supplier for the electrolysis is Siemens. The companies involved jointly signed the contract for services in this forward-looking major project.
Key technology for a sustainable energy system
Limeco is launching the project under the Swiss “Energiestrategie 2050” (Energy Strategy 2050), which seeks to phase out nuclear power, reduce greenhouse gases, and expand renewable energy such as solar or wind power. For Patrik Feusi, Limeco CEO, PtG technology is the key to a regional, environmentally friendly energy concept: “We are committed to a clean future every day. With electricity from our waste recycling plant and sewage gas from our wastewater treatment plant, we supply the two most important ingredients in the power-to-gas process – and all at the same site! This is why the first Swiss hybrid power plant makes sense right here in Dietikon.”
After the groundbreaking ceremony in spring 2020, the plant is due to go into operation in about one year. Schmack Biogas is responsible for the plant construction. Burning renewable gas instead of heating oil will then result in 4000 to 5000 tons fewer CO2 emissions per year, which is equivalent to the consumption of around 2000 households.
Ideal location for sector coupling
Doris Schmack, CEO of microbEnergy, pursues an integrated sector coupling approach and is confident that the Swiss site meets the necessary conditions: “With its three business areas of waste disposal, wastewater disposal, and heat supply, Limeco is predestined for a power-to-gas energy system. The excess electricity generated during the waste recycling process is converted to hydrogen and mixed with sewage gas from the wastewater treatment plant – this produces storable renewable gas.” The PEM (proton exchange membrane) electrolysis plant from Siemens has a total capacity of 2.5 MW and can thus generate up to 450 Nm³/h of hydrogen. This is then converted to biomethane together with the carbon dioxide from the sewage gas produced.
Huge potential for power-to-gas throughout Switzerland
The project is broadly supported through the collaboration between Limeco, Swisspower AG, and regional energy suppliers. They all see huge potential for power-to-gas in Switzerland. The energy requirements of over 250000 people could be covered by PtG plants at the 100 largest wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland alone.
Viessmann is continuously evolving from a heating technology manufacturer to a solution provider for the entire living space. To this end, the company develops seamless climate solutions that provide the human environment with the optimum room temperature, hot water, electricity, and good air quality in equal measure. In its integrated range of solutions, Viessmann seamlessly connects products and systems based on the right energy sources via platforms and digital services. Viessmann also offers a wide range of additional services. Striking the right balance between renewable energy sources and maximum energy efficiency in fossil fuels is paramount. The family business has been guided by values and a long-term outlook since its foundation in 1917. This is reflected in the company’s overarching mission statement: “We create living spaces for the generations to come.” This is the responsibility of the 12000 members of the Viessmann family around the world.
microbEnergy GmbH designs customized concepts for companies in the energy industry whose focus is on renewable and decentralized energy supply. The Viessmann Group company specializes in the conversion of hydrogen into methane, which can be stored in the natural gas network. With the multi-award-winning development of a biological process to generate methane in a power-to-gas plant, microbEnergy has developed a market-ready product for the energy revolution.
About Schmack Biogas
Schmack Biogas, Schwandorf, is one of the leading German suppliers in the biogas sector. The company can draw on more than 20 years of experience in plant construction and in the maintenance, operation, and optimization of biogas plants. The range of activities also includes technical and biological service, operational management, and modernization of biogas plants. Schmack Biogas is a company of the Viessmann Group.
In Switzerland, Siemens employs over 5700 people and is one of the country’s largest technology companies with an annual business volume of more than two billion Swiss francs. The company enjoys a strong market position in the fields of building and energy technology as well as industrial automation and drive technology. Siemens is a pioneer in the energy sector and covers a broad spectrum of competencies along the entire energy value chain (Siemens Gas and Power). Siemens is also a leader in rail and road transport technology (Siemens Mobility AG) and medical technology (Siemens Healthineers). The regional company Siemens Schweiz is headquartered in Albisrieden, Zurich. This is where the approximately 20 Swiss sites are managed and sales and service activities are coordinated.
The global headquarters of Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) is also based in Switzerland. The approximately 70000 employees who work around the world in the fields of building technology and energy distribution are managed from Zug. With a business volume of around 14 billion euros (pro forma figures), SI is one of the world’s largest industrial headquarters based in Switzerland.