Synthetic methane: a medium for storage and transportation of excess renewable energy

What are the key technologies in the conversion proces chain from electricity to gas?

Wim Haije (Photo: EDGaR/Jan Buwalda)


The project on synthetic methane aims at identifying and developing promising key technologies in the conversion process chain from electricity to gas. It encapsulates the identification of state-of-the-art conversion technologies, as well as promising technologies under development, and the associated efficiency of the electricity to gas conversion process. We expect that high efficiency conversion technologies will provide a versatile tool to balance electricity and gas grids, as a function of the offer–demand pattern of both commodities. In parallel, the project focuses on technological options for solving intermittency issues in energy supply due to the increasing share of renewables and for adjusting the energy supply to the demand. Participants from Delft University of Technology study a novel concept of versatile high temperature solid oxide electrolyser. The concept will render flexible the conversion of electricity from renewable to pure hydrogen. In addition, participants at ECN study novel concepts for synthetic methane or so-called substitute natural gas production from hydrogen and various carbon dioxide rich feedstock such as producer (bio)gases or carbon dioxide capture plants. Meanwhile, participants at the Hanze University Groningen will contribute on the distribution, storage and usage mode of substitute natural gas by end users in existing infrastructure and necessary adaptation of future gas network.

Theme: Future energy systems
Leader: Wim Haije (ECN)
Partners: ECN, Hanze University Groningen, Delft University of Technology 
Budget: 1.3 million euro
Duration: November 2011 / December 2014


P.V. Aravind (Delft University of Technology)
Michael Barankin (Hanze University Groningen)
Jan-Wilco Dijkstra (ECN)
Wim van Gemert (Hanze University Groningen)
Luc Rabou (ECN)
Wim Haije (ECN)
Stéphane Walspurger (ECN)
Theo Woudstra (Delft University of Technology)

Journal article

Walspurger, Stéphane, Wim G. Haije, Benoît Louis. “CO2 reduction to substitute natural gas: toward a global low carbon energy system.” Israel Journal of Chemistry 54 (2014): 1432–42.

Walspurger, Stéphane, Gerard D. Elzinga, Jan Wilco Dijkstra, Marija Sarić, Wim G. Haije. “Sorption enhanced methanation for substitute natural gas production: experimental results and thermodynamic considerations.” Chemical Engineering Journal 242 (2014): 379–86.


Martínez, C. Adrián Jiménez. “Life cycle assessment of synthetic natural gas production with surplus renewable energy and carbon dioxide.” MSc. thesis, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, 2014.


Sarić, Marija, Jan Wilco Dijkstra, Stéphane Walspurger. “Power-to-Gas coupling to biomethane production: a feasibility study.” Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Polygeneration Strategies (Vienna: ICPS, 2013): 10 p.


Dijker, M., R. de Jonge, H. Groenhagen, R. Meijer “Micro-combined heat and power: from biogas to pure methane.” Groningen: DNG KEMA, 2013.

Bakker, T., R. Bijkerk, R. van Straten, G. Tijseling. “Report: renewable energy minor – solid oxide fuel cell project.” Groningen: DNV GL, 2014. 

Conference paper

Sarić, Marija, Jan-Wilco Dijkstra, Luc P. L. M. Rabou, Wim G. Haije. “SNG quality in power to gas applications.” Sixth Research Day of the Energy Delta Gas Research, Nunspeet, April 2014.

Sarić, Marija, Jan Wilco Dijkstra, Luc Rabou, Stéphane Walspurger. “Power-to-Gas coupling to biomethane production.” 13 International Conference on Polygeneration Strategies, Vienna, September 2013.

Walspurger, Stéphane. "Balancing power grid and gas grid." Back to the Future of Gas: Energy Delta Convention, Groningen, November 2012.


Adrian, C. Jimenez, M. D. M. Barankin. “Life cycle assessment of methane production with surplus renewable energy and carbon dioxide [in Spanish].” CONACyT Europe Symposium, Strasbourg, November 2013.

Walspurger, Stéphane, J.W. Dijkstra, G. Botta, M. Barankin. “Synthetic methane for power storage.” Fifth Research Day of the Energy Delta Gas Research, Nunspeet, April 2013.

Walspurger, Stephane, Jan Wilco Dijkstra, Marija Saric, Wim Haije. "Steam sorption enhanced reaction processes." 11th International Symposium on the Fundamentals of Adsorption, Baltimore, May 2013.

In the news

"Power-to-gas on the go." Energy Delta Gas Research, 21 November 2012. (Featuring Stéphane Walspurger and the project Synthetic methane) 

Haije W. “Ronde tafel solar fuels: Nederland kan in internationale voorhoede van solar fuels meespelen.” Solar Magazine 5, 2 (2014): 24–5.