FIRST POWER-TO-GAS PLANT IN ICELAND
The first power-to-gas plant in Iceland is planned on the site of the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant. The third largest geothermal power plant in the world is operated by ON Power, a subsidiary of the municipal utility Reykjavik Energy. The site meets all the requirements for operating a power-to-gas plant: renewable electricity from the geothermal power plant as well as from the grid, water and CO2 are all available on site.
TRANSPORT AS LIQUID GAS
To ensure that the renewable gas can be transported in a compact manner, it will be cooled to -160 degrees until it is liquid. It will then be shipped in containers from Iceland to Basel and fed into the Swiss gas grid there. Liquid gas has a high energy density – one container holds around 300,000 kilowatt hours of renewable gas. This is enough to heat 30 households for one year. In total, the power-to-gas plant in Hellisheidi will produce around 100 gigawatt hours of renewable gas per year – enough for 10,000 households.
Carbon emissions will fall by around three quarters if renewable gas produced in Iceland is used in Switzerland instead of natural gas. This was shown by a life cycle analysis conducted by the independent consulting firm Swiss Climate.
In contrast to natural gas, no carbon tax has to be paid on renewable gas. The price of imported renewable gas from Iceland is therefore competitive with domestic biogas.
FURTHER PLANTS PLANNED IN ICELAND AND NORWAY
The Nordur Initiative plans to construct several further power-to-gas plants at various locations in Iceland. This will enable Switzerland to import around 160 gigawatt hours of renewable gas from Iceland in future.
In Norway, which has similar conditions to Iceland, further plants with Swiss participation could be constructed at a later date.