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In Germany, 27 partners from research, industry and the energy sector are to develop solutions for the use of methane-based fuels in transport and energy supply in the new MethQuest lead project.

The project, which is being funded by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), technologies are to be developed that will support Germany’s energy transition using methane-based fuels from renewables.

The focus will also be on sector coupling, i.e. connecting up the energy and transport sectors.

Responsibility for the joint lead project coordination has been assigned by Federal Government’s coordinator to Rolls-Royce Power Systems and the DVGW Research Centre at Engler-Bunte-Institute (EBI) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

The project has a total value of 32 million euros, with financing provided by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) amounting to a total of 19 million euros.

Andreas Schell, CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, and Dr Frank Graf, director for gas technology at the DVGW Research Centre at Engler-Bunte-Institute of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, accepted the official grant approval on behalf of the 27 partners from research and industry.

Norbert Brackmann (right), Federal Government Coordinator for the Maritime Economy, presented the decision of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on the promotion of the lead project MethQuest to Andreas Schell (2nd from right), CEO of Rolls-Royce Power Systems, Dr. Frank Graf (2nd from left), Head of Gas Technology at the DVGW Research Center at the Engler-Bunte-Institut of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and at Dr Ing. Michael Hönl, Project Manager Funded Projects MTU.

Graf regards the cross-sectoral research approach as significant: “Through these six joint projects we will achieve an innovation boost in numerous areas, from the development of innovative ways of obtaining gas from renewables to new kinds of engine concepts for cars, stationary applications and ship propulsion systems, in addition to the design of microgrids for inland and seaports.”

In a statement, it was explained that in the MethQuest lead project, technologies are to be developed and analysed that will enable methane-based fuels from renewables to be used in mobile and stationary applications and subsequently launched on the market.

While the use of gas is widespread, particularly for heating purposes, its potential for passenger, freight and maritime transport has hardly been developed to date.

Its use in cogeneration plants to provide a flexible means of generating heat and power has also been stagnating for many years, in spite of the fact that cogeneration plants in power-operated mode are seen as a key element of the energy transition. Read more: The global transition to a low-carbon economy is underway

Norbert Brackmann, the Federal Government’s coordinator for the maritime industry, explained: “For a successful energy transition, it is absolutely essential that the energy and transport sectors are coupled and looked at as a whole. At the same time, methane-based fuels produced using electric power that is generated from renewable energy sources (power-to-gas) will be an important factor.

“They will enable greenhouse gas emissions to be significantly reduced, which will help us to achieve our climate protection goals. The further development of technologies that will make possible the energy-efficient use of these fuels is an integral part of the MethQuest lead project.”