Natural gas decarbonization and hydrogen (LOWCH4)
Natural gas may be an interesting option to support rising shares of electricity generation from renewables, thanks to its flexibility that would compensate the strong fluctuations of non-dispatchable sources including wind and solar. In addition, thanks to already available gas networks which would otherwise constitute a stranded asset, gas can contribute to a lower cost decarbonization pathway compared to an electricity only based approach which is based on strongly expanding existing electricity infrastructure. However, ambitious climate targets, especially in Europe, require that only low-carbon energy sources may be used in the medium- and long-term. This research project aims at comparing different technological pathways for natural gas decarbonization, to evaluate their technical and economic feasibility, and their consequences on the energy efficiency of the system. The project will also focus on the technologies for the generation and use of hydrogen as an energy carrier.
The expected outcomes are the following:
- Literature review of the available research works and pilot projects on natural gas decarbonization. Comparison with alternative solutions that may match the same energy demand.
- Definition of comparison scenarios of available technological options, by evaluating their main challenges and opportunities to define their feasibility in the framework of the expected European energy demand.
- Formulation of proper policy recommendations to support a transition towards a sustainable energy system to tackle climate change issues.
- Publication of articles in scientific journals and/or policy briefs.
- Brainstorming Workshop FEEM not public, “Il futuro dell’idrogeno in Italia: Opportunità e sfide per il settore dei trasporti”, Milan, 12/2/2020.