ProPower: Cross-sectoral use of electricity

© Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Energetic transformation

Power-to-X technologies enable the electrification of processes and thus the integration of renewably produced electricity. They are therefore important building blocks for the defossilization of the economy.

Project goals: Creating an evaluation basis for power-to-X technologies

The aim of the project is to develop an evaluation basis for power-to-X concepts (PtX). This should make it easier for stakeholders from industry to include and evaluate suitable technologies and business models in their planning. The results are to provide policy makers with orientation knowledge that will support them in aligning measures in energy and economic policy with the balance in the target triangle of security of supply, environmental compatibility and affordability.


Project benefits: Support defossilization of production processes

To achieve the climate protection targets set, all sectors of the economy must be comprehensively transformed. Renewably produced electricity plays a prominent role in this. The energy system as a whole must therefore be aligned to make the best use of this electricity. . PtX technologies contribute to this through the electrification of processes. They are therefore important components for the defossilization of the economy.

Integration of renewable electricity

The integration of green electricity into the processes of the economy can be done in different ways, e.g.:

  • by using the electricity directly in conventional applications,
  • due to the time-delayed use with an intermediate storage in batteries
  • or through sector coupling with the electrification of processes previously operated differently.

As energy storage and sector couplers, PtX technologies use electrical power to manufacture products and provide services. There is a wide variety of technologies and fields of application.

At the same time, renewable electricity represents a limited resource due to the limited expansion prospects. Therefore, the question arises which PtX technologies and business models are promising to successfully shape the transformation process in the economy and to achieve the climate targets. Here, the assessment basis to be developed should help to identify promising PtX technologies and business models.

There is a wide variety of PtX technologies and an equally wide range in the development status of these technologies. In addition to the technical topics, spatial, economic, ecological and social aspects are also relevant for concrete measures for transformation when it comes to bringing the technologies into application. Fraunhofer UMSICHT therefore analyzes and evaluates various power-to-gas (PtG), power-to-liquid (PtL) and power-to-solid (PtS) technologies with regard to technical, infrastructural and systemic aspects. From the findings, the researchers derive recommendations for action on the aforementioned topics and for the further development of the assessment methodology, which are aimed at industry and policy makers.

Current developments

The recommendations made here emerge in a phase of high dynamics in the transformation process: The warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) intensify with each report, the climate protection targets set have not yet been achieved, energy and climate policy is currently being realigned, the legal framework is being revised and global political incidents are having a massive impact.

As boundary conditions change, re-evaluations or weighting of requirements and measures may also become necessary.. Against the backdrop of the very limited time available for implementing effective climate protection measures, the still very large scope of work and the existing uncertainties, however, what will be most important is the determination with which the transformation process is driven forward.

To achieve the climate protection targets, all relevant decision-making and action levels must therefore be activated. It is important to ­rapidly implement technologies that are already available today, taking systemic ­requirements into account.­ Green production processes and products should be evaluated and promoted in a goal-oriented manner. Successful transformation also involves continuously optimizing the overall system by developing and integrating new technologies.

Duration: January 2018 to March 2021
Funding information: The "ProPower" project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection.