The go-ahead was given by the Federal Government’s coordinator for the maritime industry, Norbert Brackmann, at the kick-off meeting held on 14 September in Friedrichshafen. Responsibility for the joint lead project coordination has been assigned to Rolls-Royce Power Systems and the DVGW Research Centre at Engler-Bunte-Institute (EBI) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Technologies developed in the MethQuest lead project are expected to 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.

Taking the Port of Karlsruhe as a case study, the interfaces and synergies of sector coupling will be examined and simulated. Specifically, the purpose of the study is to determine how electricity, gas and heat can be produced locally as required and supplied to the end users.

These will include the local port infrastructure, in addition to the city’s bus fleet and barges. Storage possibilities will also be considered that would enable the local grid to be operated independently.

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 (pow-er-to-gas) will be an important factor. They will enable greenhouse gas emissions to be sig-nificantly reduced, which will help is 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.

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, Gas Technology at the DVGW Research Centre at Engler-Bunte-Institute of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), accepted the official grant approval on behalf of the 27 partners from research and industry.