Experimental Investigation on CO2 Methanation Process for Solar Energy Storage Compared to CO2-Based Methanol Synthesis

Beatrice Castellani, Alberto Maria Gambelli, Elena Morini, Benedetto Nastasi, Andrea Presciutti, Mirko Filipponi, Andrea Nicolini, Federico Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
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The utilization of the captured CO2 as a carbon source for the production of energy storage media offers a technological solution for overcoming crucial issues in current energy systems. Solar energy production generally does not match with energy demand because of its intermittent and non-programmable nature, entailing the adoption of storage technologies. Hydrogen constitutes a chemical storage for renewable electricity if it is produced by water electrolysis and is also the key reactant for CO2 methanation (Sabatier reaction). The utilization of CO2 as a feedstock for producing methane contributes to alleviate global climate changes and sequestration related problems. The produced methane is a carbon neutral gas that fits into existing infrastructure and allows issues related to the aforementioned intermittency and non-programmability of solar energy to be overcome. In this paper, an experimental apparatus, composed of an electrolyzer and a tubular fixed bed reactor, is built and used to produce methane via Sabatier reaction. The objective of the experimental campaign is the evaluation of the process performance and a comparison with other CO2 valorization paths such as methanol production. The investigated pressure range was 2–20 bar, obtaining a methane volume fraction in outlet gaseous mixture of 64.75% at 8 bar and 97.24% at 20 bar, with conversion efficiencies of, respectively, 84.64% and 99.06%. The methanol and methane processes were compared on the basis of an energy parameter defined as the spent energy/stored energy. It is higher for the methanol process (0.45), with respect to the methane production process (0.41–0.43), which has a higher energy storage capability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number855
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • CO2 methanation
  • carbon recycling
  • energy storage
  • solar energy
  • P2G Power to Gas
  • synthetic fuels


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