Finnish Power-to-X (PtX) project developer Nordic Ren-Gas Oy (Ren-Gas) has revealed that it has signed a cooperation agreement that aims to confirm the "technical and commercial feasibility" of what Ren-Gas says is "Finland's largest green hydrogen-related plant investment announced to date."
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Founded in July 2021, Ren-Gas is developing a decentralized hydrogen and P2X methane production and distribution network in Finland for the heavy transportation sector. The company aims to achieve 300 MW of production capacity for its P2X methane projects by 2030.
With EUR 1.5 million in backing from US$ billionaire Ilkka Herlin’s investment firm, Ren-Gas has actively progressed its first P2X gas production projects together with Finnish energy companies.
The first project is with Lahti Energia
The company has now signed a cooperation agreement with Lahti Energia Oy to establish long-term cooperation for the development of clean energy solutions in Lahti.
Ren-Gas aims to develop, finance, and construct a decentralized production and distribution network for clean gas fuels in Finland for the use of heavy road transport. Lahti Energia’s competent team and the company’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality have made our cooperation seamless. We are very excited to proceed with the feasibility study in close cooperation with Lahti Energia, said Saara Kujala, CEO of Nordic Ren-Gas.
Specifically, the agreement concerns a feasibility study of a Power-to-Gas (PtG) production plant for both renewable synthetic methane and green hydrogen to be built adjacent to Lahti Energia’s Kymijärvi energy complex.
The deal marks a continuation of a preliminary study of the project carried out by the parties during 2021. This in-depth feasibility study aims to confirm the technical and commercial feasibility of the project before a final investment decision can be made.
Synthetic methane and green hydrogen
The parties are jointly responsible for the overall project development work while the feasibility study is being led by Ren-Gas. Planned to be implemented in stages, the proposed plant’s electrolysis capacity will reach 120 MW at full capacity.
According to Ren-Gas, this translates into an annual electro-fuel (eFuel) production capacity of approximately 50 million litre equivalent of synthetic renewable gas fuel for the heavy transportation sector.
This corresponds to almost four percent of the sector’s current fuel consumption in Finland. The total value of the investment is approximately EUR 250 million, which if realized, makes it the largest eFuel project in the country to date.
The feasibility study will start immediately and the project is scheduled to move to the next phase later during 2022. Assuming a positive outcome from the study, the permitting, technical pre-engineering and financing arrangements for the project would then begin.
Ideal location for PtX
The PtG plant is planned to be implemented in two phases, with the construction of the first electrolyzer of approximately 20 MW capacity to begin during 2023 and be commissioned by the end of 2025 – subject to necessary permitting approvals and a positive investment decision.
From a feasibility perspective, the Kymijärvi industrial estate is an ideal location for this type of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) project as it intends to capitalize on the benefits of energy sector integration and proximity of key logistics routes.
The Kymijärvi area offers very promising opportunities for the production and distribution of renewable gas fuel and the utilization of waste heat, which makes Lahti an interesting logistics center for Ren-Gas’ fuel production, Saara Kujala said.
Lahti Energia will provide the site for the PtG facility along with the necessary utility infrastructure and connection points to facilitate systems integration.
From coal to carbon-negative district energy
For Lahti Energia, the planned PtG facility would mean a significant increase in the use of residual heat for the district heating network as well as the utilization of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Kymijärvi energy complex. The complex currently consists of two production units, Kymijärvi II and Kymijärvi III, commissioned in 2012 and 2020 respectively.
Kymijärvi II is a 140 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant fired on waste-based solid recovered fuels (SRF) and produces almost half of the electricity (50 MW) and district heating energy (90 MW) supplied by Lahti Energia.
Kymijärvi III is a 190 MW biomass-fired heat plant that replaced the decommissioned coal-fired Kymijärvi I plant which had been operational since the 1970s. In doing so, Kymijärvi III reduced Lahti Energia’s annual fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 600 000 tonnes.
In this first PtG phase, approximately 19 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Kymijärvi energy complex would be captured and utilized, corresponding to about 25 percent of Lahti Energia’s current net emissions of CO2.
Residual heat from the PtG process would be used by the energy utility for district heating increasing the share of residual heat to about 10 percent of the total district heat produced annually.
The second phase would be completed by 2030 when the electrolysis capacity of the plant is at 120 MW. By then almost 40 percent of Lahti Energia’s district heating would be produced cost-effectively with residual heat.
The amount of CO2 recovered and utilized would be over 100 000 tonnes per annum, which is more than Lahti Energia’s current net annual CO2 emissions.
The agreement signed with Ren-Gas is a significant milestone in the history of our company. After the completion of the Power-to-Gas project, the carbon footprint of Lahti Energia’s district heating production will become carbon negative, that is we will enable greater emission reductions than our own operations cause. If implemented, this project would turn the district heating system in Lahti into a carbon sink, commented Jouni Haikarainen, President and CEO of Lahti Energia.