A closer look at Electrochaea

Small microbes – big impact: Electrochaea´s technology for renewable gas generation

The biomethanation technology

Electrochaea is a dynamic growth stage company with headquarters in Munich, Germany. The multi-national and interdisciplinary teams make sure that they take good care of the biocatalyst, provide a productive environment (bioreactor) and enough food (CO2 and H2) so that it can generate large quantities of renewable methane (RNG). Interest comes from around the world from CO2 emitting industries, gas grid operators, as well as renewable electricity providers in need of large-scale and long-term energy storage technologies. The list of international project opportunities for commercial grid-scale solutions is long. Electrochaea´s proprietary power-to-gas (P2G) process provides multiple upsides: it converts renewable energy and carbon dioxide into grid-quality renewable methane for storage and distribution. It recycles CO2 in large quantities and ensures that existing gas grids worldwide are utilized for distribution and storage of renewable methane gas. The technology has been extensively tested in pilot plants in Switzerland (Store&Go), Denmark (BioCat) and the USA (NREL/SoCalGas). Renewable methane has been injected into commercial gas grids in Switzerland and Denmark, and the product gas was qualified for the French gas grid and California´s rule 30.

Using Electrochaea´s process, renewable methane is synthesized from CO2 and H2 by the patented biocatalyst, a selectively evolved microorganism – from the family of methanogenic archaea.
The high efficiency and robust nature of the biocatalyst enables Electrochaea´s methanation technology to operate at lower capital and operating costs and with greater flexibility than conventional thermochemical methanation processes. The biocatalyst is compatible with variable duty cycles and common impurities in CO2 sources.
Besides the patented biocatalyst, Electrochaea owns the patents and know-how for the biomethanation system, the controls, feeding strategies for the biocatalyst, various critical design features and technologies, techno-economic analyses, and integration into existing CO2 generating infrastructure.

CO2 can be recycled from any source such as anaerobic digestors, landfills, dairies, fermentation facilities or industrial processes like cement and lime production or steel industry. Electrochaea has demonstrated the use of raw biogas in industrial scale at the wastewater treatment plant in Avedore, Denmark. The conpany has utilized raw geothermal gas, CO2 from bioethanol generation, from wine and beer fermentation processes.

Electrochaea´s technology is

  • highly flexible and provides a perfect match with renewable electricity sources
  • robust, since CO2 from any source can be utilized by the biocatalyst
  • efficient, because it generates CH4 from 98,5% of the CO2 that is fed into the system
  • selfsustained through a self-replicating biocatalyst
  • safe through operation at 65oC and 10bar pressure

Scaling from industrial pilot to commercial applications – The Archetype Project

Electrochaea is currently completing design work for the 10MWe Archetype Project. The project includes Kraftanlagen as the selected partner for scale-up work. The commercial, scalable biological methanation plant design project is partially supported by a grant from the European Innovation Council Accelerator program.

The project is at an advanced stage and is expected to deliver the engineering documentation for this scaling step.
The design incorporates learnings from previous industrial pilot projects to mitigate relevant scaling- and project risks.

Key Project Data

The project is conceived as a grassroot project, while the main drivers for it are a high degree of modularization, a footprint reduction and a standalone design which is easily transferrable to different project sites with minimum integration effort.

Simultaneously, it contributes to Capex and Opex reduction and includes a digitized engineering workflow through all project phases, namely concept, basic engineering, detail engineering

We expect this project to be finalized in October/November 2021, resulting in a FID (Finals Investment Decision) including a decision on the final project location taken soon thereafter. With the Archetype design Electrochaea will provide standard biomethanation plant design to realize commercial plants at reduced timelines and attractive cost.