The Jupiter 1000 program operates a “power to gas” system at its Fos-sur-Mer site that uses surplus renewable electricity to transform it into hydrogen and synthetic methane.
This is the major problem with renewable sources of electricity: their intermittency, which is directly linked to the vagaries of the weather, does not allow for a continuous supply and forces us to consume or store the electricity produced.
The other problem is that storage technologies are not yet sufficiently developed to allow for regularity of supply. In other words, storage when production is higher than demand and distribution when demand is higher than production.
The Jupiter 1000 project intends to remedy this problem and proposes another means of storage called “power to gas” dedicated to addressing the problem of overproduction and storage of renewable electricity. Literally “power to gas”, the idea of the project, led by the natural gas transport company GRTgaz, is to convert this renewable electricity into hydrogen and synthetic methane, easier to store and transport.
Sciences et Avenir went to the Jupiter 1000 development platform, located on the industrial site of Fos-sur-Mer, near Marseille, to better understand the functioning and the ambition of such a project.
“The dynamics of the hydrogen sector are booming”
The first of the family in the periodic table of elements, hydrogen may be the most abundant atom in the universe, but it is very difficult to exploit it in its pure state on Earth. However, today, France, like many other countries, wants to rely on this energy vector to meet its energy transition objectives.
“The hydrogen sector is booming and several projects, including Jupiter 1000, aim to decarbonize its production, which today is mainly based on fossil fuels,” says Anthony Mazzenga, Director of the Renewable Gas & Hydrogen Division at GRTgaz.
Even if certain application ambitions still face numerous technological obstacles, particularly in the mobility sector, it is in the industrial sector that the replacement of fossil hydrogen by low-carbon hydrogen can be envisaged in the short term, and this is what Jupiter 1000 is projecting. “The existing natural gas transport facilities, the gas pipelines, can be converted and adapted to the transport of hydrogen, accelerating the process of transformation,” explains the director.