The Flores 1 project aims to develop an innovative demonstrator for operational flexibility in natural gas networks. Conducted in Villeurbanne (next to Lyon) and scheduled to come into service in 2021, the trial is based around biomethane purification and liquefaction for temporary storage during periods of congestion.
CONTEXT: RENEWABLE GAS TO SUPPORT THE NETWORK
Renewable gas consumption is rising steadily in France.
Traditional gas networks are being challenged by the development of local biomethane production, and are being forced to evolve towards a model which is decentralised (with various collection points, especially in rural areas) and intelligent, in order to adapt to the growth and fluctuation of green gas production.
To address the national issue of storage identified by the French Strategic Committee for the New Energy Systems Industry, the Flores project aims to develop and test a solution which:
- facilitates the insertion of biomethane and hydrogen into the natural gas distribution network
- and is in addition to reverse flow and grid meshing solutions.
- Reverse flow: Installing a compressor to allow gas to be injected into a network at higher pressure.
- Grid meshing: Physically connecting two distribution systems at equal pressure.
THE PROJECT IN PRACTICAL TERMS:
A partnership between AZOLA and GRDF, two members of Tenerrdis, the trial allows up to 60,000 Nm3 of biomethane to be stored and consists of:
- Developing and testing the AZOLA GRID solution for biomethane liquefaction and temporary storage for subsequent reinjection
- Developing and testing the principles and methods for the GRDF network’s management of a flexible unit such as the AZOLA GRID (Smart Gas Grid) by establishing a control algorithm based on the level of congestion (network pressure), which is sufficiently responsive to manage congestion without disrupting the network.
AZOLA provides a technological solution tailored to the network’s requirements, and GRDF contributes to the system’s global development with planning and management of the site where the trial is to be carried out.
IN THE WORDS OF THE PROJECT PARTNERS: :
“The Flores 1 project is absolutely fundamental for AZOLA as it allows us to demonstrate our solution’s technical and economic value as a tool for network reinforcement. On a technological level, it forces us to venture outside our comfort zone and to innovate more, as it means that we’re liquefying network gas for the first time in our history. From a commercial viewpoint, adding a second solution (AZOLA GRID) to the one already developed for biomethane producers (AZOLA BIO) means that AZOLA is able to offer a comprehensive range of flexible products and to position ourselves as leader in the liquid buffer storage market for biomethane or network gas.”
Claudio Bucella, President of AZOLA
“Reverse flow and grid meshing solutions are not economically suitable for dealing with one-off events (which typically occur at weekends or certain times in summer). The challenge for GRDF is to find solutions which work in addition to reverse flow and grid meshing to manage these situations. Temporary storage facilities such as Flores 1 could be an answer. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the performance of a liquid gas storage unit on the network and to consolidate the associated economic model to show that it’s possible to ‘save’ biomethane at a reasonable cost. It’s equally possible to envision additional services, such as an LNG/Bio-LNG bunkering point.”
Laurène Hervé, Technical Research Manager at GRDF