How the SPIKE project has shown the role of Power-to-X in the energy system of the future

SPIKE was a satellite project of the Copernicus Project P2X. Unlike P2X, the project did not conduct practical research, but theoretical research. Until 2019, it worked out which possible applications of Power-to-X processes make sense - that is, processes that convert renewable energy into other forms.

Das Bild zeigt einen Wissenschaftler, der am Forschungszentrum Jülich im Bereich Elektrolyse arbeitet.
Photo: Ute Grabowsky/ photothek.net/ FONA

The idea behind SPIKE, which conducts systems analysis and integration of power-to-X technologies in the context of renewable electricity as primary energy, is to analyse which power-to-X procedures are viable under what conditions. In order to do this, the project firstly examines the existing energy system in detail and outlines possible scenarios of how the energy system could change in the coming years. The project then identifies how power-to-X technologies could be optimally used in future to suit each scenario, taking both the German and European legal frameworks into account throughout.

SPIKE’s key questions
  • How can industry use its exhaust gases as raw materials through power-to-X processes?

  • What potential to protect the climate do power-to-X technologies have?

  • What business models can make power-to-X economically viable?

  • Which system services can be provided for the power supply, and to what extent, by using power-to-X technologies in industry?

While the P2X project mainly focuses on power-to-fuel, power-to-gas, and power-to-chemicals, SPIKE also incorporates other power-to-X technologies in its analysis. Thus the project also studies potential uses for power-to-heat, meaning possibilities for heating buildings and industrial furnaces with electricity. Finally, SPIKE also asks how power-to-X processes can be integrated into industrial processes in future, a topic that is also a subject of research in the Kopernikus project SynErgie.