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It is
understood that in most countries of the world the primary energy sources are
fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Therefore, we look at the
energy consumption statistics in Norway over past few years (Figure 3), and it
could be said that Oil, Electricity and Natural Gas are major sources of energy
consumption. However, the percent share of consumption of fossil vs non-fossil
fuels is gradually increasing from about 24% to 28% from 2011 to 2016. A
majority of the non-fossil energy is the electricity as it is produced through
hydropower (96%), wind (1.7%) and thermal (2.3%) (SSB 2017a), other non-fossil
energy sources being biomass and waste derived biofuels. Biofuels have a huge
potential to be the primary transport fuel as waste treatment is a perennial
activity which must be , which is currently dominated by Oil industry followed
by Natural Gas and Electricity. Additionally, Norwegian government at present,
provides various benefits to own an electric car such as tax exemptions and
free parking.

The main
advantage of ‘Power to Gas’ technology lies in the fact that it can reduce
industrially produced carbon dioxide, which makes it an inexpensive carbon
capture technique. This provides many industries a motivating opportunity to
reduce their carbon emissions which are currently highly warranted my
government policies. Especially in the European nations, the requirement to
reduce carbon emissions have become strict in order to encourage industries to
be fully sustainable. Through the ‘Power to Gas’ technology not only the
industries benefit from reducing carbon emissions, waste but also through the
high quality methane that is produced to either used by the industry itself or
to sell it to the existing natural gas grid. The European Renewable Energy
Council has projected an energy mix of 21% of renewable energy in the EU’s
overall energy production by 2020 (EREC, 2011).

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Hashimoto and team (1999) proposed a solar energy system equation to evaluate
the desert area required to establish a solar the solar plant to supply power
to the whole world. The authors “assume a solar constant of 2 cal/min cm2
and an operation of solar cells for 8h/day with a 10% energy efficiency on
deserts, the necessary desert area for generating the electricity corresponding
to the energy of the combustion of 6 Gtons of carbon per year (estimate of
1990) is 1.340×107 ha. This is only 0.83% of the total of main
desert areas on Earth and only 10.35% of the main desert area of the Arabian
Peninsula” (However, these emissions have now increased to 9.88 Gtons of carbon
(EDGAR, 2016) and therefore the area
increases to 2.14×107 ha.). This electricity generated is difficult
to be transported through generators and high-tension electric lines over long
distances. Therefore, a more practical fuel of choice is biogas, that can be generated
by the electrochemical reduction of the industrial carbon dioxide with the help
of hydrogen produced from the electrolysis of nearby seawater.

Presently,
the limiting factor for biofuel based biogas to be a transport fuel is the
lower methane content of about (60%) as compared to natural gas which contains about
85 to 90% methane and other hydrocarbons (Union Gas, 2011).  The focus now is on biogas upgrade technology
that reduces carbon dioxide to methane using renewable electricity through
electrochemical processing. Many reviews have discussed the importance of Power–to-Gas
for handling high shares of renewable energies (de Boer et al., 2014; Hashimoto et al., 2014, 1999; Jentsch et al., 2014;
Pleßmann et al., 2014). However, most of the
literature available currently deals with the use of heterogeneous metal
catalysts (Hashimoto et al., 1999; Hoekman et al., 2010; Lim et al., 2014; Peterson
et al., 2010; Uhm and Kim, 2014; Zhan and Zhao, 2010; Zhang et al., 2017).

The other
method is to apply bio-electrochemical techniques where a syntrophic relation
is established between various micro-organisms for efficient electron transfer (Biesemans, 2016; Bo et al., 2014; Lin et al., 2016; Morita et al., 2011;
Mueller, 2012; Rotaru et al., 2014a; Yin et al., 2016; Zhao et al., 2015b). Electron transfer can be of two types a) direct
electron transfer and b) indirect electron transfer. Both these mechanisms and
methods will be discussed in detail in further sections. Other applications of
bioelectrochemical Power-to- Gas technology include Sulphide reduction which
will also be discussed in this review (Dutta, 2009; Lin et al., 2016; Pikaar et al., 2014). In this review, we discuss the specific research on
bioelectrochemical carbon dioxide reduction to methane using the energy from
excess renewable sources. Focus will be on single chambered electrochemical
cells that are able to convert CO2 to CH4 without the
need of any separating membrane between anode and cathode (Bo et al., 2014; Guo et al., 2013; Hirano et al., 2013).

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