Power-based Fuels and Chemicals
The subtopic addresses the conversion of the low-energy molecules CO2, H2O and N2 with renewable electrical energy as well as renewable or waste heat into high-energy chemical fuels and feedstocks for industry. This way the subtopic will contribute to a defossilization of the transport sector and the industrial sector. The CO2 may originate from different sources which are jointly evaluated together with researchers from Topic 5. Given the desired reduction of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions, thin air or waste biomass are preferred choices. However, CO2 from unavoidable industrial sources such as cement production, steel making, and waste incineration is considered as well. We strive for advancing the scientific knowledge in catalysis, electrocatalysis and plasma chemistry both with a view to activation of CO2, H2O and N2 and efficient catalytic processes for synthesis of high-quality fuels and chemicals from its products. The scope includes high-temperature mixed ionic-electronic conductor (MIEC)-based ceramic membrane reactors, which hold potential for improving various conversion steps. Catalytic technologies for the loading and unloading of liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) and a direct use of hydrogenated LOHCs in fuel cells are in focus as well. High-performing catalysts and electrocatalysts showing high activity and selectivity and long lifetime even under dynamic load are targeted. Similarly, highly permeable and stable embranes are pursued.
Simple, efficient and reliable process technologies, capable of dynamic operation will be developed, scaled-up, and demonstrated on system level in real technical environments together with key partners from industry and society. Special emphasis is on intensified process technologies with modular design. Disruptive approaches to the fabrication of compact process units will be taken, e.g. additive manufacturing, to achieve high performance, reliability in operation, and cost-effective digitized fabrication. The scope includes the design and study of entire power-to-molecules process chains with vast integration of material and heat flows between process units to achieve a high overall energy efficiency. Both solutions for large-scale implementation and compact systems for decentralized applications will be pursued where operational flexibility is needed in addition to high efficiency and acceptable cost. The subtopic strives for rapid implementation of modular power-to-molecules technologies with high technology readiness level (TRL) by teaming up with innovative industrial partners. Two spin-off companies INERATEC GmbH (KIT) and Hydrogenious Technologies GmbH (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg) as well as other visionary start-up’s and their allies are key partners for commercialization. At the same time, high-risk approaches at lower TRLs with high potential gain will be fundamentally investigated and purposefully further developed.
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