A container-based test facility has successfully produced synthetic fuel from renewable energy and captured carbon dioxide.
The Power-to-X (P2X) Kopernikus project has successfully demonstrated operation of its compact plant, which can produce 10 L/d of synthetic fuel. P2X refers to technologies converting renewable power into energy storage materials. Due to the modular nature, units could be installed at locations where renewable energy is available.
The project partners – Climeworks, Ineratec, Sunfire, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) – have combined four different processes to work continuously within the compact plant, which is located at KIT. The plant uses direct air capture technology from Climeworks to capture CO2. The CO2 is then combined with steam and converted to hydrogen and carbon monoxide in a single step using Sunfire’s co-electrolysis technology. A microstructured Fischer-Tropsch reactor by Ineratec is used for hydrocarbon production. The final step is hydrocracking to produce the fuel, which is performed by KIT.
The second phase of the P2X Kopernikus project will develop a plant with a capacity of 200 L/d. This will be followed by a pre-industrial demonstration plant capable of producing 1,500–2,000 L/d. This could reach an efficiency of 60%, meaning that 60% of the green energy can be stored in the fuel.
“Worldwide, wind and sun supply a sufficient amount of energy, but not always at the right time,” said Roland Dittmeyer, a professor at KIT and coordinator of the Hydrocarbons and Long-chain Alcohols research cluster of the P2X Kopernikus project. “Moreover, a few important transport sectors, such as air or heavy-duty traffic, will continue to need liquid fuels in the future, as they have a high energy density.”
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