The future’s sustainable mobility
Regarding the climate goals which were set at the Paris Convention in 2015 and reinforced at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2018 (COP24) it’s time to tackle one of the core problems: the transport sector has to become independent from fossil sources. The key technology for this transition will be the recycling of the greenhouse gas CO2 and the use of renewable energy in order to produce synthetic fuels in the Power-to-Liquid process.
Climate neutral fuels from greenhouse gas and renewable energy…
In 2017, the first 200 litres of synthetic fuels “out of thin air” were produced with the “Mobile Synthesis Unit“ by INERATEC. The aim of the SOLETAIR project with the project partner VTT in Finland was to enable the storage of solar power in summer to ensure the renewable energy supply in winter. The Kopernikus project P2X, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, aims for the production of these synthetic fuels in a highly efficient plant system. Therefore, INERATEC partnered up with Climeworks AG, Sunfire GmbH and the Institute for Micro-process engineering (IMVT) as well as the Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT) and built a demonstration plant within the Kopernikus framework. The plant combines the core technologies of the partners in a modular plant system: a Direct-Air-Capture-plant enables the use of CO2 captured from the air. In a co-electrolysis, the carbon dioxide and hydrogen from renewable energy are converted into synthesis gas. The synthesis of renewable fuels takes place in our compact Fischer-Tropsch plant. In the last step, the quality and outcome of the product is optimized via hydrocracking (KIT-IMVT). All four steps enable a maximal thermal and material integration for the optimal conversion of the raw material into the final product. Together with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the implementation and market entry of the synthetic fuel as e-Kerosin® will be analysed. “Together with strong partners and our highly motivated team we have the perfect conditions to make the project a future-changing success”, says managing director Tim Boeltken.
The potential of the project is especially high regarding the modular character of the plants: all components are load- and product-flexible. They can be run separately and in combination. Due to a low up-scaling risk, the threshold for a realization is significantly lower in comparison to the realization risk of large chemical plants – and also more fitting regarding the decentralized approach of the production of renewable energy. The plant can be implemented directly where solar, wind or water power are harnessed.
In order to be perfectly prepared for the commissioning of the whole system, the INERATEC plant at the KIT has been put in operation. The preparation for the coupling of all other parts are in progress: current experiences have been collected in the test operation in order to be ready for the demonstration of the entire process.
…also for aviation
The production of climate neutral fuel, especially for air traffic, is a more than present topic – it affects the future of sustainable mobility. Despite the negative impact on our climate, air traffic has been increasing over the last years, tendency rising. Liquid fuels are nearly irreplaceable in this sector due to their high energy density.
INERATEC is now taking up this challenge within the the PowerFuel project. The goal of the project is the market entrance of a climate neutral jet fuel produced in the PtL-plant at the Energy-Lab 2.0 at KIT. CO2 and solar power are converted into „e-Kerosin®“, and are analysed regarding their marketability. The upswing in the area of renewable electricity leads to growing interest in solutions for energy storage worldwide. In order to meet this interest, INERATEC is preparing for the serial production of compact chemical plants in 2021.