Evonik, Siemens convert CO2, eco-electricity into speciality chemicals

Evonik, Siemens to convert CO2 into speciality chemicals

7:06 AM, 19th January 2018
Evonik, Siemens to convert CO2, eco-electricity into speciality chemicals
In the fermentation process—here at lab scale—, special bacteria are converting CO-containing gases to valuable chemicals through metabolic processes.

ESSEN, GERMANY: Evonik Industries AG and Siemens AG are planning to use electricity from renewable sources and bacteria to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into speciality chemicals. The two companies are working on electrolysis and fermentation processes in a joint research project called Rheticus.

The project is due to run for two years. The first test plant is scheduled to go on stream by 2021 at the Evonik facility in Marl, Germany which produces chemicals such as butanol and hexanol, both feedstocks for special plastics and food supplements, for example. The next stage could see a plant with a production capacity of up to 20,000 tonnes a year. There is also potential to manufacture other speciality chemicals or fuels. Some 20 scientists from the two companies are involved in the project. 

Siemens and Evonik are each contributing their own core competencies to this research collaboration. Siemens is providing the electrolysis technology, which is used in the first step to convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO) using electricity. Evonik is contributing the fermentation process, converting gases containing CO into useful products by metabolic processes with the aid of special micro-organisms. In the Rheticus project, these two steps – electrolysis and fermentation – are scaled up from the laboratory and combined in a technical test facility. 

Evonik and Siemens see great future potential in the Rheticus platform. It will make it simple to scale plants to the desired size – the chemical industry will be able to adapt them flexibly to local conditions. In future, they could be installed anywhere where there is a source of CO2 – power plant waste gas or biogas for instance. 

“We are developing a platform that will allow us to produce chemical products in a much more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way than we do today. Using our platform, operators will in future be able to scale their plants to suit their needs,” said Dr Gunter Schmid, technical project responsible of Siemens Corporate Technology.

The new technology combines multiple benefits. It not only enables chemicals to be produced sustainably, it also serves as an energy store, can respond to power fluctuations and help stabilize the grid. Rheticus is linked to the Kopernikus Initiative for the energy transition in Germany which is seeking new solutions to restructure the energy system. The Rheticus project will receive 2.8 million euros in funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). 

“With the Rheticus platform, we want to demonstrate that artificial photosynthesis is feasible”, added Dr Thomas Haas, who is responsible for the project in Evonik’s strategic research department Creavis. Artificial photosynthesis is where CO2 and water are converted into chemicals using a combination of chemical and biological steps, in a process similar to how leaves use chlorophyll and enzymes to synthesize glucose. 

“Rheticus brings together the expertise of Evonik and Siemens. This research project shows how we are applying the Power-to-X idea”, said Dr Karl Eugen Hutmacher from the BMBF. Using electricity to generate chemicals is an idea from the Power-to-X concept. As one of the four pillars of the Kopernikus Initiative, the idea is to help convert and store renewable, electrical energy efficiently. At the same time, the Rheticus platform also contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, as it uses CO2 as a raw material. Three tons of carbon dioxide would be needed to produce one tonne of butanol, for example. 

“It’s modular nature and flexibility in terms of location, raw material sources and products manufactured to make the new platform attractive for the speciality chemicals industry in particular,” saidHaas.

“We are confident that other companies will use the platform and integrate it with their own modules to manufacture their chemical products,” added Schmid. 

© Worldofchemicals News

0 Comments

Login

Your Comments (Up to 2000 characters)
Please respect our community and the integrity of its participants. WOC reserves the right to moderate and approve your comment.

Related News


ADM, Vland partner for feed enzyme technology

CHICAGO, US: Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Qingdao Vland Biotech Group Co Ltd have entered into a joint development agreement for the devel ...

Read more
ExxonMobil to acquire exploration acreage offshore Ghana

IRVING, US: ExxonMobil Corporation has signed a petroleum agreement with the government of Ghana to acquire exploration and production rights for the ...

Read more
CB&I inks joint development agreement with Saudi Aramco

THE WOODLANDS, US: Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CBI) has entered into a joint development agreement with Saudi Aramco that includes Chevron Lumm ...

Read more
Sadara to supply ethylene oxide, propylene oxide to SADIG-ILCO

JUBAIL, SAUDI ARABIA: Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) has signed an agreement to supply SADIG-ILCO, a new Saudi-German joint venture focused on the m ...

Read more
DIC opens new solid compound technical centre in Malaysia

TOKYO, JAPAN: DIC Corporation has opened a new solid compound technical centre Asia Pacific in Malaysia to develop and improve products suitable for t ...

Read more
BASF Petronas to build new polyisobutene plant in Malaysia

KUANTAN, MALAYSIA: BASF Petronas Chemicals, a Malaysia-based joint venture between BASF SE and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) has successfully d ...

Read more