The automotive industry is undergoing a massive transformation, and Stellantis and Aramco Hydrogen-Based E-Fuels are at the forefront of this change. The collaboration between auto giant Stellantis and Saudi state oil company Aramco has proven that hydrogen-based e-fuels like e-diesel and e-gasoline are compatible with a wide range of engine types. This groundbreaking development could pave the way for a more sustainable future in road transportation.
The Advanced Testing Process
Stellantis and Aramco conducted rigorous tests to confirm that e-diesel and e-gasoline are compatible with 24 engine types used across 28 million existing vehicles in Europe. These e-fuels can serve as a “drop-in” fuel, meaning they can be used in existing engines without any modifications. Despite some differences in chemical properties compared to their fossil equivalents, the e-fuels met all the engine specifications, including density and inflammation points.
The Environmental Impact
While the use of e-fuels can significantly reduce CO2 emissions, they have been criticized by environmental groups for being inefficient in terms of renewable electricity use. For every 100kWh of renewable electricity used to produce e-fuels, only 13kWh is supplied on the road. This is in stark contrast to battery-electric vehicles, which can deliver up to 77kWh of energy on the road for every 100kWh of renewable electricity.
The European Perspective
The European Union has relaxed its proposed 2035 ban on the sales of internal combustion engine vehicles, allowing them to continue being sold as long as they run on synthetic fuels. This is a huge win for companies like Stellantis and Aramco, who are investing in e-fuels as a viable alternative to electric vehicles.
The Future of E-Fuels in Stellantis’ Fleet
Stellantis aims to sell 100% battery-electric vehicles in Europe by 2030. However, the company acknowledges that internal combustion engines will still be in use up to 2050, necessitating the need for carbon-neutral fuels like e-diesel and e-gasoline.
What are the different types of e-fuels?
E-fuels can be categorized into e-diesel, e-gasoline, e-methane, and e-methanol, among others.
What is e-fuel made of?
E-fuels are made by reacting captured carbon dioxide with renewable hydrogen.
What are synthetic e-fuels?
Synthetic e-fuels are artificially created fuels that can be used as a substitute for traditional fossil fuels.
The collaboration between Stellantis and Aramco in the field of hydrogen-based e-fuels is a significant step towards reducing emissions and making road transport more sustainable. While there are challenges to overcome, such as the efficiency of renewable electricity use, the potential benefits are massive. As technology advances, e-fuels could become a key component in the global effort to combat climate change.
Carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) encompasses a range of applications where CO2 is captured and then used either directly (without chemical alteration) or indirectly (where it’s transformed) in various products. Currently, CO2 is primarily used in the fertiliser industry and for enhanced oil recovery. However, emerging applications such as CO2-based synthetic fuels, chemicals, and building aggregates are gaining momentum.
Role in Clean Energy Transitions
It’s essential to note that CO2 utilisation doesn’t always lead to reduced emissions. The climate benefits associated with a particular CO2 utilisation depend on the CO2’s origin, the product it replaces, the carbon intensity of the energy used in the conversion, and how long the CO2 remains in the product.
Future Directions for CO2 Utilisation
While some CO2 utilisation applications can offer significant climate benefits, their market size is relatively small. Therefore, the primary focus should be on dedicated storage in the broader context of carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS). However, support from research, development, and demonstration can accelerate the deployment of scalable CO2-derived products and services.
Tracking CO2 Capture and Utilisation
Carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) includes applications where CO2 is captured and then used either directly or indirectly in various products. Currently, around 230 million tonnes of CO2 are utilised annually, mainly in the fertiliser sector for urea production (~130 million tonnes) and for enhanced oil recovery (~80 million tonnes). Emerging utilisation pathways, especially CO2-based synthetic fuels, chemicals, and building aggregates, are gaining traction. If all announced projects are realised, they could capture about half the CO2 utilisation level for synthetic fuel production by 2030 projected in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 scenario.
Country and Regional Highlights
USA: The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act increased the 45Q tax credit for CCUS, supporting CO2 utilisation. Additionally, the Clean Fuels & Products Shot initiative was launched in May 2023.
European Union: In April 2023, the ReFuelEU Aviation proposal was approved, imposing blending mandates on synthetic aviation fuels. Three CCU projects targeting synthetic fuel also received EU Innovation Fund support in 2022.
Belgium: In December 2022, the first large-scale plant converting steel emissions to ethanol was commissioned.
Canada: The 2022 federal budget proposed a tax credit for CCUS projects, especially for utilisation equipment.
CO2 Emissions and Climate Benefits
CO2 utilisation can offer climate benefits, but under specific conditions. The benefits depend on the CO2 source, the replaced product, the energy’s carbon intensity used for conversion, and the CO2’s retention duration in the product. In the Net Zero Emissions scenario, over 95% of captured CO2 in 2030 would be geologically stored, with less than 5% being utilised.
Activity in CO2 Utilisation
CO2 utilisation for synthetic fuels is emerging as the primary new utilisation route. Several large-scale plants are in operation, with around 15 more planned, targeting CO2 utilisation for synthetic hydrocarbon fuels. These plants could capture and utilise approximately 7 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030. The largest plant, in operation since 2020, captures up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually from a coal-to-liquids plant in China. The CO2 is then used to produce synthetic hydrocarbon fuels. Other large-scale plants are in operation or under construction in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Notes: NZE = Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. Only includes carbon capture and utilisation projects with an identified capture facility for the source of the CO2, with a capacity larger than 100 000 t CO2 per year. When the fraction of biogenic emissions out of total captured CO2 is unknown, it is assumed that the share of biogenic emissions is 50% in waste-to-energy plants.
Technology Installation and Infrastructure
CCU supply chains can leverage synergies with fossil-based synthetic fuel production and CCS. The extensive use of hydrogen and CO2 for conversion necessitates large-scale transport infrastructure, including pipelines and terminals.
Innovation in CCU
Key innovation areas include reducing the energy required for CO2 conversion and demonstrating the reliability of CO2-based construction materials. Early demonstrations can refine and reduce technology costs for carbon capture, storage, and utilisation.
Policy Support for CCU
Policy incentives, such as mandates, public procurement, low-emission standards, and tax credits, are bolstering CCU project development. For instance, the European Union’s ReFuelEU Aviation proposal and the USA’s 45Q tax credit are significant policy drivers.
Investment in CCU
Venture capital investment in CCU has been increasing, reflecting growing interest in CO2 conversion technologies. In 2022, global venture capital investment in utilisation companies reached nearly USD 500 million, up from USD 350 million in 2021. The largest investments were in companies developing CO2-based synthetic fuels and chemicals. Several companies also raised significant capital through initial public offerings. In addition, corporate investment and partnerships are growing, particularly in the aviation and automotive sectors, which are seeking to secure future supplies of low-carbon fuels and materials.
The ocean covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains about 50 times more water than the atmosphere. It is also a major sink for carbon dioxide, absorbing about 20% of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere each year.
The deep seabed is even more efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide than the upper layers of the ocean. This is because the deep seabed is cold and under high pressure, which makes it more difficult for carbon dioxide to escape.
The Benefits of Storing Carbon Dioxide in the Ocean
There are several potential benefits to storing carbon dioxide in the ocean. First, it is a large and relatively secure storage space. The ocean is vast and deep, and the deep seabed is covered by a layer of sediment that helps to protect the carbon dioxide from being released.
Second, storing carbon dioxide in the ocean could help to reduce ocean acidification. Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, which makes the water more acidic. This can harm marine life, such as coral reefs and shellfish.
Third, storing carbon dioxide in the ocean could help to mitigate climate change. By removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it can help to slow the rate of global warming.
The Risks of Storing Carbon Dioxide in the Ocean
While there are several potential benefits to storing carbon dioxide in the ocean, there are also some potential risks. One risk is that the carbon dioxide could react with seawater and form harmful compounds. These compounds could potentially harm marine life or even humans.
Another risk is that the carbon dioxide could be released back into the atmosphere if the deep seabed is disturbed. This could happen if there is an earthquake or other natural disaster. It could also happen if humans accidentally disturb the seabed.
More Research Needed
More research is needed to assess the risks and benefits of storing carbon dioxide in the ocean. However, if the technology can be developed safely and effectively, it could offer a promising solution to climate change.
The Future of Carbon Dioxide Storage in the Ocean
The potential of storing carbon dioxide in the ocean is a promising area of research. If the technology can be developed safely and effectively, it could offer a significant contribution to the fight against climate change.
There are currently several projects underway to explore the feasibility of storing carbon dioxide in the ocean. One project, called the Northern Lights project, is being developed by a consortium of companies in Norway. The project would involve injecting carbon dioxide into the deep seabed off the coast of Norway.
Another project, called the Carbfix project, is being developed by a consortium of companies in Iceland. The project would involve injecting carbon dioxide into basalt rock, which would react with the carbon dioxide to form stable carbonate minerals.
These are just two examples of the many projects that are underway to explore the potential of storing carbon dioxide in the ocean. As the technology continues to develop, it is likely that we will see more projects of this nature in the future.
The potential of storing carbon dioxide in the ocean is a promising area of research. If the technology can be developed safely and effectively, it could offer a significant contribution to the fight against climate change.
Learn more about the potential of storing carbon dioxide in the ocean at: https://www.ciphernews.com/carbon-under-the-sea
In the quest to combat climate change, the certification of carbon dioxide removals has emerged as a critical element. This article, based on an extensive study conducted by the Umweltbundesamt, provides an in-depth analysis of the Commission’s proposal on the certification of carbon dioxide removals.
The Basics of Carbon Dioxide Removal Certification
Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is a key strategy in the global fight against climate change. It involves the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and its storage in geological, terrestrial, or ocean reservoirs, or in products. The certification of these removals is a crucial step in ensuring the quality and effectiveness of these efforts.
The European Commission has proposed a Certification Framework for Carbon Removals (CRCF) as a regulatory framework to monitor, report, verify, and certify activities which remove CO2 from the atmosphere in the EU. This framework is endorsed by scientific experts and has been extensively tested.
The Importance of High-Quality Certification
High-quality certification for CDR matters because it strengthens the trust in these removal methods and empowers the fight against climate change. The certification framework categorizes removal methods into three categories: permanent carbon storage, carbon farming, and carbon storage in products.
The certification process is designed to be transparent and accountable. All information on the certified removals is made publicly available and traceable, ensuring that the process is completely above board.
The European Commission’s Role in Carbon Dioxide Removal Certification
The European Commission plays a pivotal role in the certification of carbon dioxide removals. It has proposed a comprehensive framework that includes robust monitoring, reporting, and verification systems. This framework is designed to ensure that the removals are real, measurable, and additional to what is required by other policies and regulations.
The Commission’s proposal is a significant step towards achieving net-zero emissions throughout the EU by 2050 under the European Climate Law. It is a testament to the EU’s commitment to leading the world in carbon removal and climate change mitigation.
The Future of Carbon Dioxide Removal Certification
The certification of carbon dioxide removals is a rapidly evolving field. As our understanding of climate change and carbon removal methods improves, so too will the certification processes and standards. The European Commission’s proposal is just the beginning of this journey.
In the future, we can expect to see more stringent standards, more comprehensive monitoring and reporting systems, and a greater emphasis on transparency and accountability. The certification of carbon dioxide removals will continue to play a crucial role in our global fight against climate change.
In conclusion, the certification of carbon dioxide removals is a vital tool in our arsenal against climate change. It ensures the quality and effectiveness of carbon removal efforts and strengthens the trust in these methods. The European Commission’s proposal for a certification framework is a significant step forward in this regard, and it sets the stage for further advancements in the future.
In a significant publication in Nature Communications, a dedicated team of researchers has made substantial advancements in CO2 electrocatalysis. Their research is centered around the creation of a histidine-functionalized Cu catalyst, designed specifically for CO2 reduction to multi-carbon products. The study uncovers a fascinating link between the surface charge of the catalyst and its performance, marking a significant milestone towards the realization of a circular carbon economy with zero net greenhouse gas emissions.
Innovative Approach to CO2 Electrochemical Reduction
The team’s strategy for CO2 electrochemical reduction (CO2RR) is both promising and groundbreaking. They have successfully engineered the catalytic reaction to produce higher-value chemical products, while simultaneously harnessing off-peak electricity. The study suggests that the success of CO2RR hinges on enhancing the stability, Faradaic, and energetic efficiencies of the process.
Their exhaustive research on Cu-based catalysts has unveiled intricate relationships between intermediate species adsorption, defects, catalyst states, and reaction conditions that dictate the selectivity and activity of CO2RR. Interestingly, they found that experimentally observed activities often fall short of theoretical predictions, highlighting the challenge of understanding and accurately modeling the macroscopic and dynamic factors that influence electrocatalysis.
The Game-Changer: Histidine-Functionalized Cu Catalyst
The team’s groundbreaking achievement lies in the development of a histidine-functionalized Cu catalyst, specifically designed for CO2 reduction to multi-carbon products. This catalyst has demonstrated a significantly higher C2+ product selectivity than the unfunctionalized sample across a broad voltage range. Impressively, Faradaic efficiencies (FE) of up to 76.6%, corresponding to TOF estimate up to 4.2 × 10−1 s−1 for C2+ products, were observed at −2.0 V, and excellent stability over 48 h.
Through meticulous materials characterization, in-situ Raman spectroscopy, and density functional theory (DFT) calculations, the team discovered that the enhanced CO2RR to C2+ products on functionalized Cu-Hist is linked to direct intermediate interaction with adsorbed histidine. They also discovered a strong correlation between surface charge magnitude and catalytic activity, suggesting that the electrocatalytic activity in reductive catalysis like CO2RR may also be closely linked to surface charge.
The Impact: Paving the Way for a Circular Carbon Economy
The implications of this study are profound. By showcasing the potential of a histidine-functionalized Cu catalyst for CO2 reduction, the team has paved the way for the development of more efficient and effective CO2RR processes. This could play a pivotal role in achieving a circular carbon economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, a goal that is becoming increasingly critical in the face of global climate change.
The study also underscores the importance of understanding and accurately modeling the complex factors that influence electrocatalysis. This understanding will be instrumental in the development of future catalysts and CO2RR processes. In conclusion, this study represents a significant leap forward in the field of CO2 electrocatalysis. The innovative approach and groundbreaking findings have the potential to revolutionize the way we approach CO2RR and contribute to the realization of a circular carbon economy.
The world is grappling with the challenge of climate change, and one of the proposed solutions is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). This technology is not without its controversies and challenges, and it is the focus of an extensive study conducted by NABU, a German environmental organization.
Understanding Carbon Capture and Storage
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a technology designed to reduce carbon emissions and tackle global warming. It involves three primary steps: capturing CO2, transporting it, and storing it deep underground in geological formations. The process begins with the separation of CO2 from other gases produced in industrial processes such as power generation or steel production. The compressed CO2 is then transported via pipelines, road transport, or ships for storage. Storage sites include saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas reservoirs that are typically at least 0.62 miles under the ground.
The NABU Study on CCS
NABU’s study on CCS is a comprehensive exploration of this technology, its potential, and its pitfalls. The study is not an opinion piece but a thorough examination based on scientific research and data. It delves into the various components of CCS, the extensive factors that influence its effectiveness, and the controversial aspects that make it a topic of heated debate.
The Controversial Aspects of CCS
CCS is not without its controversies. Critics argue that it is a license to pollute, allowing industries to continue their emissions-intensive operations under the guise of carbon capture. There are also concerns about the safety of storing vast amounts of carbon underground. Despite these controversies, the industry body, the Global CCS Institute, maintains that CCS has been in safe operation for over 45 years.
The Future of CCS
Despite the controversies, CCS is being adopted on a large scale worldwide. According to the Global CCS Institute’s report, there were 194 large-scale CCS facilities globally at the end of 2022 compared to 51 in 2019. Of these projects, 30 are operational, 11 are under construction, and the remainder are in different stages of development.
Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS)
An extension of CCS is Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS), where captured carbon could be used instead of stored for industrial purposes. This approach has the potential to create new markets and make carbon capture more economically viable.
The study by NABU provides a comprehensive overview of Carbon Capture and Storage, its potential, and its controversies. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding this complex technology and its role in combating climate change.
The future of energy is here, and it’s called e-fuels. These advanced, carbon-neutral fuels are set to revolutionize the energy sector, offering a sustainable solution to the world’s growing energy demands. But what exactly are e-fuels, and how do they work? Let’s delve into the science behind this promising technology and explore its potential for transforming our global energy landscape.
E-fuels, or synthetic fuels, are produced from hydrogen and CO2. The process, known as Power-to-X, converts renewable electricity into hydrogen through electrolysis. This hydrogen is then combined with carbon to produce fuels with high energy density, such as e-hydrogen, e-methane, e-methanol, or e-diesel.
These fuels are completely carbon-neutral, meaning they do not contribute to global warming. When burned, they release the same amount of CO2 that was used to produce them, resulting in a net-zero carbon footprint. This makes e-fuels a promising solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.
The Role of E-Fuels in the Future of Energy
E-fuels have the potential to play a crucial role in our transition to a carbon-neutral future. They offer several advantages over traditional fossil fuels and other renewable energy sources. For one, they can be used in existing combustion engines, making them a practical and cost-effective solution for reducing emissions from the transport sector.
Moreover, e-fuels can be integrated into the existing fuel infrastructure, providing a seamless transition from fossil fuels. They also contribute to energy security and stability, offering a reliable and sustainable source of energy that is not subject to the fluctuations of the fossil fuel market.
However, the production of e-fuels is currently more expensive than that of traditional fuels, and they are not yet produced on a large enough scale to meet global energy demands. As such, significant investment in research and development is needed to improve the efficiency of e-fuel production and bring down costs.
The Future is Bright for E-Fuels
Despite the challenges, experts are optimistic about the future of e-fuels. With the right political support and technological innovation, e-fuels could become a major player in the global energy market. As we strive towards a carbon-neutral future, e-fuels offer a promising path forward, providing a sustainable and efficient solution to our global energy needs.
In conclusion, e-fuels represent a significant step forward in our quest for sustainable, carbon-neutral energy. As we continue to innovate and develop this promising technology, the future of energy looks brighter than ever.
We are delighted to share with you that one of our consortium members, Anastasia-Maria Moschovi, has been selected as finalist in the 2023European Sustainable Energy Awards(EUSEW Awards).
The European Sustainable Energy Awards(EUSEW Awards) recognize outstanding individuals and projects for their innovation and efforts in energy efficiency and renewables. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: ‘‘Innovation’’, ‘‘Local Energy Action’’ and ‘‘Woman in Energy’’.
The winners will be decided by an online public vote, which is open until 11 June. To learn about Anastasias initiative, please visit the EUSEW website and show your support by voting for her in the ‘‘Woman in Energy’’ category.
Anastasia-Maria Moschovi, a PhD holder in chemical engineering, is spearheading the development of cutting-edge technologies for fuel cells. Her groundbreaking innovations aim to reduce costs by 30%, paving the way for widespread adoption.
Anastasia-Maria firmly believes in the shared responsibility of both energy consumption and conservation. As the Head of Research, Development, and Innovation at Monolithos in Athens, she is at the forefront of various EU-funded projects. These initiatives focus on advancing hydrogen technologies, green energy generation and storage, electric vehicles (EVs), and industrial decarbonization.
At the heart of Anastasia-Maria’s work lies the recovery of critical raw materials from end-of-life devices. This process generates new inputs for the electrification and hydrogen-based technology sectors. By driving these initiatives, she envisions a future where businesses and the citizens of Athens can readily adopt these solutions. The outcome would be a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and production costs. Her ultimate goal is to identify key obstacles that impede the translation of research findings into practical applications, thereby assisting in the global energy transition.
An advantage of being situated in the industrial zone of Athens is the enhanced access to logistical services. This location enables Monolithos to serve as a central hub for the transportation of these materials to other European countries. Anastasia-Maria emphasizes the value of close collaboration and engagement with industries, institutions, and the academic community in Athens. This collaborative environment provides vital support for the uptake of her projects.
Anastasia-Maria’s leadership style has made her a role model for her team of 15 young researchers. Colleagues praise her inspirational personality and her unwavering dedication to their professional growth. Marios Kourtelesis, an R&I Catalysis Engineer at Monolithos, describes working in Dr. Moschovi’s team as a transformative experience. Eirini Zagaraiou, an R&I Scientist at Monolithos, adds that Anastasia-Maria fosters an inclusive and democratic work environment, while also actively supporting women in business, empowering them to achieve their career aspirations.
Anastasia-Maria highlights the significance of women in engineering and research roles, with over 66% of high-level positions within her team occupied by women. She stands as a champion of their potential and actively supports their advancement within the field.
Anastasia-Maria’s work aligns directly with the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan. Her efforts encompass hydrogen development for industrial decarbonization and the recycling of critical raw materials to bolster the battery value chain. By addressing these critical areas, she contributes directly to the broader objectives of sustainability and environmental preservation.
MONOLITHOS Catalysts & Recycling Ltd. is an independent SME, operating according to EU standards and has a twenty-year experience in the manufacturing, regenerating, and recycling of catalytic converters. MONOLITHOS as an industrial partner directly involved in the upscaling technologies of ECO2Fuel project.
More specifically, MONOLITHOS is responsible for the development, upscaling and suppling highly efficient and durable electrocatalysts in the appropriate quantities for the pilot plant and the final demonstrator. Electrocatalysts are one of the most critical components of electrolysis system and are located on the electrodes to enhance the reactions taking place. Non-critical metals (e.g., Nickel, Iron, Copper) are used and environmentally friendly synthetic methods are followed to develop electrocatalysts with high selectivity towards liquid fuels. Nickel (Ni) has been proposed to be the most efficient electrocatalyst catalyst towards OER (Oxygen Evolution Reaction) based on bond strength of the reaction intermediates. Incorporation of other transition metals into Ni oxides structures can enhance further the activity of the catalyst. A highly efficient NiFe-based electrocatalyst that can provide the activity, stability and performance requirements of the project has been developed. Regarding cathodic electrocatalyst development, there is a global challenging to develop highly efficient and stable electrocatalysts for the CO2RR (CO2 Reduction Reaction) toward selective production of alcohols using renewable energy. Cuprous oxide (Cu2O) can reduce CO2 to hydrocarbons and alcohols with high efficiency. Within the project, wet chemical precipitation methods have been developed and optimized to synthetize in-house a replica of the commercial cuprite powder at the semi-pilot scale. According to preliminary results, synthesized materials show promising results for electrochemical reduction of CO2 to alcohols, essential to ensure the project’s success.
Upon lab scale optimization, the production of the anodic and cathodic catalysts will take place in large-scale reactors in MONOLITHOS premises. Special attention will be addressed to synthesis conditions for preparing electrocatalysts with high electrochemical activity and stability. Large scale production and optimization of the experimental procedure of NiFe-based electrocatalyst are already performed by MONOLITHOS to minimise wastes and energy consumption and to develop a method for the synthesis at the semi-pilot and pilot scale (Figure 1).
Figure 1. (a) Large scale synthesis of NiFe-based electrocatalyst in MONOLITHOS premises, (b) SEM image of the developed NiFe-based electrocatalyst.
Furthermore, recyclability of the EoL (End-of-Life) MEAs (Membrane Electron Assemblies) will be studied by MONOLITHOS to promote sustainability and circularity. Considering the existing knowledge on materials recovery strategies, MONOLITHOS is leading the development of an innovative hydrometallurgical leaching process for recycling of non-CRMs (non-Critical Raw Metals) from electrocatalysts. The main steps that are followed during the recycling process are reported below:
Electrodes are peeled off from the membrane (manual separation)
Electrodes are treated using an organic solvent/water mixture under ultrasonication at room temperature to facilitate the detachment and collection of the electrocatalyst from the substate (Ni felt, carbon cloth)
MONOLITHOS hydrometallurgical leaching method is followed to extract non-CRMs from the collected electrocatalyst powder
High leaching efficiencies (>90%) have been already achieved for Ni and Cu following MONOLITHOS patented (EL245-0004386313 , EP22204905.8) hydrometallurgical leaching method. With that MONOLITHOS succeeds to overcome the low recovery yields, negative environmental impact, and high operational cost of the classical pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy methods. The fast, low-cost, versatile, and eco-friendly hydrometallurgical process of MONOLITHOS allows high recovery rates under mild experimental conditions (3M HCl, 1% v/v H2O2, 4.5M NaCl, 70oC, 3 h) and high solid/liquid ratio (70%). In addition, following the above recycling process MONOLITHOS succeeds to retain the membrane (seems to remain intact, Figure 2).
Figure 2. Manual separation of different components co-exist in an EoL MEA.
During the next period, different experimental parameters during leaching process will be optimized to develop a fast, versatile and environmentally sustainable hydrometallurgical leaching process with the highest recovery yields of non-CRMs from EoL MEAs of ECO2Fuel electrolyzer.
As part of the ECO2Fuel project, MONOLITHOS is also involved in the synthesis of a catalytic converter that is active for the abatement of pollutant emissions of a EURO 6 production vehicle fueled with the ECO2Fuel blend. The produced synthetic fuels of the ECO2Fuel electrolyzer will be assessed regarding their end-use and engine compliance. The effect of alcohol presence in the fuel will be validated by MONONLITHOS using MONOLITHOS’ patented catalyst PROMETHEUS (Eur. Patent 19386014.5) in comparison to an OEM EURO V/VI catalyst. PROMETHEUS catalyst is a novel low-cost automotive catalyst, characterized by the reduction of PGMs in catalytic converters by up to 67% compared to the commercial state-of-the art catalysts, by the partial substitution of PGMs with Cu nanoparticles, while maintaining the same catalytic performance and durability (Figure 3). The catalyst incorporates Cu/Pd/Rh particles at selected molar ratios. Its high catalytic efficiency and durability comes from the fact that transition metal nanoparticles, such as Cu particles, do not agglomerate during their deposition on the monolith and during the chemical reactions. As a result, the catalytically active area of the particles is maximized, which in turn increases the overall conversion efficiency.
The initial assessment of catalytic performance will be performed in MON’s specially designed Synthetic Gas Bench equipped with a gas analyser, while the Diesel Particulate Filter’s efficiency will be tested using a catalyzed (with PROMETHEUS coating) and a non-catalyzed DPF, using an opacimeter.
The next stage will include the cooperation of MONOLITHOS with CRF in order to define the necessary geometrical adjustments needed to fit the after-treatment components of a vehicle to better treat the emissions produced by the engine fueled with the ECO2Fuel blend.
“Today, Germany is already an international leader in innovative production technologies for renewable fuels. We want to increase the competitiveness of e-fuels and advanced biofuels. Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) promotes the further development and market ramp-up of renewable fuels with the overall concept of renewable fuels,” said Oliver Luksic at #BioPtX23 in Berlin two days ago The first professional conference on renewable fuels in Germany, organized by NOW GmbH.
The Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport’s overall concept for renewable fuels includes four funding measures that support both the further development and market ramp-up of renewable fuels. We pursue a technology-neutral and cross-modal approach.
We need renewable fuels to achieve climate protection goals in transportation.
Uta Maria Pfeiffer, Head of Mobility and Logistics Division, Federation of German Industries, says: Fuel switching is our biggest and most important lever. If we want to achieve climate goals, it must happen!
The German government has set binding greenhouse gas emission reductions in the Federal Climate Protection Act. To achieve this, transportation must make a significant contribution. In 2030, the transport sector may only emit 85 million tonnes of CO2, which corresponds to a reduction of 48% compared to 1990. To achieve this goal, renewable fuels play a crucial role because not every application in transportation can be electrified.
A cross-modal and technology-neutral concept
Our current transportation is diverse. Due to different usage requirements in passenger and freight transport, various propulsion technologies and fuel types will also be needed in the future. In addition to the widespread market ramp-up of electromobility, renewable fuels – especially electricity-based fuels such as hydrogen and e-fuels, as well as advanced biofuels from waste and residues – will play an important role in replacing fossil fuels in the long term. The Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) promotes renewable fuels with a technology-neutral and cross-modal overall concept, which is flanked by regulatory measures of the federal government.
What does the overall concept of renewable fuels look like?
The BMDV addresses the technical challenges of market entry and plant scaling with the support of development and demonstration projects: on the one hand, in the form of a technology-neutral funding guideline for the development of renewable fuels (pillar I) and, on the other hand, with the promotion of the establishment and operation of a development platform for electricity-based liquid fuels for air and maritime transport (pillar II). To address the economic barriers to the market ramp-up of renewable fuels, the BMDV is currently developing two funding measures. One funding guideline will support investments in renewable fuel production plants (pillar III). Another funding measure will promote the market ramp-up of electricity-based kerosene (pillar IV). The aim is to strengthen Germany’s technological leadership in this area.
Why do we need the overall concept of renewable fuels?
The electrification of transport with the help of batteries or hydrogen fuel cells will make an important contribution to climate neutrality. However, the application possibilities of these technologies are limited – air, heavy-duty, and maritime transport will be particularly dependent on liquid fuels on long distances due to their high energy requirements. To make these transportation applications climate-neutral, the use of renewable fuels is essential in the long term. From the BMDV’s perspective, electricity-based fuels and advanced biofuels from waste and residues are preferably suitable for this purpose. However, the use of renewable fuels is not yet competitive due to technical, economic, and regulatory barriers. The BMDV’s overall concept of renewable fuels helps to overcome these barriers.
Together we will succeed in making renewable fuels make an even greater contribution to achieving climate goals.