Seminar: Energy storage in fuels and bulk chemicals – towards E-Refinery development

Renewable power sources like solar and wind energy are intermittent, and this is associated with a number of challenges regarding balancing demand and supply of electricity. Generally, considering a year’s period, there are timeframes with excess power and with a shortage. A complication is that different timescales play a role in the balancing challenge. Energy storage is a way to solve this. For seasonal storage, it concerns large-scale storage for which the conversion of electricity into chemical energy of molecules (‘Power-to-X’) is attractive as many other solutions cannot be applied to huge scale. Power-to-X can also serve replacement of fossil fuels in general for fuel production and bulk chemicals supply, becoming important as towards 2050 a ~95% reduction of fossil fuel dependency needs to be achieved in our society. Regarding this perspective, one direction is to apply water electrolysis to generate hydrogen and oxygen. However, it is challenging to cost-effectively store hydrogen at large-scale. Therefore, in this respect, it is attractive to bind the hydrogen to carbon obtained from CO2 capture to produce a spectrum of hydrocarbon molecules (alcohols, organic acids, olefins, alkanes) which can serve as fuels and bulk chemicals in society. Existing catalytic reaction processes can be applied for this purpose, but process integration is still of particular concern due to the characteristics of reactant supply. An alternative route, lower in TRL, is direct electrochemical CO2 conversion into a plethora of hydrocarbon species. Due to the milder process conditions and potentially higher selectivities (depending on cell voltage) this approach is attractive, in which the separation of products is possibly also more simple, depending on the product(s) targeted. The specific separation technologies and system integration are areas of specific attention. In this lecture an overview of R&D at TU Delft is provided regarding the E-Refinery challenge.

Thursday, December 19, 2019 - 11:15 to 12:15
Prof. dr. ir. Wiebren de Jong
TU Delft
Gerard van Rooij