Friday, 18 September 2015

Solar + #useCO2 = all our Energy and Material needs?

On 29 and 30 September 2015, leading experts from politics, research and the industry will meet at the Haus der Technik in Essen, Germany, at the biggest European “Conference on Carbon Dioxide as Feedstock for Fuels, Chemistry and Polymers” to discuss the latest technologies and strategies for an optimum and swift implementation. Over 200 participants are expected from all over the world, including many global companies. The conference is organised by the nova-Institut.

The nova-Institut has calculated that the global demand for electricity, raw materials for the chemical and plastics industry as well as aviation fuel could be met by solar energy. Only 2% of the world’s desert area would be needed to provide the global carbon demand of the chemical and plastics industry with solar and Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) technologies in 2050.

Initial life cycle assessments (LCAs) show that the climate footprint of solar kerosene is better than all alternatives. The CO2 emissions per tonne for solar kerosene production are considerably lower than those of biobased kerosene and 80 to 90% lower than petrochemical kerosene. Indeed further calculations show that compliance with the 2°C climate change goal is only possible using solar kerosene. In comparison to biobased kerosene it is found that land use and water demands are also much lower.

“Today, we have the technologies to cover the global demand for electricity, raw materials for the chemical and plastics industry as well as aviation fuel by solar, wind and hydro energy – even in the long term. Renewable energy and carbon dioxide utilization mean nothing less than a sustainability revolution for all energy and raw material supply. Just the right political and economic framework is missing so far,” says Michael Carus, CEO of the nova-Institut GmbH (pictured right).

The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) includes a range of CCU and related technologies in its chapter on Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy (SIRA, Chapter 3) including the long-term option of direct photo-conversion of CO2: the development of ‘artificial leaves’ able to capture CO2 and convert it into renewable chemicals and fuels using only sunlight and water.

Solar for power, chemicals
Nova-Institut analysis shows that the amount of solar energy falling on the Earth is more than sufficient to meet estimated global energy demand in 2050 using less than 1% of worldwide land for photovoltaic (PV) systems. In addition to the direct use of solar energy, other renewables such as wind or water, can contribute to fulfilling energy demands. This global view shows that providing humanity with sustainable and environmentally friendly energy is not a problem in principle, however significant investment will be required.

Technical developments of the last few years have shown that solar, wind and hydro power not only provide eco-friendly electricity, but can also be used to produce organic raw materials.

Renewable energies are used to derive the elements hydrogen and oxygen from water. Combining the generated hydrogen with CO2 forms methane, methanol and a variety of other chemical building blocks. This process can be achieved catalytically or biotechnologically. More than 20 pilot plants worldwide are operational already and the first commercial plants are under construction. This technology is called CCU or alternatively power-to-gas or power-to-liquid.

In SusChem we tend to use the term #useCO2 as a generic hashtag to cover these technologies.

Nova-Institut calculations show that, using this technologies, it is possible to sustainably supply the chemical and plastics industry with organic raw materials. Even with a strong growth, the carbon demand of the chemical and plastics industry could easily be met through CCU technologies in 2050. About 2% of the world’s desert area would be enough to cover the global carbon demand of the chemical and plastics industry with solar and CCU technologies.

Sustainable technologies
Already today, solar-powered CCU technologies can contribute toward climate protection. One of the biggest climate challenge is the growing CO2 emissions caused by air traffic. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are investing large amounts to produce climate friendly biobased kerosene from wood, algae, Jatropha and biogenic waste. However, high costs as well as insecurities about land requirements, biodiversity and potential conflicts with food and feed have so far prevented large-scale industrial implementation.

Synthetic aviation fuel based on solar, wind and water energy as well as CO2 offers an alternative and it is already being produced on small scales. More than ten pilot plants are using electrolysis and Fischer-Tropsch-Synthesis to produce different fuels with efficiency levels of 70 to 80%. Solar kerosene can replace petrochemical kerosene 1:1 and has better combustion characteristics due to its purity. Production costs depend primarily on prices for renewable energies and are about the same as for biobased kerosene.

Find out more on the #useCO2 future in Essen on 29 and 30 September!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post and tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success..
    solar customer


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