Power-to-X and and technologies for the material use of CO2

The ready availability of renewable electrical energy means that the chemical and energy sectors will increasingly merge in the future. This is because the redox equivalents generated in power-to-x processes can be used for synthesis. Fraunhofer IGB is building the Electrolysis Test Platform ELP at the Fraunhofer location in Leuna and the Hy2Chem scale up platform for chemical synthesis with regenerative hydrogen so as to be able to depict – as in other areas – new technological developments right up to the demonstration scale.

Our offer: Power-to-X processes for chemical CO2 recycling

The ready availability of renewable electrical energy means that the chemical and energy sectors will increasingly merge in the future as the redox equivalents needed for the synthesis based on CO2 as feedstock can directly be utilized in power-to-X processes.

From catalysts and electrode materials to multi-step synthesis processes

Developments on electrochemical catalysts, electrode materials and finally entire systems are taking place at the institute, as well as the coupling of these technologies with additional synthesis processes.

Power-to-X-to-Y: from CO2 to C1 intermediates to complex C compounds

In this way, complex molecular structures can be generated elegantly from the electrochemically produced C1-derivatives methanol, formic acid or formaldehyde using biotechnological processes. This power-to-X-to-Y concept, defined at the institute, has already been successfully demonstrated in the EU project Celbicon or within the ongoing Fraunhofer-internal lighthouse project ShapID.

Large scale demonstration at Fraunhofer Hydrogen Lab Leuna

The ongoing expansion of the Hydrogen Lab Leuna by the Hy2Chem scaling platform for syntheses with regenerative hydrogen and their integration into Fraunhofer CBP will also enable future technology developments in this area up to demonstration scale.


Electrochemical conversion: power-to-chemicals

© Fraunhofer IGB
Electrochemical cell for CO2 reduction.

For the sustainable electrosynthesis of basic chemicals with electricity from renewable energies, we develop catalysts and suitable electrodes, electrolysis processes and apparatus.

In the Fraunhofer lighthouse project "Electricity as a Raw Material", for example, Fraunhofer IGB has developed a one-stage process that can produce ethene electrochemically in just one process step.

In the EU project Celbicon, we use electrocatalysis to produce methanol from CO2, which is used as a substrate for fermentation.

An electrolysis cell, in which hydrogen peroxide can be produced from water and air using only electrical energy, is already available as a prototype at the IGB.

Our approach for synthesizing more complex chemicals: Power-to-X-to-Y

Fraunhofer IGB is extending the power-to-X approach to the power-to-X-to-Y concept, in which the intermediates synthesized from CO2 are further processed in coupled chemical and biotechnological processes to more complex and higher-value products. These processes can be used to develop synthesis routes for a wide range of high value-added chemical products, based on the use of CO2 as a primary feedstock. In this way, the much needed path to an era of independence from fossil resources is being paved.

In the EU project Celbicon, for example, we have produced methanol from CO2 by electrocatalysis, which is used as a substrate for fermentation.

Fraunhofer Hydrogen Lab Leuna with Hy2Chem scale-up platform

With a unique research unit for testing electrolysis processes and hydrogen technologies, the Fraunhofer Hydrogen Lab Leuna at the Leuna chemical site, innovative technologies for the production of "green" hydrogen and its use in sustainable synthesis processes (e.g. for the conversion of carbon dioxide in platform chemicals and fuels) are to be linked in future with an excellent infrastructure of gas pipelines and gas storage facilities.

With the Hy2Chem scaling platform, hydrogen produced on a large scale is to be used for the sustainable production of basic chemicals and fuels.

Fraunhofer CBP brings to the partnership with Fraunhofer IWES its many years of expertise in the operation of pilot and demonstration plants and expands its infrastructure and expertise in chemical process engineering for the production of chemicals from renewable resources. As a branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, the Hydrogen Lab Leuna now also provides the opportunity to scale up developments of Fraunhofer IGB at the Stuttgart location and the BioCat branch in Straubing to new electrochemical processes and prepare for industrial implementation.