CELBICON – Cost-effective carbon dioxide conversion into chemicals

CELBICON aims at the development new CO2-to-chemicals technologies by conjugating CO2 capture, electrochemical CO2 conversion into intermediates and fermentation of these intermediates into value added chemicals. Each subsystem entered the CELBICON project as a stand-alone technology at a certain technology readiness level. During the CELBICON project these technologies will be further developed and integrated into a single, decentralized, cost-effective and robust technology platform operated at TRL5.

Combination of Capture, ELectrochemical and Biochemical CONversion technologies

Initial situation and project goal

The recycling of the climate gas CO2 as a carbon source is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. The development of novel processes is of key importance to counterbalance the increasing CO2 emissions and climate change [1]. Regenerative platform chemicals can be produced by integrating renewable energy in the operation of strategically important CO2 -neutral processes. Because of the geographical distribution of available regenerative energy and CO2, the development of decentralized processes is of particular interest.

The EU project “Cost-effective CO2 conversion into chemicals via combination of capture, ELectrochemical and BIochemical CONversion technologies – CELBICON” aims at the development of new CO2-to-chemicals technologies by conjugating CO2 capture, electrochemical CO2 conversion into intermediates and fermentation of these intermediates into value-added chemicals. At the beginning of the project, each subsystem existed as a stand-alone technology at a certain technology readiness level (TRL). During the CELBICON project, these technologies are to be further developed and integrated into a technology platform operated at TRL5. Key criteria for the developments are: (a) a modular and decentralized system, (b) high material and energy efficiency, (c) low investment and operating costs and (d) high robustness providing process variability.

Construction of the technology platform

The targeted process chain was demonstrated on a laboratory scale. During the last year of this rewarding project, the modules of the CELBICON plant are built and will be integrated into a single demonstration plant.

CO2 will be sourced from air, using a CO2 adsorber provided by the project partner Climeworks, a pioneer of direct air capture technology. The first conversion step involves electrochemical reduction of CO2 to C1 intermediates on the cathode, while wastewater treatment was chosen for the valorization of the anodic current. The C1 intermediates will be converted into higher-value chemicals such as lactic acid, isoprene and long-chain terpenes in an integrated fermentation process. In this way, the microorganisms used are optimized by tailor-made metabolic engineering aimed at efficient formation of the product and to support process performance.

Upon commissioning the demonstrator plant, process validation and optimization will be completed at the end of the project.

 

Literature

 [1] UNEP. (2017) The emissions gap report 2017. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi.

Project information

Project title

CELBICON – Cost-effective CO2 conversion into chemicals via combination of Capture and ELectrochemical and BIochemical CONversion technologies  

 

Project duration

March 2016 – January 2020

 

Project partners

  • Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Coordination
  • Technische Universiteit Delft (Netherlands)
  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie KIT (Germany)
  • Université de Montpellier (France)
  • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Spain)
  • Avantium Chemicals BV (Netherlands)
  • Climeworks AG (Switzerland)
  • GASKATEL Gesellschaft für Gassysteme durch Katalyse und Elektrochemie mbH (Germany)
  • Gensoric GmbH (Germany)
  • Hysytech S.R.L. (Italy)
  • Krajete GmbH (Austria)
  • M.T.M. SRL (Italy)

Funding

The research leading to results in this project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement n°679050.

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