The potential for advanced chemical storage for excess renewable power was highlighted in the recent Cefic / Dechema report on ‘Low carbon energy and feedstock for the European chemical industry’ and featured in SusChem’s Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA). Now, a novel process has been announced that offers an economically viable method of transforming excess power generated from renewable energy sources and waste carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial production into methanol in small-scale, delocalised plants.
The news came in an announcement that BASF and bse Engineering have signed a joint development for BASF to provide custom made catalysts for a new chemical energy storage process developed by bse Engineering.
The process will use power generated by renewable energy sources at times when demand is low to produce hydrogen through discontinuous electrolysis. The effective use of this excess power could be a decisive factor in making power production from renewable energy sources more economically viable.
In a second step, methanol is produced from CO2 and hydrogen. The CO2 used in the process could be sourced from industrial sectors, such as in steel production, and will contribute to reducing emissions of this greenhouse gas.
Catalysis is key
The BASF catalysts will be used for the methanol synthesis step and will be tuned and adapted for this specific process to enable the most efficient production of methanol. Methanol is one of the most important basic chemicals and is used in numerous industrial applications such as blending with diesel or gasoline in some countries.
“We are pleased to participate in this exciting endeavour and to contribute significantly to a concrete solution for the use of excess current and CO2 as a raw material,” said Adrian Steinmetz, Vice President Chemical Catalysts at BASF. “We will leverage our know-how and expertise in catalysis in the service of advancing a sustainable answer for the transition to new energy sources and the material use of CO2.”
“After four years of developing the global process concept, we are now ready to enter the licensing phase of this process, with construction of the first plants starting soon,” said Christian Schweitzer, Managing Director of bse Engineering.
See also training workshop orgnaised on the 29th September in the framework of the 35th Annual World Methanol Conference here.