Electrification of the Chemical Industry

31-08-2018 | New Project | P2Chemicals

EC grants game-changing project on highly selective electro-synthesis

Together with several partners, VoltaChem has recently acquired a grant of 9 M€ for a 4-year innovation project in the field of selective electrochemical oxidations of bio-based feedstock. The aim of this project, named PERFORM, is to establish an open-access piloting platform for demonstration of paired electro-synthesis and integrated product recovery, resulting in 60% energy savings and 40% of emission reductions in biochemical processes. The project fits perfectly in VoltaChem’s Power-2-Chemicals program line and contributes to the goals of its industrial and academic partners.

Significant energy and emission reduction 

The PERFORM project aims to demonstrate that multi-step chemical conversions can be avoided and instead performed in a single electrochemical system. The implementation of such electrochemical production methods for building blocks of performance products will be a game-changer, leading to more efficient and sustainable production of chemicals. It is expected that the energy efficiency can be improved by 60% while reducing emissions by 40% compared to actual industrial baseline processes. This is due to the production of valuable products at both electrodes, avoidance of undesired side-products and integration of chemical processing steps.  

5 Technological focus areas

  • The R&D activities in the project will focus on several key aspects in electrochemical processing; 
  • Generic electrochemical development applicable to all project showcases; 
  • Paired electro-synthesis development, resulting in high flexibility and cost-effectiveness; 
  • Integrated processing, combining electrochemical conversion & downstream processing; 
  • Pre-production trials at kg-scale & performance testing of kg materials samples; 
  • LCA and techno-economic analysis, including future energy and feedstock price scenarios. 

Flexible and mobile pilot plant 

The expected result of the project is the development, design, and construction of a TRL 6 integrated pilot plant. This pilot plant will be designed to demonstrate the use of electrochemistry and advanced technologies for efficient and selective conversions of biomass molecules to building blocks for high-performance applications, like polymers, coatings, and adhesives. The pilot plant will be designed to be highly flexible and mobile so that its use will continue beyond the end of the project in open innovation activities or further collaborative projects.  

Complementary partnership 

The PERFORM consortium consists of 5 chemical companies (Perstorp, Novamont, Radici Chimica, Avantium, AVALON BioChem), an electrode development company (Gensoric), 2 engineering companies (HySytech, Vertech Group), 2 applied research institutions (VoltaChem/TNO, VITO), 1 university (INSTM) and a business services company (Sustainable Innovations). The partners are represented in several parts of Europe and bring into the project diversified and complementary competencies, covering the complete chain for developing integrated electrochemical process technology. This ranges from applied electrochemistry, separation technology, and process engineering to component and system design, industrial scale-up, and product performance testing. The results of the project will be disseminated through, amongst others, the VoltaChem and Biorizon communities. 

Interested in collaboration? 

Are you interested in Power-2-Chemicals technology and more specifically paired electrosynthesis and selective electro-oxidation of bio-based feedstock? Please contact Martijn de Graaff or Willem Frens

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