Electrification of the Chemical Industry

12-06-2018 | New Project | Call4participation | P2Hydrogen | P2Chemicals

Voltachem starts new interregional E2C project accelerating electrification and CO2 conversion

VoltaChem and partners from the 2 Seas region will join forces from 1 July in the new interregional project "Electrons to high-value chemical products (E2C project)". The cross-border project recently awarded by Interreg 2 Seas focuses on the conversion of CO2 into chemicals and fuels, using renewable electricity. The aim of this new consortium - consisting of 8 research partners and 29 industrial observers from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and England - is to accelerate the development and implementation of this Power-2-X and CO2 conversion technology. The project will run for 3.5 years and result in two pilot installations demonstrating the possibilities of Power-2-X technologies.

World leading region in Power-2-X and CO2 utilization

In the 2 seas area, there is a strong and urgent need to manage the increasingly variable electricity supplies coming from the drastic growth of offshore renewable energy. Meanwhile, the heavy industry is under pressure to reduce CO2 emissions and to make processes more sustainable as a result of the new climate targets. The combination of these two challenges and the availability of a high-tech knowledge-intensive technology supplier industry will offer the unique opportunity for this European region to become a world leader in one of the important solutions: conversion of CO2 into useful products using renewable energy. This cross-border project aims to accelerate the establishment of that unique position by filling in an important gap in the development of such processes for the industry, namely the screening and piloting steps between lab scale proof-of-principle and commercial demonstration.

According to the Interreg 2 Seas Monitoring Committee, “E2C is a highly innovative and relevant project for the 2 Seas Programme. The area could get a strategic advantage and become a leading region in the field thanks to the increasing transfer and uptake of Power-to-X technologies”.

Cross-border consortium

The new consortium consists of 8 core partners and 29 industrial observer partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK. Within the core partnership, applied institutes TNO ECN part of TNO and VITO will focus on the development of the technologies towards pilot installations in industry, while the academic partners TU Delft, University of Antwerp, University of Exeter and University of Lille will work on detailed research and development improving the limitations of the technologies. The University of Sheffield will be focused on communication, dissemination, and impact through its CO2Chem network together with us. Furthermore, 29 companies from the equipment, energy & chemical sectors are closely involved in the project as observer partners, providing technical or market input and advising on the development of the project towards the pilot installations. This international open innovation platform, run by VoltaChem and CO2Chem, will be open for additional industrial partners during and after the project. 

Conversion of CO2 towards chemicals and fuels
The project will focus on the use of renewable electricity for the production of fuels and platform chemicals from sustainable feedstocks. The core of the development will be the indirect conversion of CO2 to fuels through green hydrogen and the direct conversion of CO2 to platform chemicals through electrochemical synthesis, building on results of other projects from inside and outside the partnership. Furthermore, the potential for realizing positive business cases around Power-to-X technologies will be demonstrated, based on the research findings while taking into account energy and feedstock price scenarios and future developments of international energy and chemicals businesses.

Pilot plants to further develop Power-to-X

For both the indirect and direct conversion of CO2, the final result will be the delivery of industrial pilot plants that showcase the possibilities of Power-to-X technologies and can be used for demonstration and piloting in industrial clusters after the project. One pilot installation will focus on the indirect CO2  conversion with green hydrogen towards fuels. This mobile unit will be constructed and operated to demonstrate the potential for storing peaks in renewable electricity supply in liquid fuels, which is especially relevant for harbor industrial clusters in the 2 Seas region. The other pilot installation will focus on the direct electrochemical conversion of CO2 with renewable electricity to the platform chemicals CO and formic acid. The flexible pilot plant will be a key piece of R&D infrastructure for developing and scaling up electrochemical conversion processes in industry. After completion, both pilot plants will become available for open innovation projects within a Centre of Excellence, further contributing to the development of Power-2-X and encouraging industrial investments in further scaling up towards implementation.

Perfect fit with our ambitions

This E2C project fits perfectly within the VoltaChem Shared Innovation Program and its business driven mission to facilitate collaborative developments and accelerate innovation in the field of electrification. The project will contribute to the program lines Power-2-Hydrogen, Power-2-Chemicals and Power-2-Integrate accelerating industrial implementation of technologies developed in earlier projects like Power-2-FA, AMPERE, ELECTRE and FLEDGED, together with new public and private partners. Erin Schols, project manager within VoltaChem, explains: “Besides this perfect opportunity to boost industrial electrification, this prestigious project also perfectly accommodates our ambition to expand the electrification community internationally and to establish relationships with new industry partners. We find this a highly relevant project that will have a major impact worldwide. 

Public acknowledgment

This project is made possible by financial contributions from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Province of South-Holland & North-Holland, Smartport and the European Programme Interreg 2 Seas which supports cross-border projects, stimulates innovations, sustainable energy, a healthy environment and the job market. The budget will be approximately 10 M€ in total, of which 4.3 M€ is invested by the European Regional Development Fund (through the Interreg 2 Seas Programme), 1.4 M€ by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Provinces of South-Holland and North-Holland and SmartPort, and 1.5 M€ by the partners. 

More information
For questions or participation in this E2C/Interreg 2 Seas project please contact Martijn de Graaff via 06-22260871 or martijndegraaff@voltachem.com

More information Interreg  


Below: Installation for direct electrochemical CO2 conversion at VoltaChem 


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