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28-03-2023 | Consumables | News | Article

Coupled E-fuels and Biofuels Production Creates Synergies

Author: Christiane Köllner

1 min reading time

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The joint project Synergy Fuels aims to make the production of alternative fuels more efficient. To this end, e-fuels and biofuel-producing demonstration plants are to be interconnected. 

In the joint project "Synergies through the integration of biomass utilization and power-to-X in the production of renewable fuels (Synergy Fuels)", researchers coordinated by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are developing a refinery concept to produce renewable fuels on a ton scale for a variety of applications. To this end, the scientists are combining the production of e-fuels with that of biofuels. For example, the network partners use waste heat from the (thermo-)chemical syntheses (for example, methanol synthesis) for product processing. The provision of biogenic CO2 for methanol synthesis and of biogenic hydrogen through the thermochemical conversion of biomass residues is also essential. This circumvents the use of fossil CO2 sources, for example waste gases from the combustion of coal or natural gas, or complex CO2 capture from the atmosphere.

In "Synergy Fuels", the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) is focusing on the heterogeneous catalytic synthesis of middle distillate fuels, i.e. kerosene and diesel, from CO2 and renewable electricity. The process route to be developed, they say, is via alcohols and olefins as intermediates. According to the researchers, the CO2 comes directly from technical process gases, on the one hand from fermentative ethanol production, and on the other from thermocatalytic biomass conversion. Nine synthesis plants in eastern Bavaria are to be integrated into the refinery network over the next four years, including existing ones in Straubing and Sulzbach-Rosenberg. These plants would produce a wide range of renewable fuels on a ton scale.

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