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28-09-2018 | Consumables | News | Article

3D Printing to Make Synthetic Fuel Production Cheaper

Patrick Schäfer

Forschungszentrum Jülich hopes to develop a 3D-printed membrane reactor for producing synthetic fuels. The reactor is expected to be more efficient and cost-effective.

As part of the Prometheus project, researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, together with WZR ceramic solutions GmbH, the Greek Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Hellenic Petroleum are developing a 3D-printed membrane reactor with ultra-thin cells for the production of synthetic fuels. The new technology will reportedly make it possible to produce both synthetic chemicals and fuels directly in one step rather than currently in several steps.

Several chemical reactions can occur in the planned membrane reactor. This is due to a ceramic membrane that is permeable to hydrogen and oxygen ions. On the membrane's surfaces, there are catalyst layers that speed up the process of the required transformation reactions, according to the scientists. To increase the flow rate and hence improve efficiency, the membranes are designed as a layer 10 to 50 micrometres thick. 

3D printing lowers synthetic fuel production costs

Using a 3D ceramic printing process, this thin layer is deposited on a much thicker porous substrate to achieve stability. This is cost-effective and also permits the production of a substrate with a suitable pore structure with pore channels optimised for gas transport. The researchers hope to be able to present a functional concept for a low-cost membrane reactor at the end of the three-year project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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Background information for this content

2017 | Book

Renewable Synthetic Fuels and Chemicals from Carbon Dioxide

Fundamentals, Catalysis, Design Considerations and Technological Challenges

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