“Power-to-X” describes technologies which convert electricity from renewable sources into material energy stores, energy source materials, and energy-intensive chemical products. “X” stands for different products, for example:
Gaseous substances such as hydrogen or methane (Power-to-Gas)
Liquid substances such as fuels (Power-to-Liquid) for mobility
Basic chemicals for the chemical industry (Power-to-Chemicals)
This enables energy from renewable sources to be used in the form of on-demand fuels for motor vehicles or in enhanced plastics and chemical products with a high added value. A national framework for this complex subject area was developed as part of the Kopernikus programme.
What is the objective of the Kopernikus project?
“Power-to-X” technologies are used to convert electricity from renewable sources into material resources such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and synthetic gas using an electrochemical process. These material resources must then be stored and distributed efficiently and converted into the end products. This requires innovative solutions which can then be developed into ecologically, economically and socially beneficial processes as the project progresses. “Power-to-X” therefore contributes to the objective of decarbonising the energy systems, a result the federal government is trying to achieve through the energy transition, and at the same time helps to reduce the proportion of fossil fuels in the key leading markets of transport, travel, and chemicals.
A total of 18 research institutions, 27 industrial companies and 3 civic organisations are involved in the “P2X” project. The aim is to bring new technological developments to industrial maturity within the next decade. The initial funding phase is focused on research into the complete value chain from electrical energy through to material energy source materials and products. This will also involve incorporating existing large-scale projects and infrastructures into the project, and establishing interfaces with industry.
To what extent is ifeu involved in this project?
ifeu is involved in the A2 project cluster which is investigating the single-stage reduction of CO2 to CO or synthetic gas in diluted electrolytes. Industry and research partners are attempting to develop the electrolytic implementation of CO2 to CO or CO/H2 (synthetic gas) to the extent that a demonstration or subsequently a pilot system can be constructed. This requires the development of catalytic converters and electrode materials which facilitate the required conversion of CO2, if possible without the formation of by-products (selective), over as long a period as possible (stable), and with as little electricity use as possible (efficient).
As part of this process, ifeu is conducting the accompanying analysis of the environmental impact of this technology in order to provide information about the economic aspects (which are a priority for the industrial partners) and the ecological aspects for or against future large-scale technical use. The focus is on electrolysis and the materials and energy required for this process, expenditure on the provision of CO2, and the evaluation of the recycling options for the CO generated.
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (German Federal Ministry of Education and Reasearch)
Siemens AG Covestro Deutschland AG LIKAT – Leibniz-Institut für Katalyse e. V. FZ Jülich GmbH, Helmholtz-Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy
For more information on the joint project, click here.