From: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Published August 9, 2017 08:17 AM

Power-to-Liquid: 200 Liters of Fuel from Solar Power and the Air's Carbon Dioxide

Production of liquid fuels from regenerative electric power is a major component of the energy turnaround. The first 200 l of synthetic fuel have now been produced from solar energy and the air’s carbon dioxide by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis under the SOLETAIR project. Here, INERATEC, a spinoff of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), cooperates with Finnish partners. The mobile chemical pilot plant that can be used decentrally produces gasoline, diesel, and kerosene from regenerative hydrogen and carbon dioxide. It is so compact that it fits into a shipping container.

“Success of the energy transition needs innovations generated by research extending from fundamentals to applications,” says Professor Thomas Hirth, KIT Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs. “The success of SOLETAIR reflects the importance of international research networks that tackle global challenges and develop applicable solutions.”

The SOLETAIR project started in 2016. This summer, a decentralized plant network was established. It consists of three components. The “Direct Air Capture” Unit developed by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT) captures carbon dioxide from air. An electrolysis unit developed by Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) uses solar power to produce the required hydrogen. Afterwards, carbon dioxide and hydrogen are first converted into reactive synthesis gas at high temperature and then into liquid fuels in a microstructured chemical reactor. This reactor, the core of the plant, was developed by KIT and extended to a compact plant commercialized by INERATEC. For the first time, the complete process from photovoltaics and capturing carbon dioxide from air to fuel synthesis has been set up to demonstrate its technical feasibility.

Continue reading at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Image: The compact pilot plant used in the SOLETAIR project is designed for decentralized production, fits into a shipping container, and can be extended modularly.  (Credit: Photo: VTT)

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