BASF, The Linde Group and ThyssenKrupp plan to develop an environmentally friendly and competitive basis for utilising the climate gas carbon dioxide (CO2) on an industrial scale.
They aim to employ innovative process technology to use carbon dioxide as a raw material, with positive effects on climate protection. Together with BASF’s subsidiary hte AG and scientific partners VDEh-Betriebsforschungsinstitut, Düsseldorf, and TU Dortmund University, the companies are developing a two-stage process.
In the first step, an innovative high-temperature technology will process natural gas to obtain hydrogen and carbon. Compared to other processes, this technology produces very little CO2. The hydrogen is then reacted with large volumes of CO2, also from other industrial processes, to give syngas. A mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, syngas is a key raw material for the chemical industry and is also suitable for producing fuels.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is subsidising the project within its “Technologies for Sustainability and Climate Protection – Chemical Processes and Use of CO2” scheme. The project started on July 1, 2013, and is expected to last three years.
“Methane decomposition complements our existing technology portfolio as well as our hydrogen, CO2 and syngas businesses. Compared to standard procedures of hydrogen generation, this new technology stands out for its higher efficiency and for reducing CO2 emissions by half. We figure that customers from both the industrial and the hydrogen mobility sector might benefit from this,” said Dr Harald Ranke, Head of Clean Energy Technology at Linde.
Unlocking the raw material potential of carbon dioxide
The project’s approach has several advantages:
Natural gas is a plentiful resource with a more favourable content of hydrogen and carbon than biomass, for example.
Natural gas decomposition is achieved thermally only, without any addition of oxygen or water.
This enables the production of hydrogen and solid carbon; the latter may potentially be used to replace hard coal in the coke and steel industries.
In an additional innovative catalytic process step, carbon dioxide is combined with the hydrogen obtained from natural gas decomposition to produce syngas.
With the process operating at very high temperatures, the innovative reactor design ensures that the correspondingly large amounts of waste heat are recycled immediately into the process.
The technology is suitable for large-scale industrial production.
Multidisciplinary cooperation as a success factor
BASF coordinates the joint project and, in cooperation with hte, carries out the experimental research activities on gas decomposition and the catalyst development for the production of syngas. Based on this the partners intend to develop a pilot plant design and a concept for integrating the innovative technology into existing chemical and steel-producing sites. The engineering responsibility lies with Linde and ThyssenKrupp Uhde. ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe and its subsidiary KBS will perform the carbon conditioning and testing for steel industry use.
“We are fully aware of the expectations of all stakeholders regarding the industrial-scale implementation of this technology. Multidisciplinary cooperation in our project team between engineering, chemical, gases and steel industry will be key for the technical and economical success,” explained Dr Volker Göke, project manager at Linde Clean Energy Technology.
About The Linde Group
The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2012 financial year, Linde generated revenue of €15.280bn. The strategy of the group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The company is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.