CO2 utilisation and integrated energy

Using CO2 to store generated electricity

The technical, industrial and social challenges involved in achieving climate protection targets are huge. Reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 will necessitate global upheavals in all areas of daily life and will affect all sectors (power, transport, industry, commercial/buildings) and also infrastructure and land use.

By implementing a graduated exit from burning coal by 2030, the energy industry in Germany has already made a very good contribution. The rapid expansion of renewables is taking place in parallel.

Upcoming problems

Things that may sound promising in terms of environmental and climate protection may, however, bring problems with them in other areas. The fluctuating infeed of electricity generated using wind and solar power necessitates a huge expansion in electricity storage systems. The goal of electrifying urban automobile traffic and increased electric heating, both in households and for the supply of process heat, is further increasing electricity needs and making the problems worse.

One possible approach for storing energy that will simultaneously drive climate protection forward is Carbon Capture and Utilisation, or Carbon Capture and Usage (CCU). CCU refers to the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from exhaust gases from combustion in particular, and its subsequent use in further chemical processes.

Research projects

RWE is involved in a whole raft of CCU research projects, in which the infrastructure at the RWE Power AG Innovation Centre in Niederaussem serves as a platform for the construction of test facilities. These projects demonstrate the CCU process chains in both small and medium scale, from carbon capture to the synthesis of usable materials with the aid of hydrogen produced from water using electrolysers, to the utilisation of usable CCU materials, and thus evaluate various technologies and products from the perspective of subsequent large-scale implementation.

Integrated energy

The various options for linking different sectors using CO2 are shown in the illustration.

Combining different sectors thus opens up new opportunities for climate protection and supply:

CO2 is no longer emitted but used, and electricity from renewables can be stored and used in other sectors.

RWE Innovation Centre – Integrated energy

RWE Innovation Centre