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Developing climate-neutral synthetic fuels from water and CO2

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In addition to the expansion of renewables, the future system for supplying energy and raw materials – based on fluctuating power generation using photovoltaics and wind power – will need to store large volumes of energy for the shorter and longer term and transport it across great distances.

Synthetic liquid fuels obtained from biogenic CO2 or recycled carbon and hydrogen produced using renewable electricity are chemical long-term energy storage systems with a very high power density which can be used in multiple sectors.

RWE Innovation Centre – E-fuels electric car

By substituting fossil primary energy sources and avoiding CO2 emissions, these projects contribute to climate protection and simultaneously enable the facilities to be better used for renewable electricity generation.

Because these synthetic fuels are also free of sulphur, nitrogen and aromatics, they can also be used to reduce, or entirely avoid, the emission of hazardous substances such as SOx, NOx and soot during combustion in motors and engines. Synthetic fuels are particularly suitable for achieving a relatively fast reduction of emissions in large parts of long-distance and goods traffic (heavy goods, air transport, maritime transport), for which direct electrification is not feasible on technical or economic grounds.

For several years now, RWE has been working with various partners at its Innovation Centre in Niederaussem on CCU (carbon capture and usage) projects to make use of CO2. Projects such as MefCO2, ALIGN-CCUS, OCEAN, LOTER.CO2M, LAUNCH, TAKE-OFF, SCOPE and ECO2Fuel serve as a standard in the pilot plant stage to refine technologies and products, and are a precondition for the next step, a large-scale CCU demonstrator unit. A demonstrator unit of this kind is currently being developed as part of the “NRW-Revier-Power-to-BioJetFuel” project.

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RWE Innovation Centre