Ludwigshafen, Germany – BASF and bse Engineering Leipzig GMBH have signed an exclusive joint development agreement for BASF to provide custom made catalysts for a new chemical-energy storage process, BASF announced 24 Aug.
The process, said the German chemicals major, “will enable economically viable transformation of excess current and off-gas carbon dioxide (CO2) into the chemical energy storage methanol in small-scale, delocalized production units.”
When generating current from renewable energy sources such as in wind or solar power plants, excess current is generated at times when consumers do not need it, explained BASF’s statement.
This excess current, it said, can often not be reasonably used at the moment. The effective usage of this excess current is a decisive factor in making power production from renewable energy sources economically viable.
CO2 is generated in some industrial production plants such as in steel production, incineration plants or coal power plants.
The new process developed by bse Engineering enables the use of current and CO2 with small-scale, delocalised production units.
These would be built where the two components are generated: near power plants using renewable sources of energy as well as large-scale industrial plants producing CO2.
Excess current will be used to produce hydrogen through discontinuous electrolysis. In a second step, methanol is produced from CO2 and hydrogen, thus leading to a valorizing of excess current and CO2 off-stream gas.
In the second process step, BASF’s catalysts will be used for the methanol synthesis step. Those catalysts have been further tuned and adapted for this specific process to enable the most efficient production of methanol. Methanol, it said, is an important basic chemicals used in numerous industrial applications.
“We will leverage our know-how and expertise in catalysis in the service of advancing a sustainable answer for the transition to new energy sources and the material use of CO2,” Adrian Steinmetz, vice president Chemical Catalysts at BASF said of the partnership.
“After four years of developing the global process concept, we are now ready to enter the licensing phase of this process, with construction of the first plants starting soon,” said Christian Schweitzer, MD of bse Engineering.