CO2 recycling in the chemical industry

two engineers on a pilot plan
In mid-March 2022, the launch event for the SCOORE research project - synthesis gas from CO2 recycling - took place, in which researchers from TU Bergakademie Freiberg are working with BASF to develop and test a new process for recycling carbon dioxide.

Synthesisgas, a gas mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, is one of the most important building blocks of the chemical industry and is produced, among other processes, by partial oxidation from carbon-containing feedstocks such as crude oil or natural gas. This process has so far released significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

In order to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions, BASF, in cooperation with the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, would like to develop and test a process in the new research project, in which CO2 is no longer released, but is used as a carbonaceous feedstock for synthesis gas production. This will be accomplished by developing a mode of operation for the non-catalytic partial oxidation of methane within a CO2-enriched atmosphere that can be implemented on a large scale.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (funding code 03EE5109B). The research project includes the development of computational models based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) for the detailed description of the thermochemical conversion processes, experimental verification on a pilot scale, and a test run on an industrial scale for safe and specification-compliant synthesis gas production.

The new process is being tested at the HP POX pilot plant of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering. "With the help of comprehensive process modeling and detailed CFD calculations, new, optimized process concepts will be virtually designed in a time- and cost-efficient manner and then demonstrated on a pilot scale with the help of the HP POX pilot plant of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering," states Andreas Richter, holder of the professorship for Modeling of Thermochemical Conversion Processes. For this purpose, TU Bergakademie Freiberg will use process data from industry and experimental data from its own test facility. Based on these experimental results and the model calculations, a demonstration trial on an industrial scale can be carried out in a production plant at BASF in a second phase of the project, thus demonstrating the scalability of the process. "The industrial-scale trials in our pilot plant create the conditions for demonstrating the new technology at BASF's production site in Ludwigshafen while the project is still running," says Martin Gräbner, head of the Institute of Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering.

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