The necessary technical processes are already available to us electricity to create fuel using water and exhaust gases. The challenge is to turn these processes into sustainable, cost-effective production. RISE is collaborating with Swedish process industries to find solutions.
As society switches to fossil-free fuels, it is important that industry reviews its electricity consumption and use of fossil fuels and raw materials. The electricity market of the future will offer a greater proportion of renewable energy from sources such as solar and wind power. This will lead to greater variations in prices. Renewable electrofuels may then be a viable solution for industry, both for ensuring electricity supplies and reducing climate impact.
“Embracing the concept of electrofuels may make it possible for companies to produce their own renewable electrofuels during periods of low electricity prices, to be either stored to meet future requirements or sold for external use,” says Anna-Karin Jannasch, former focus area manager for industrial transformation at RISE.
The term electrofuel covers a range of synthetic fuels produced from electricity and water through the application of electrolysis to hydrogen and oxygen. Methanol or some other hydrocarbon can then be created, for example by the reaction of hydrogen to industrial exhaust gases, which can then be used as fuel or in chemicals.
Collaboration to identifie solutions
This project sees RISE collaborating with Södra, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and BillerudKorsnäs to examine whether solutions can be identified that suit Swedish conditions with regard to current and future electricity-market scenarios.
“Among other things, we are studying how electrofuel processes might suit various types of production facility, including non-integrated pulp mills and integrated pulp and paper mills,” explains Anna-Karin Jannasch.
Interest in electrofuels is intense and a number of major industry projects are underway, with demonstration and pilot facilities currently under construction or already up and running throughout Europe, including in Sweden. There is also a commercial electrofuel production plant in Iceland.
The current project is the first to focus on integration in the pulp and paper industry. There can be no doubt that this an important issue for Swedish industry to consider.
“All industry partners are extremely active in the project,” says Anna-Karin Jannasch.