RISE explores opportunities for the Swedish process industry to benefit from electrofuels

In a newly launched research project, RISE, together with Södra, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and BillerudKorsnäs, with the support of the Swedish Energy Agency, investigates the opportunities for the Swedish pulp, chemical and paper industry to increase the production of renewable fuels while taking a more active role in the electricity market by producing so-called electrofuels.

Sweden aims to have an electricity production that is 100 percent renewable in 2040. The goal is to be achieved by mainly expanding the production of solar and wind power, which are both weather-dependent energy types. This is likely to lead to an uneven supply of electricity and a significant varying electricity price, which poses a challenge for energy producing and energy-intensive industries, such as the chemical, pulp and paper industries. At the same time, Sweden aims to multiply the proportion of renewable fuels in the national vehicle fleet.

A contributing solution to both challenges could be electrofuels: liquid or gaseous synthetic fuels produced by electricity, water and carbon dioxide from existing processes. In view of this, RISE, in cooperation with Södra, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and BillerudKorsnäs, will explore the opportunities for the Swedish process industry to benefit from the electrofuel-concept.

“The interest in electrofuels has grown in the last few years, and today there are over 40 demonstration and pilot facilities in operation or under construction in Europe. So far, there is no facility in place in Sweden, but the interest in the electrofuel concept is rapidly increasing here too” says Anna-Karin Jannasch, leader of the focus area Industrial Transformation at RISE.

“For industry, introduction of the electrofuel concept could mean that during periods of low electricity prices it would be possible to produce renewable electrofuels that can either be stored for later use or sold for external use. For society, there is also an opportunity to create better balance in the future's renewable electricity grid and on the same time create so called carbon sinks by using carbon dioxide from flue gases in the production of the electrofuels" says Anna-Karin Jannasch.

“For Södra, efficient use of resources is important. To investigate whether we can further reduce the need for fossil fuels while boosting our electricity business for the future's power system is something we consider to be interesting to study more closely” says Catrin Gustavsson, Head of Innovation and New Business at Södra.

Facts about electrofuels

Electrofuels are an umbrella name for synthetic fuels that are produced from electricity and water through electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can either be used directly as fuel or as raw material for industrial processes. It is also possible to allow the hydrogen to react to other products such as methane and/or methanol via reactions with carbon dioxide from flue gases. In those cases where the electricity for the water electrolysis and the carbon dioxide for the hydrocarbon synthesis are renewable, this creates a carbon sink as it replaces fossil fuels and products.

For more information please contact:

Anna-Karin Jannasch, leader of the focus area Industrial Transformation at RISE: 0705-56 57 41 or anna-karin.jannasch [at] ri.se

Catrin Gustavsson, Head of Southern Innovation and New Business Södra: 0340-63 35 00, or catrin.gustavsson [at] sodra.com

RISE explores opportunities for the Swedish process industry to benefit from electrofuels