Sustainable electro-synthesis of chemical energy vectors in industrial clusters

IDRIC Project MIP 5.4

Research Centre for Carbon Solutions
Heriot Watt University

Background

Commodity chemicals accounted for a demand value of around £1.7 trillion globally in 2017, and it is expected to increase to almost £2.1 trillion by 2025. As the chemical industry moves into 2022, strong demand for commodity chemicals should keep prices robust throughout the year. The industry should also experience increased capital expenditure as leading industry players focus on building capacity and expanding into growing end markets. However, the industry could face margin pressures amid raw material cost inflation, which will likely remain high through the first half of 2022.

Many chemical companies increase investment in research and development (R&D) capabilities and leverage advances in decarbonization and recycling technologies to lower their and their customers’ carbon footprint to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, they are increasingly considering the scope of the emissions included in the goal.

Scope 1 emissions include those from a company’s production and other internal operations.
Scope 2 adds most forms of power.
Scope 3 captures the rest of the value chain and is more complex; it has more overlap between companies and their customers.

1 DECARBONISATION vs GLOBAL DEMAND

Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer

Prof Mercedes Maroto-Valer

Principal Investigator
Heriot-Watt University

Project Team

RCCS, Heriot-Watt University:

Prof John M. Andresen
Dr Jeannie Z. Y. Tan

Meet the Team

 

Team 2

Prof John M Andresen

RCCS, Heriot-Watt University

Team 1

Dr Jeannie Z. Y. Tan

RCCS, Heriot-Watt University

Team 2

Prof John M Andresen

RCCS, Heriot-Watt University

Team 1

Dr Jeannie Z. Y. Tan

RCCS, Heriot-Watt University

Case Study/Progress

The economics of electro catalytic processes will be highly dependent on the availability and price of renewable electricity, the regional cost of feedstock and of traditional petrochemical manufacture, the maturity of carbon capture technologies, and the social, political, and economic incentives to transition to low carbon processes.

Electrocatalysis can be implemented throughout the chemical supply chain and could include electrosynthesis of basic building blocks, higher-value fine chemicals in combination with other technologies working simultaneously.

H2 electrolyzers represent the first generation of these clean fuel technologies;

CO2 electrolyzers are poised to be the second generation for production of fuels and chemicals, and the nascent field of N2 reduction to ammonia may represent the future of renewable fertilizer production.