PowerFuel – Demonstration and potential analysis of new technologies for sector coupling for the production of synthetic fuel from carbon dioxide

Project management:



Tjerk Zitscher, M.Sc.

Stefan Bube, M.Sc.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Kaltschmitt

Funding:Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Funding reference:03EIV071F
Project partners:

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), INERATEC GmbH, Climeworks Deutschland GmbH, Bauhaus Luftfahrt e.V., Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt e.V., Siemens
Project volume:3 years
Project term:12/2018 - 11/2021

As part of the "Energy Transition in Transport" funding initiative, the "PowerFuel" joint project is investigating the potential of decentralized production of synthetic fuels based on renewable energies. Using electricity-based hydrogen and CO2 as carbon sources, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis will be used to produce fuels for the mobility sector. Using a power-to-liquid plant on a pilot scale, the requirements for the various sub-processes under load-flexible operating conditions will be investigated. The focus of the investigations is on the interaction between a fluctuating and renewable energy supply and the resulting variable loads for the overall process. The plant at KIT is designed for a production capacity of 200 to 300 L/day and consists essentially of a PEM electrolyzer for hydrogen production, a direct air capture plant for separating CO2 from the air and a reverse water-gas-shift process in which a synthesis gas is produced by CO2 activation with hydrogen. The synthesis gas is then converted into liquid hydrocarbons in the Fischer-Tropsch reactor. The synthetic fuels obtained in this way have similar properties to conventional fuels due to various processing steps. The main areas of application will be in air, heavy goods and shipping traffic, as these areas will continue to require fuels with a high gravimetric and volumetric energy density in the future.

In addition to the investigations on load-flexible behavior, a further focus is on the techno-economic and ecological analysis of the overall process. In order to achieve a long-term market launch of synthetic electricity based fuels, energy system analyses of the entire process path are prepared and corresponding energy and process optimizations are developed. This also includes a site-specific potential analysis of the required raw materials CO2 and renewable electricity. The effects on the environment will also be analyzed and evaluated by means of a life cycle assessment of the overall process, taking into account the supply chains.