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2015|16 Annual Report Fraunhofer IGB

98 THE FRAUNHOFER LIGHTHOUSE PROJECT “ELECTRICITY AS A RAW MATERIAL” Uwe Vohrer, Thomas Schiestel, Klaus Niedergall, Thomas Scherer, Tobias Gärtner Excess electrical power for energy-intensive manufacturing The energy transition in Germany is in full swing. Renewable energy sources contributed 24 percent of the 630 TWh of electrical power generated in 2013. Their proportion is esti- mated to climb to 80 percent by 2050, while at the same time greenhouse gas emissions are expected to fall to 80 percent of the comparative figures The associated e pansion of wind power and photovoltaics will result in a considerably increasing rise of power available from fluctuating energy sources. As an industrialized country, Germany is confront- ing the pressing question of whether and how the expected excess in the electrical grid can be coupled cost-effectively to energy-intensive manufacturing operations. The goal: power to chemicals The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft views the energy transition and the cost-effective excess electrical power it will increasingly generate as an opportunity for electricity-intensive manu- facturing. The goal of the Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project “Electricity as a Raw Material” is to develop new electro- chemical processes in order to utilize excess electrical power for manufacturing chemicals. For subsequent pilot production and system integration, it means the processes must be modularized and distributed, and electrochemical production at existing Fraunhofer Group facilities made more adaptive. ew technologies and scientific e pertise are being developed for future “Power-to-Chemicals” industrial processes that will subsequently be marketed as part of long-established value- added chains This should lay the scientific and technological foundations for manufacturing products using an increasingly CO2-free mix of electrical power sources. Synthesis pathways – hydrogen peroxide or CO2 conversion The technological focus of the Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project is to develop new electrochemical processes, concentrating on two synthesis pathways. One pathway is oriented toward electrochemical manufac- ture of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) from oxygen and hydro- gen, with prototype demonstrations of the process in a distributed facility. H2O2 is employed as an environmentally friendly oxidant for diverse applications in the chemical, paper, and textile industries. Responsibility for this sub- project lies with the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT. The second pathway’s goal is to electrochemically or elec- trocatalytically convert CO2 for manufacturing fundamen- tal hydrocarbon compounds like alkenes and alcohols, demonstrating the technology at the pilot-plant scale. De- velopment of a demonstration setup for one-step electro- synthesis of ethylene from CO2 by means of gas diffusion electrodes is being led by Fraunhofer IGB. Another setup for one-step electrosynthesis of C1–C4 alcohols from CO2 using high-pressure techniques is being led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT, while a third setup using two-step activation of CO2 by H2 for synthesizing C4–C20 alcohols is being led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Tech- nologies and Systems IKTS. All of these development projects are being paralleled by process simulations (at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM) as well as by joint development of electrochemical components and process analysis systems by CHEMISTRY