SunFire acquiring staxera to support development of technology to generate synthetic fuels from renewable energy sources, water and CO2
|Concept of the SunFire process. Click to enlarge.|
Bremen, Germany-based SunFire is acquiring staxera, a developer and manufacturer of SOFC high-temperature fuel cells sited in Dresden, from Webasto, a supplier to the automotive industry. The acquisition will enable SunFire—the developer of a process to generate renewable fuels from CO2 and H2O—to extend its expertise along the value chain by adding the technical core component for the required electrolysis process.
The process developed by SunFire begins with the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen by using electrolysis, driven by renewable electrical energy (derived from sunlight, wind or water). A subsequent step is the reaction of hydrogen and the CO2 to form renewable, synthetic gasoline, diesel and kerosene. An important precondition for the economic viability of the process is a high efficiency of the electrolysis.
SunFire claims that the achievable efficiency is approximately 70%—i.e. more than two-thirds of the electrical energy used reappears in the fuel produced. Approximately 2.6 kg of carbon dioxide and 1.1 kg (1.1 L) of water are required to produce one liter (0.83 kg) of gasoline or diesel fuel.
staxera develops, manufactures and sells SOFC high-temperature fuel cells. A wide range of liquid and gaseous fuels can be used to generate electricity and heat in high-temperature fuel cells. Fuel cells are suitable for both mobile applications and for decentralized, stationary applications such as residential microCHP units using natural gas, biogas or wind gas.
Electrolysis reverses the principle of the fuel cell, while the components of electrolysis and fuel cell stacks are very similar. Thus staxera is in a good position to develop highly efficient electrolyzers and fuel cells.
The acquisition means that SOEC high-temperature electrolysis will be added to staxera’s product portfolio. The combination of both business sectors means that synergies can be utilized and future production costs will be reduced, thus also strengthening the existing SOFC business, the companies say.
Webasto will remain a silent partner in staxera, while focusing on growth in its main sectors, i.e. roof and thermal systems.
The sites of SunFire in Bremen and staxera in Dresden will remain in place. Carl Berninghausen will become chairman of the management board.