TU Bergakademie Freiberg launches OTTO-R project with VW Group, Shell, OMV as partners; P2X for green gasoline
Researchers at the Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg, with partners from the automotive industry (Audi, VW) and the petroleum industry (Shell, OMV) have launched the €1.46-million OTTO-R project for the production of gasoline from “green” methanol produced from CO2, water and renewable electricity.
The new OTTO-R synthesis process is based on the Syngas-To-Fuel-Process (STF) developed by Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz GmbH (CAC) at the Institute for Energy Process Engineering and Chemical Engineering (IEC). STF first converts natural gas-based synthesis gas to methanol in an isothermal reactor; the methanol is then transformed into high-octane gasoline via the intermediate methanol. Residual methanol and light hydrocarbons are separated downstream and recycled into the process.
In contrast to other technologies, further processing is not required except for the stabilization of the gasoline fraction in a distillation column. The reaction heat of the exothermal reactions is used in the newly developed reactors to generate steam from boiler feed water, which is then utilized as an energy source for the process.
Instead of relying on conventional, albeit efficient, methanol synthesis, OTTO-R will use green methanol produced in a power-to-x (P2X) application. OTTO-R is to be available in 2025.
The OTTO-R initiative, coordinated by the TU Freiberg, is part of the Kopernikus project P2X for the research, validation and implementation of Power-to-X concepts. P2X is one of the four Kopernikus projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The topic “Power-to-X” addresses the storage of surplus renewable electricity.
The large-scale Power-to-X project was launched in October 2016. RWTH Aachen University, Forschungszentrum Jülich, and DECHEMA are coordinating the full project, which is concerned with the storage and use of electrical energy from renewable sources by converting it into material energy carriers and chemical products.
In total, 17 research institutes, 26 industrial enterprises, as well as three civil society organisations are involved in the P2X project. In addition to €30 million in funding from the BMBF for the first of three-planned phases, industry partners are providing a total of €8.3 million.
In subsequent project phases of P2X, the green OTTO-R fuel will be used in tests by Audi and VW. Depending on the new technology, the required gasoline quantities can be produced at the IEC at TU Bergakademie Freiberg in the large STF test facility, which can produce up to 120 liters of gasoline per hour.
TU Bergakademie Freiberg researchers are also participating in an initiative to produce renewable, synthetically produced kerosene for aviation as a member of the “Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany” (aireg). The Freiberg researchers will pilot test and demo a new Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process developed in South Africa for the production of kerosene.