The Carbon2Chem project (earlier post) initiated by thyssenkrupp is moving into its next phase. Involving 16 further partners, the project, which is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), has over the past four years gathered fundamental insights into the conversion of steel mill process gases into chemical products.
The next step is to extend the solution to other industries, demonstrate its long-term stability and make it ready for the market. To this end, Federal Minister Anja Karliczek handed over notice of €75 million (US$89 million) further funding for the period up to 2024.
The BMBF provided more than 60 million euros in funding for the first phase of the project in 2016. Since then, important milestones have been reached: shortly after the pilot plant in Duisburg started operation in March 2018, ammonia, methanol and higher alcohols were successfully produced from steel mill process gases for the first time.
In addition to the CO2 from these gases, Carbon2Chem also uses hydrogen. To pave the way for climate-neutral production, a 2MW alkaline water electrolyzer from thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers was operated in the pilot plant. It was shown that the water electrolyzer could be operated with highly volatile renewable energy without suffering damage.
The implementation of chemical synthesis using commercially available catalysts and gas cleaning using commercially available process stages by thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions shows the high technology readiness level (TRL) of the project. In addition, commercial viability as well as the positive ecological effect were confirmed by all project partners.
Next phase: Extension to other industries and market readiness. In the now launched second phase of the project, the aim is to demonstrate long-term stability in the complex interactions between steel production and chemical synthesis, and show that the Carbon2Chem technology can be upscaled quickly in a cross-industry network. In addition, the focus will be on transferability to other industries besides steel production.
To this end, additional sectors are to be included in the project as major CO2 sources—for example cement and lime producers and waste incineration plants. Finally, the second phase of the project will serve to bring the project to market readiness.
Carbon2Chem is already an integral part of thyssenkrupp Steel’s strategy for climate-neutral steel production. As well as avoiding CO2 emissions through the use of hydrogen in steel production, the company is banking on the technology to utilize and avoid residual emissions. Carbon2Chem is expected to help reduce CO2 emissions at thyssenkrupp’s steel mill by 30% by 2030 on the path to complete climate neutrality by 2050.