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MAN Energy Solutions to build Plasma Boudouard Reactor for renewable fuels company CAPHENIA

Cleantech start-up, CAPHENIA, has commissioned MAN Energy Solutions to build a Plasma Boudouard Reactor (PBR). This will form the core of CAPHENIA’s first production plant, ‘GERMANY I’, located at Industriepark Höchst in Frankfurt am Main, Germany where the company will produce its first renewable fuels in 2024.

The CAPHENIA PBR is a 3-in-1 zone reactor:

  1. Plasma zone. The key technology of the CAPHENIA process is the high temperature plasma process. At a temperature of about 2000 °C, methane (CH4) is broken down into a carbon aerosol (C) and hydrogen (H2).

  2. Boudouard zone. In the Boudouard zone, the carbon aerosol (C) is combined with carbon dioxide (CO2) and converted into carbon monoxide (CO). This conversion is based on the well-known Boudouard reaction, which takes place at temperatures of around 1000 °C. The Boudouard reaction—which is highly endothermic—involves the thermal decomposition of CO2 into carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon.

    In this reaction process, the high thermal energy of the gas from the plasma zone is fully utilized and converted into chemical bonding energy. The CO2 can come from biogas, CO2 air separation (Direct-Air-Capture/DAC) or CO2 flue gas separation (Carbon-Capture-and-Usage/CCU).

  3. hetWGS zone. In the heterogeneous water gas shift zone (hetWGS), the remaining carbon aerosols (C) react with added water vapor (H2O) to form carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2). The composition of the synthesis gas (H2) can be flexibly controlled.



The CAPHENIA process has a selectivity of 100%. There are no by-products and therefore no energetic losses. When it comes to producing syngas, the CAPHENIA process achieves a record efficiency of 86%. This is made possible by the intelligent design of the 3-in-1 zone reactor and the 100% selectivity.

The CAPHENIA technology utilizes biomethane, CO2, water and sustainably-generated electricity to produce synthesis gas as a feedstock for renewable fuel production and many other chemical products. The synthesis gas will be used, for example, as a step in the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), thus contributing to aviation decarbonization.

The PBR developed by MAN will first split biomethane into hydrogen and carbon. In the next step, CO2 and water will be added to produce the synthesis gas; the reactor can produce 150 kg of synthesis gas per hour. This can subsequently be converted into Sustainable Aviation Fuel using the Fischer-Tropsch process.

CAPHENIA’s power-and-biogas-to-liquid (PBtL) process requires just one-sixth of the electricity of conventional processes for the production of synthesis gas, enabling an end-product CO2 reduction of up to 92% compared to fossil fuels. With this efficiency, the fuels produced can be offered at competitive prices, CAPHENIA said. GERMANY I commissioning is planned for 2024.



CAPHENIA looks like it has great potential, particularly if the process can produce SAF at competitive prices. CAPHENIA’s power-and-biogas-to-liquid (PBtL) can enable an end-product CO2 reduction of up to 92% compared to fossil fuels.
Since the carbon dioxide (CO2) is a separate phase of the process (in the Boudouard zone), regular Natural Gas could also be used in the Plasma Zone achieving similar CO2 reduction as long as the CO2 comes from biogas, CO2 air separation (Direct-Air-Capture/DAC) or CO2 flue gas separation (Carbon-Capture-and-Usage/CCU) from biomass or biogenic waste.
CAPHENIA Power-and-Gas-to-Liquid Reference:
CAPHENIA Bioenergy and Sustainable Technology Partner (BEST):


More than a decade ago I proposed bio synthetic fuels
good to see they're starting to happen

Thomas Pedersen

Uhm, biogas is typically 60% CH4 and 40% CO2. Both are required in the reaction. along with water.

But do you have to separate the (wet - water saturated as it exits the bio-reactors) the components?

The energy required to drive the CH4/CO2 separation is considerable.

The total addition of material to the reactor is basically raw biogas, once you capture all the sulphur, which I assume the 'highly selective' catalysts don't like.


@Thomas Petersen
Excellent observations and yes the Biogas will need to be upgraded. CAPHENIA is only one of the partners at Industriepark Höchst in Frankfurt am Main, Germany which will be operated by Infraserv Höchst.
A Press release from Infraserv Höchst: “Hesse becomes technology hub for alternative fuels”,
An article which shows Synthetic fuels production process planned at Industrial Park Höchst:
“European collaboration projects plan a circular route to producing synthetic aviation fuels”,

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