Engineered photosynthesis technologies for Low Carbon fuel Production
Engineered photosynthesis technologies convert carbon dioxide from industrial waste into fuels. The inputs are CO2, sunlight, and (non-potable) water. At the heart of this process are photosynthetic micro-organisms. When fed with CO2, instead of using photosynthesis to produce new cells, these modified microorganisms continually produce fuel.
Potential sources of CO2 include the steel and cement industry, power generation plants, oil & gas processing plants, refineries, etc. With this technology ethanol, diesel fuel or even jet fuel can be produced. A key environmental advantage of this technology is that it does not need arable land. Therefore no agricultural land is needed, nor clean drinking water.
Power to Fuel technologies for Low Carbon fuel Production
- Low carbon liquid or gaseous fuels can be obtained by using (renewable) electricity to power a chemical synthesis process. These processes are called power-to-gas and power-to-liquids. In both cases the first step is to obtain hydrogen from water by means of electrolysis.
- In the case of power-to-gas technologies, hydrogen is then mixed with CO2 to obtain synthetic methane gas. Chemically, it is nearly identical to fossil-based natural gas, so it can be compressed (Compressed Natural Gas -> CNG) and distributed over the natural gas grid to filling stations and be used to refuel vehicles. The energy conversion efficiency of this process can be above 70%.
- In the case of power to liquid technologies, diesel fuel is synthesided from CO2 and hydrogen by means of a reverse watergas shift reaction and the well-known and established catalytic Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process.
Waste gas to Fuel technologies for Low Carbon fuel Production
- Waste gas streams from certain industrial processes can be used as feedstocks to produce low carbon fuels. This can be achieved by converting relatively simple gases (usually mixes of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen) into more complex compounds, including ethanol, jet fuel or commodity chemicals.
- The core process is a biological fermentation of these gas molecules, followed by separation, distillation and product recovery. The fermentation is done by microbes that are able to recycle a wide variety of carbon rich gases. The conversion of waste gas to fuel can substantially reduce carbon emissions compared with the usual combustion of these waste gases to produce electricity. Third party analysis of the resulting fuel ethanol has shown a GHG reduction of over 70% compared to fossil alternatives.
- The biological fermentation process can be applied to a wide variety of gases, including industrial flue gas, gases obtained from the gasification of biomass as well as other societal or industrial residues, such as gasified Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).