Is recovering the CO2 emitted by industry about to become reality? C2Fuel, a project coordinated by ENGIE, aims to explore, test and validate innovative ways of recovering industrial CO2, notably through green hydrogen to produce clean energy. It will be used for mobility applications, in land or sea transport. The recovered CO2 will thus make it possible to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions locally.
To achieve European objectives of carbon neutrality, recovering CO2 emissions from industries with high levels of emissions is recognised as an essential lever for reducing their environmental footprint. And green hydrogen is emerging as the ideal candidate for converting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the project is fully in line with our strategy for the zero carbon transition and for supporting companies in the reduction of their environmental footprint.
C2Fuel is funded by the European Commission as part of the European framework programme Horizon 2020 (H2020), devoted to the topic of the circular economy and the conversion of captured CO2. It has a total budget of €4 million for a period of four years.
THE DK6 POWER PLANT IN DUNKIRK AT THE CORE OF THE PROJECT
The pilot site for the production of formic acid will be installed at the site of the DK6 power plant in Dunkirk. Its goal is to demonstrate the benefits of converting the CO2 present in the blast furnace gases produced by ArcelorMittal’s steel mill. C2Fuel is therefore a unique opportunity to apply the circular economy by using new technologies for a greener form of energy in an industrial environment. The DK6 thermal power plant is thus an example of how steel plant gases can be re-used to produce energy. The power plant, operated by ENGIE, the project coordinator, can produce up to 1.5 TWh of electricity per year by recovering energy from 5 billion m3 of blast furnace gas and coke oven gas from the ArcelorMittal steel mill, located in the industrial zone of Dunkirk’s large seaport. This production fully offsets the steel mill’s energy needs and supplies the market with more than 500 MW of electricity.
THE TECHNOLOGICAL PROCESS
The goal of the C2Fuel project is to demonstrate the feasibility and the benefits of using green hydrogen to convert industrial CO2 to produce energy vectors with high added value, such as formic acid (FA), a compound capable of efficiently transporting hydrogen, and dimethyl ether (DME), an ideal candidate for substituting diesel in internal combustion engines.
Implementing these industrial CO2 recovery methods depends on the development and assembly of a certain number of core technological components. Initially, high-temperature electrolysis will be used to produce green hydrogen from locally available renewable electricity. In a second stage, the hydrogen will be combined with carbon dioxide, using two different methods: the first includes the development and validation of two competitive and innovative technologies based on membrane reactors for producing dimethyl ether (DME). The second involves the design and validation of an innovative technology for producing formic acid (FA), based on a concept of renewable CO2 hydrogenation. The solutions developed will be integrated, demonstrated and validated at the DK6 site for the production of formic acid (FA), and at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) for the production of dimethyl ether.
ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, ENGIE’s corporate research centre, is the project coordinator. ENGIE is also involved in every phase of the project, from defining the specifications of the demonstrators to the techno-economic and environmental processing of the results, including the design and modelling of the core technological components developed as part of the project. ENGIE, the owner and operator of the DK6 thermal power plant in Dunkirk (in France’s Nord department), is responsible for the preparation of the site that hosts the demonstration system, as well as its operation.
France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) is involved in the selection, design and testing of the pre-treatment processes for the blast furnace gases and CO2 capture. The CNRS is also in charge of assembling the complete demonstration pilot to be installed on the DK6 site.
ELCOGEN OY, a Finnish company specialising in the supply of solid oxide electrochemical cells, is responsible for designing and manufacturing high-temperature electrolysis cells and stacks in line with the project requirements.
The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is involved in conducting characterisation tests on the high-temperature electrolysis cells and stacks, for various operation modes.
The Spanish research centre, the TECNALIA Research & Innovation Foundation, is responsible for developing and manufacturing the membrane materials used in the CO2 conversion reactors. The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is in charge of developing the catalysts and membrane reactors for the CO2 conversion. TU/e will also host and operate the DME production demonstration system. FAST Group, a Dutch start-up issued from TU/e, is developing the formic acid production reactor based on work carried out by TU/e. FAST Group will also provide the FA-to-Power unit, to be installed in the surroundings of the port of Dunkirk for dockside electric boat charging applications.
Breuer Technical Development (BTD) has the role of characterising the behaviour of internal combustion engines, using dimethyl ether as an alternative fuel.
Volkswagen is responsible for supporting BTD in the characterisation of internal combustion engines powered by dimethyl ether.
AYMING is providing its expertise in the implementation and management of this collaborative research and innovation project.