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WP4: Hydrogen & e- for C-based chemistry

Our society relies heavily on carbon-based materials, produced almost entirely from fossil sources such as oil and natural gas. Using renewable hydrogen, produced directly from green electrons or through direct use of green electrons, could make many of our current chemical conversion processes more sustainable, directly reducing the carbon footprint of our petrochemical and chemical plants. The envisioned subprogram outlines three directions to achieve these goals. First, the large-scale introduction of green hydrogen, which can be used directly to replace fossil hydrogen. Second, the direct use of green electrons to heat high-temperature chemical conversion processes. Finally, we propose the direct use of green electrons to perform large-scale electrochemical reactions. This route enables the production of bulk chemicals, such as ethylene, propylene and their oxides, as well as fuels and fuel components, such as methanol and kerosene, directly from CO2. Moving in this direction represents a gradual but substantial shift toward circular chemical production facilities that will make our current chemical plants greener and more innovative.


This WP focuses on:

  • Direct use of renewable H2 to reduce CO2 emissions from large-scale production facilities. These facilities are used to produce transportation fuels (e.g. gasoline, diesel, and kerosene), bulk chemicals (e.g., alcohols, olefins, and aromatics), and materials (e.g., plastics and coatings, and their precursor molecules)
  • Greening the heat processes at these large-scale chemical production facilities through direct deployment of green electrons to heat energy-intensive processes (e.g., endothermic processes)
  • Greening of conversion processes in these large-scale chemical production facilities by direct deployment of green electrons for conversion of energy-intensive processes (e.g., electrochemical processes and plasma technology).

Activities include:

Development of:

  • Stable and toxin-resistant catalyst materials, more efficient reactor technologies, integrated CO2 capture and hydrogenation processes for the production of formaldehyde, methanol, DME, ethylene
  • New reactor designs and technologies to harness green electrons for heating or lighting large-scale reactors
  • One or more small-scale pilot-scale facilities for making use of light and heat, originating from green electrons, to provide heat to endothermal chemical processes
  • New catalyst-reactor combinations and pilot plants for the electrochemical conversion of CO2/CO into fuels and chemicals (e.g., conversion of CO2 into propylene) chemicals (e.g., conversion of CO2 to propylene).