The “Power-to-X” Kopernikus project: Flexible use of renewable resources
Power-to-X refers to technologies that convert electricity generated from renewable sources into physical energy stores, energy carriers, and energy-intensive chemical products. Energy from renewable sources can then be used in the form of made-to-measure fuels for motor vehicles or in improved plastics and chemical products with high added-value. With the selected “Power-to-X” (P2X) project a national research platform is currently being constructed within the Kopernikus programme for this complex subject area.
What is the objective of the Kopernikus project?
With Power-to-X technologies, electricity from renewable sources is first converted electro-chemically into physical resources such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide and synthesis gas. These physical resources must then be efficiently stored, distributed and converted into the end-product. To accomplish this requires innovative solutions, which are to be developed within the project into ecologically, economically and socially-beneficial processes. In this way Power-to-X is contributing to the objective of decarbonisation of the energy system, which the Federal Government is striving to achieve through the Energiewende, while at the same time reducing the proportion of fossil resources used in the important key markets of transport and chemicals.
What makes the consortium so attractive?
In total 18 research institutions, 27 industrial companies and three civil-society bodies are participating in the P2X project. New technological developments are to be brought to industrial maturity within ten years. In the first funding phase, the research is focussing on the complete value chain, from electrical energy through to physical energy carriers and products. In the process the project is also drawing on existing large-scale projects and available infrastructures and expanding the interfaces to industry. In addition to the funding from the BMBF, the industrial partners in P2X are contributing research services to the value of another €8.3 million. The RWTH Aachen and the Jülich research centre are already collaborating intensively in this research area within the JARA Energy section of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA). They are coordinating the project jointly with DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V. (Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology).
Contribution to the energy system
The project provides the conditions for the industrial-scale storage of over 90% of renewable energies in physical carriers which will be available for the future, even if this isn’t needed immediately. In this way the project is creating processes for producing chemical feedstocks, gaseous energy carriers and fuels using this electricity from renewable sources. In addition to reducing the load on the supply network, this will make available sustainable processes for manufacturing physical resources that will replace a large proportion of the fossil raw materials. By using CO2 from exhaust gases as raw material, and electricity from renewable sources, these physical resources are completely climate-neutral
RWTH Aachen, ITMC - Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry (ITMC), Professorship for Technical Chemistry and Petrolchemistry, Contact person: Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Fundamental Electrochemistry (IEK-9), Contact person: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger-A. Eichel