Power-to-X

The use of a combined electrolysis and chemical synthesis process based on CO2 from the air to create renewable biofuel that is carbon emission neutral.

Electricity + water → H2 → synthesis of CO2 → fuel chemical components.

The carbon in CO2 can be used for higher energy-containing products, such as the synthesis of methane.

Researchers at the Rapperswil University IET Institute for Energy Technology, are running national and international projects to improve catalytic synthesis techniques. These either use cold water, or a cycle with heat management through a steam generator to high-temperature electrolysis to methanisation of CO2.

Technologies involved: SOEC Solid Oxide Electrolyser Cell, alcaline

electrolysis and catalytic methanisation.

See also European Union: Programme Horizon 2020, Project Pentagon.

New energy technologies

The solutions governments individually and collectively propose for the energy crisis vary widely, but they are all united in the hope for a techno-fix to magic-wand away the environmental, economic, social and political problems beleaguering them all.

There are two main reasons why a great deal of research and investment is being made into finding alternative sources of energy:

1. The environmental cumulative cost of the exponential growth in energy demand has long been unsustainable.

2. Cost and security of supply: western governments have long profited from the monopolisation of energy suppliers, but wildly fluctuating prices for all commodities and international conflicts and tensions have led to an international marketplace with no certain future.

Given the scale and ever-increasing seriousness of both these problems, the need to diversify the energy mix, and to transition in a controlled way to a sustainable energy paradigm, has become a primary goal of many governments. In addition to their own domestic needs, developed nations have also become aware of the need to encourage and enable emerging and developing countries to choose a development path that forecloses traditional, dirty energy options as much as possible.

The search for alternatives falls into two categories: 1. mobility, or fuel for vehicles; 2. electricity generation.

Alkanes

Alcohols

Alkenes