A new demo plant makes use of carbon dioxide in the air to produce renewable fuels.
The Soletair demo plant was developed by VTT Technical Research of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology. The projects aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of the CO2-to-Renewable Fuel process and to produce around 200 liters of fuels and hydrocarbons for use in research. The entire process from solar power generation all the way to the production of hydrocarbons takes place at the same demo plant.
The demo plants consists of four separate facilities: a solar power plant, the equipment station for removing carbon dioxide and water from the air, an area where electrolysis is used to produce hydrogen, and synthesis equipment used to produce substitutes for crude-oil from the CO2 and hydrogen.
Pilot plants like this one are often used for small-scale, distributed production. The production capacity of the facility can be increased by adding more units.
“The concept we are exploring is an example of how the chemical industry could be electrified in the future. The burning of fossil fuels must end by 2050, but people will continue to need some hydrocarbons,” says LUT Professor Jero Ahola.
Principal Scientist for the project, Pekka Simell of VTT, says the end result of the project “will be multi-sectoral industrial integration. Finnish industry’s expertise in this area is being reinforced by collaboration.”
LUT and VTT plant to start testing the Soletair demo plant this coming summer. After the pilot phase of the project, synthesis units will be adapted for use in a variety of EU projects in the coming years. Information that is gathered through the project will be of great utility for the commercialization of the technology as a whole. The circular carbon economy and surplus electricity will create new business and environmental opportunities.