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CO2 and H20 co-electrolysis

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Technology Description

Synthetic liquid hydrocarbons can be produced by co-electrolysis of CO2 with water and then Fischer Tropsch synthesis. Syngas, i.e. a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, is produced directly by high-temperature co-electrolysis, without the RWGS reaction. The co-electrolysis uses heat released during the exothermic Fischer Tropsch synthesis to achieve higher efficiencies. During the Fischer Tropsch synthesis a wide range of hydrocarbons can be produced: light olefins, e.g. C2-C4 alkenes; C5+ products, e.g. gasoline, kerosene and diesel; and other value-added chemicals, e.g. aromatics and isoparaffins. The hydrocarbons synthesised will depend on the conditions as well as the structure and composition of the catalysts. Iron-, cobalt- and ruthenium-based supported catalysts are mostly used, with appropriate promoters.

Relevance for Net Zero

In sectors that are difficult to electrify, especially long-distance shipping and aviation, the use of synthetic fuels will be one of the few alternatives to decarbonise them, given the limited availability of sustainable biofuels.

Key Countries

Germany, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, United States

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