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CO2 reduction


Technology Description

Synthetic liquid hydrocarbons can be produced by Fischer Tropsch synthesis of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The catalytic process integrates the reduction of CO2 from CCUS processes to CO via the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction and the hydrogenation of CO to hydrocarbons via Fischer Tropsch synthesis. The catalyst must be active for both the RWGS reaction and the Fischer Tropsch synthesis under the same conditions. The main obstacles for this route are the thermal stability of CO2 and the need for the process to be efficient for both reactions; both stages can also be performed sequentially, but costs are usually larger. 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, Netherlands

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