Chemical industry CO2 to be recovered to make new products
- The European SunCoChem project is to develop and provide the chemical industry with a sustainable alternative for producing chemicals using CO2 recovered from the industry itself together with the help of solar energy.
- The innovation involves designing a self-sufficient device for capturing and converting CO2 in a single unit.
- The system will cut costs, lower CO2 emissions and enhance solar energy conversion efficiency for producing chemicals without using fossil fuels.
The European SunCoChem sustainable chemistry project is to develop a reactor to manufacture chemicals using renewable energies drawing on carbon dioxide (CO2) recovered from the chemical industry and solar energy.
The purpose of the project is to develop and provide the chemical industry with a “sustainable alternative to producing chemicals with fossil fuels,” says Dr María Navarro, the SunCoChem project coordinator from the Eurecat technology centre.
SunCoChem’s innovation consists of designing a self-sufficient device for capturing and converting CO2 into green chemicals in a single unit. It will cut costs, lower CO2 emissions and enhance solar energy conversion efficiency for producing chemicals.
The project’s solution will additionally have a significant impact on reducing the European chemical industry’s reliance on carbon-based raw materials.
SunCoChem “seeks to leverage a photoelectrochemical pathway for converting CO2 to produce CO as an intermediate for in-situ chemical carbonylation,” adds Dr Miriam Diaz de los Bernardos, the project’s scientific coordinator and a researcher in Eurecat’s Chemical Technology Unit.
Furthermore, SunCoChem “addresses key challenges that are currently holding back photoelectric organic processes and reaches beyond the state-of-the-art to develop and validate more efficient and scalable energy production,” notes Dr Simelys Hernandez, the project’s technical coordinator from the Politecnico di Torino (Italy).
The reactor built as part of the project will be tested during the development of three value-added chemicals for the European chemical industry for applications in cosmetics and food.
Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, the SunCoChem project consists of a consortium of 14 partners from eight European countries including technology and research centres Eurecat, which is coordinating the project, the Politecnico di Torino, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie GmbH, the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS); small and medium-sized enterprises developing advanced materials and technologies in Solaronix, Avantium, Laurentia and IOLITEC; engineering firm Hysytech; chemical corporations Dow and IFF; and operational support partners: the Spanish Association for Standardisation (UNE) and the International Hellenic University.