Energy Process Engineering

Ongoing projects

Completed projects

 

CaCTUS

AUSTRIA’S CLIMATE NEUTRALITY: AN IN-DEPTH EVALUATION OF THE POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTION OF CCU AND CCS FOR THE AUSTRIAN LONG-TERM CLIMATE GOALS

Project outline

Duration :

August 2022 - January 2025

Project partner:

 

Cactuspic

 

Within the project CaCTUS a comprehensive analysis of available and feasible CCU and CCS technologies for the Austrian boundary conditions will be performed. The Austrian climate targets specified in the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) will be used as a basline for the implementation of such technologies, but also their potential for the long-term strategy of a climate-neutral Austria is evaluated. Furthermore, a sound scientific basis will be created for a corresponding legal framework and policy, supporting a successful implementation of technologies that contribute to climate protection.

 

CaCTUS fully implements the overarching objectives of ACRP research:

· to support climate policy in Austria on local, regional, national and international scales, especially as it is relevant to climate adaption and mitigation, their conflicts and synergies

· to support and strengthen the Austrian climate research community

· to fill knowledge gaps and develop scientific methods and tools

 

Along with these overarching objectives, the following targets are fully integrated in the scope of the CaCTUS project:

· Identification and quantification of technical potentials for CCU/CCS in Austria in accordance with the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP)

· Identification of source-specific climate impacts and sink-specific net reduction potentials of CCU/CCS

· Techno-economic assessment of the identified carbon routes and their contribution towards climate neutrality

· Evaluation of present barriers and regulatory shortcomings hindering early implementations and highest impact

· Formulation of specific guidelines and recommendations to support climate-beneficial CCU/CCS activities in Austria

 

Further information: https://project-cactus.at/

Funding: ACRP – 14th Call

Contact Person:
Philipp Wolf-Zöllner

ZEUS

ZERO EMISSIONS THROUGH SECTOR COUPLING

Project outline

Duration :

October 2023 - October 2027

Project partner:

 

The flagship project ZEUS demonstrates green hydrogen production and a closed carbon cycle with renewable gases and liquid hydrocarbons in an industrial environment. Well-known partners from the energy sector, industry and research will advance the implementation of the European climate goals and the national hydrogen strategy in the period from 2023 to 2027. K1-MET GmbH is the consortium leader.

The large-scale production of hydrogen from renewable energy is the basis for directly avoiding climate-damaging CO2 emissions in the long term. In addition to the expansion of renewable energy production, the aim is to increase the interconnection of the energy sector and the energy-intensive industry, also known as sector coupling. Power generation from renewable energy generates massive energy surpluses in the summer, which are needed in the winter due to the greatly reduced availability and the increased demand. With the help of sector coupling, the surpluses can be converted into storable products such as green hydrogen or renewable hydrocarbons (e. g. synthetic natural gas) to stabilise the energy system. In addition, there are industrial processes with unavoidable CO2 emissions, because CO2 is formed by the raw materials and not by the used fossil fuel. Thus, the chemical conversion of CO2 and hydrogen into valuable, storable products is another important aspect of sector coupling and should contribute to achieving climate neutrality.

The flagship project ZEUS focuses on the electricity sector and the steel and cement sectors, which are difficult to decarbonise. The aim is to develop and demonstrate cross-sectoral climate-neutral process chains – from the production and preparation of green hydrogen under fluctuating process conditions, to the capture of CO2 from industrial waste gases and the conversion into valuable, storable hydrocarbons. Various pilot plants and processes are investigated in industrial environment (6 MW PEM electrolysis, CO2 capture, catalytic methanation, CO2 electrolysis) to demonstrate interconnected, holistic process chains. The ZEUS flagship project aims to speed up the transfer of climate-friendly technologies into practice through its demonstration character. Another goal is to sustainably anchor sector coupling in Austria.

This project is funded by the Klima- und Energiefonds and is carried out within the framework of the “Energieforschungsprogramm 2022”.

Name of the institution: FFG

Project number: FO999903855

Contact Person:
Philipp Wolf-Zöllner

Hy2Market

HYDROGEN TO ENTER MARKETS REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS FOOTPRINT

Hy2Market

Hydrogen is a promising energy carrier that will help to transfer our energy system to a sustainable one. However, this means that several barriers along the value chain need to be identified and addressed before hydrogen becomes widely available and ready for use. Hy2Market brings together regions across Europe working on various innovations to promote the production, transport, and use of green hydrogen. From this perspective, the project aims to realize a more mature hydrogen value chain across Europe. With an interregional approach, knowledge on how to build a robust and innovative hydrogen value chain will be expanded and implemented through targeted investments in green hydrogen production, with a particular focus on management systems, hydrogen transport in existing and new infrastructures, and green hydrogen offtake by industrial partners and in mobility. Hy2Market is based on European pioneer regions, such as the Northern Netherlands, Upper Austria, and Rhone-Alpes, joining emerging hydrogen regions from the Iberian Peninsula, such as Aragon and Medió Tejo, Sicily (Italy), Western Macedonia (Greece) and Constanta (Romania), with each region addressing at least one focal point.

Hy2Market Countries

 

To ensure knowledge transfer between the different parts of the value chain and between all SMEs and regions, a knowledge exchange platform will be initiated. The results of this project will be disseminated throughout the European Union. Additionally, the Hy2Market project also aims to identify and overcome barriers in the areas of production, transport, and use in industry and mobility.

10 countries, 38 participants, investigate and develop a more mature hydrogen value chain across Europe on all market levels. The ultimate desire is to make Europe a resource-efficient and competitive green hydrogen economy. Hy2Market will step forward by creating interregional and international value chains by connecting regions in order to work on different innovations to boost the production, transport, and use of green hydrogen.

This project is funded by the European Union (European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, Grant Agreement no. 101083592).

Project duration: 01.02.2023 bis 31.12.2025

Further information to the project is available via https://hy2market.eu/

Contact Person:
Philipp Wolf-Zöllner

Methane pyrolysis

Hydrogen is an important energy source and reducing agent for chemical and metallurgical processes, as it contributes to the decarbonisation of various industry sectors, e.g. steelmaking, but also to mobility or production of synthetic hydrocarbons. Although no CO2 is emitted due to the utilisation of hydrogen, production processes with low CO2-emissions are necessary. The methane pyrolysis would be such a process. It refers to the generation of hydrogen from methane or rather natural gas, whereby methane is decomposed into hydrogen and solid carbon. Different process designs are possible for this purpose. Such routes have already been investigated in an exploratory project at Montanuniversitaet Leoben in cooperation with several chairs and industrial partners. Besides a comparably low energy requirement, also solid carbon being the by-product is a positive aspect of the methane pyrolysis. Carbon offers a wide range of possible applications, which are also being investigated within the research activities.

In the course of a program for hydrogen production at Montanuniversitaet Leoben, several chairs will cooperate to further advance the process development of methane pyrolysis. As a part of this collaboration also a joint pilot plant will be built, where the most promising process routes can be tested on a larger scale. For example, a liquid metal bubble column reactor and a plasma reactor will be set up. The chair of process technology and environmental protection takes on the product gas treatment for the pilot plant, which includes the removal of solid carbon as well as the separation of hydrogen and unreacted methane. In addition to these experimental investigations, modelling and simulation of the pyrolysis process are conducted. Specifically, CFD-simulations of a reactive bubbly flow in liquid metal are carried out in the research group energy process engineering.

 

Homepage Methanpyrolyse

 

Contact Person:
Hanna Weiss

BioHeat

In the project BioHeat the conversion of biomass (residues) such as waste wood or sewage sludge into high-temperature process heat is being investigated.

The BioHeat process consists of a dual-step biomass gasification producing syngas, which can subsequently be either directly combusted or transformed to SNG. SNG production necessitates finer gas cleaning steps to avoid catalyst deactivation. However, the advantage of SNG production is long-term energy storage and distribution within the existing natural gas grid. These to variants of syngas utilization will be thoroughly tested and compared within the project also in terms of its socio-economic impacts. A further focus point concerns the nutrient recovery from bed ashes of the gasification process to reduce disposal mass.

Catalytic methanation of syngas at VTIU Leoben:

The tasks of the project BioHeat will be jointly conducted by the Technical University Vienna, BEST Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies GmbH, Wien Energie GmbH, Energy and Chemical Engineering GmbH, der Jagiellonian University Krakow and the polish plant construction company Danex. The transnational research project is funded via the ERA-NET initiative (Networking the European Research Area) in cooperation with FFG (Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft). The main focus of VTIU lies on the investigation of catalytic methanation in fixed-bed reactors of the gasification product gas. PhD student Andreas Krammer will manage the project for VTIU. After the successful completion of HydroMetha this is his second project with the focus on catalytic methanation including experimental and modelling approaches.

Bio Heatproject

 

Contact Person:
Andreas Krammer

Carbonation

Natural carbonation, also known as silicate weathering, describes a process in which atmospheric CO2 reacts with alkali and alkaline earth metals to form a carbonate. This process, which occurs in nature, takes place over a geological timescale and therefore has extremely slow reaction kinetics. The present research project deals with the acceleration of the carbonation process. Under optimized pressure and temperature conditions, the CO2 absorption capacity of minerals containing metal oxides is investigated. In this process, the metal oxides (MO), predominantly magnesium or calcium oxide, are brought into contact with carbon dioxide as shown in reaction equation (1) to produce a carbonate (MCO3). Carbonation represents an exothermic reaction, which is why additional heat is released during the formation of the carbonate.

MO + CO2 → MCO3 + Heat    (1)

Together with our project partner RHI Magnesita, the Montan University of Leoben is researching the carbonation potential of various minerals and secondary raw materials using direct aqueous carbonation. In this process, a carbonation reaction is enabled with the addition of water and the CO2 uptake is accelerated by adjusting various parameters such as temperature, CO2 partial pressure, particle size or even the use of additives. The laboratory set-up used is a batch process in which solid material and water are added to the reactor. The reactor is then sealed, heated, and a pure CO2 gas stream is injected after the desired temperature is reached. A carbonation reaction then takes place under these elevated pressure and temperature conditions. The finished product is removed and analyzed after completion of the experiment.

Karbonatisierung

 

Contact Person:
Florian Schinnerl

K1-MET 2.3 Carbonation

Continuing from previous carbonation projects, the K1-MET project 2.3 focuses on increasing the carbonate yield obtained via direct aqueous carbonation using continuous grinding. During the carbonation reaction a product layer forms on the particle shell, reducing the reactive surface and inhibiting further reaction of the alkaline minerals within the particle core with the CO2 dissolved in water. Combining the carbonation reaction with a grinding process in one apparatus ensures the continuous removal of the carbonate layer from the particle surface, promising higher reaction yields. This project is supported by the Chair of Mineral Processing at the University of Leoben, which already owns a suitable reaction mill.

In addition to natural minerals, various industrial mineral residues are suitable feedstock für carbonation. Due to the collaboration with project partners from steel, cement and refractory industry the project focuses on by-products from these sectors. Carbonation is particularly promising for those industries, as they generate both alkaline solid residues and CO2-containing flue gas. This potentially allows a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by repurposing waste streams.

The main objective of this project is the design, construction and operation of a pressure mill in pilot scale, combining the carbonation reaction and continuous grinding. The Chair’s research focuses on the evaluation of suitable feed materials and the optimisation of process parameters through laboratory experiments. These findings provide the basis for the design of an appropriate reaction mill and the development of an effective and efficient process for CO2 storage.

K1Met23

Project duration: 01.08.2023 bis 30.06.2027

Project partners: K1-MET GmbH, RHI Magnesita GmbH, Cemtec Cement and Mining Technology GmbH, voestalpine Stahl GmbH, w&p Zement GmbH, Leube Zement GmbH, Lehrstuhl für Aufbereitung und Veredelung Montanuniversität Leoben

Contact Person:
Sarah Reiter

K1-MET 2.4 Methanation

ENERGY EFFICIENT CARBON CAPTURE AND UTILISATION PROCESS

Within project 2.4 of SusMet4Planet, a closed carbon cycle with carbon capture and utilization technology is demonstrated in industrial environment, as well as sector coupling of energy intensive producing industries (refractory, steel, and chemical industry). The project will reduce CO2 emissions by developing and applying innovative catalytic (methanation) and bioelectrochemical (hydrocarbons) CO2 conversion technologies. Within a steel mill, refractory or chemical industry, synthetic methane can either serve as energy carrier or as reactant. Thus, a closed carbon cycle can reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the demand of fossil feedstocks such as coal or natural gas.

Project duration: 01.02.2023 bis 31.12.2025

Project partners: K1-MET GmbH, Andritz AG, Borealis Agrolinz Melamine GmbH, Christof Industries Austria GmbH, Ceram Austria GmbH, RHI Magnesita GmbH, voestalpine Stahl GmbH, voestalpine Stahl Donawitz GmbH

Contact Person:
Philipp Wolf-Zöllner

C2PAT - Carbon to Product Austria

Motivation:

The achievement of the strict national and international climate targets for the years 2030 and 2040 form the motivation for the implementation of the project “Carbon to Product Austria (C2PAT)”. Companies with high carbon dioxide footprints need to avoid their emissions by modifying their current process procedures and adapting their energy sources or reducing them through innovative and new technologies. In the C2PAT project, companies from different industrial sectors, namely Lafarge Zementwerke GmbH, Verbund AG, OMV AG and Borealis AG, are working together to contribute to tackling the climate crisis.

Exhaust gases from cement plants contain high concentration of carbon dioxide. The production of cement relies naturally on an endothermal reaction and requires high-temperature heat of around 1,450°C for clinker formation in the rotary kiln. One third of emitted carbon dioxide stems from the provision of heat from fuels such as pieces of tires or plastic, while the remainder is released during the burning of the cement clinker from the fed limestone mixture.

C2 Pat

 

Project implementation:

In the project “C2PAT” these unavoidable, process-related carbon dioxide emissions should be used as feedstock for renewable plastics production. At the Lafarge site in Mannersdorf am Leithagebirge (Lower Austria), CO2 will be captured from the waste gas of the cement plant by an amine scrubbing unit, and further processed in a newly erected power-to-liquid pilot (PtL) plant. Green hydrogen will be produced on site with the help of an electrolyzer, which is powered on the one hand by electricity from a newly constructed PV park near the cement plant and on the other hand will be fed with renewable power from the grid. Syncrude will be produced in a reverse water gas shift reactor with downstream Fischer Tropsch synthesis. The further treatment of the syncrude into various forms of plastic (polymers) will be done in co-processing at the nearby refinery. In addition to using carbon dioxide as feedstock, this project is also an example for a circular economy approach and sectoral cooperation among companies operating in different industrial sectors. The material flow from fired plastics through a carbon capture plant with synthesis and processing to renewable plastics in existing steam crackers is unique.

The annual capacity of the PtL pilot plant is designed for 10,000 tons CO2 obtained from the exhaust gas of the cement plant Mannersdorf am Leithagebirge. The pilot plant will be used to further develop critical parts of the value chain as well as process equipment, and prove a stable, long-term operation. The pilot plant is a preliminary project to analyze and support the interconnection between the cement plant and the energy supplier handling green power and the operation of the electrolyzer, as well as the chemical conversion to plastics. Furthermore, the cooperation of a large, cross-sectoral industry consortium is implemented in practice. This project shall provide the basis for the breakthrough to erect a scaled-up, industrial sized plant which captures the entire CO2 of Mannersdorf’s cement plant of about 700,000 tons annually.

The project was successfully finished in 2023.

Additional information: C2PAT

Contact Person:
Christoph Markowitsch

Renewable Gasfield

Project outline

Duration :

December 2018 - May 2023

Project partner:

 

Bild1

 

The project deals with an integrated strategy for the local utilization and long-term storage of renewable electricity from fluctuating sources (photovoltaic, wind). The renewable power is converted in energy carriers like hydrogen and methane in order to enable a demand based, local utilization as well as an injection into the natural gas grid (Power-to-Gas).

Based on the national climate strategy of Austria, 100 % of electric power generation should be provided by renewable sources until 2030. Beside wind power and photovoltaic plants, also biomass, hydro power as well as geothermal power plants are used.

In the area of south Styria, renewable electricity generated by a 1 MWp photovoltaic plant is used for the operation of a PEM electrolyzer. An already existing biogas plant is currently operated with part load. The produced green hydrogen will be used for converting the CO2 in the biogas (about 45 Vol.% of the total biogas) by catalytic methanation into methane without a prior separation of the CO2. The produced synthetic methane is injected into the existing local natural gas grid. Thus, the sectors industry, mobility and domestic are supplied by green energy according to their local requirments.

The project was successfully finished in 2023.

Contact Person:
Katrin Salbrechter

HydroMetha

Project outline

Duration :

January 2018 - December 2021

Project partner:

 

Bild15

 

Development of a stationary electricity storage system via high temperature co-electrolysis and catalytic methanation

Conventional Power-to-Gas systems (storage of renewable electricity in CO2 neutral gases) are based on water electrolysis and optionally subsequent methanation. A novel, totally integrated system of CO2 and H2O high temperature Co-electrolysis (CO-SOEC) and catalytic methanation is developed in the flag ship project HYDROMETHA. The combination of these processes as well as the optimization of the components and the operating parameters enable a significant increase of the conversion efficiency of up to 80 %el. By system simplifications, enhanced life time and the optimization of the total process chain, substantial cost reductions are anticipated resulting in an increased market potential. Furthermore, operative strategies are developed based in real life requirements in the energy market, including part load, stand-by and load follow operations. The core system of the CO-SOEC with coupled methanation will be erected as 10 kWel functional unit, and tested in long-term experiments. Fife industrial partners are linked to the consortium as advisors enabling a market oriented development already in an early stage of research.

The project was successfully finished in 2023.

Contact Person:
Andreas Krammer

i3upgrade – intelligent, integrated, industries

Project outline

Duration :

June 2018 - May 2022

Projektverwaltung:

European Commission

Funding:

Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) (Grant Agreement Nr. 800659)

Project partner:

 

Bild22

 

i3upgrade aims to valorize carbon containing steel gases by means of hydrogen intensified synthesis and innovative process control systems. A special focus is paid to the catalytic methanation of process gases which are generated under dynamic and transient conditions in an integrated steel mill. By utilization of green hydrogen synthetic methane is synthesized which covers the internal demand on natural gas of the steel mill, and thus the CO2 emissions are reduced.

In the frame of the European Union funded project, the research group investigates the effects of continuously changing process parameters (i.e. pressure, Gas composition, volume flow, available hydrogen) on the methanation reaction and the used catalyst. Beside others, a nickel coated honeycomb catalyst on cordierite basis is manufactured, and characterized in the laboratory methanation plant under dynamic operating conditions. The performance is compared with commercially available conventional bulk catalysts.

The project was successfully finished by May 2022.

Further information: www.i3upgrade.eu

Contact Person:
Philipp Wolf-Zöllner

Innovation Liquid Energy

In the project „Innovation Flüssige Energie“ (IFE) a system for the highly efficient generation of CO2-neutral synthetic fuels is being designed and subsystems are being developed. A Solid Oxide Co-Electrolysis (Co-SOEC) is combined with an efficient CO2 extraction and a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process. The plant produces synthetic diesel, naphtha, and waxes from water and carbon dioxide. The SOEC is operated as co-electrolysis which generates H2 and CO in one process step. Together with the thermal coupling of the Co-SOEC and the FT process, a significantly higher degree of efficiency can be achieved compared to alkaline and PEM low-temperature electrolysis and downstream FT processes.

The system is designed for a maximum electrical input power of 1 MW, which enables the production of about 500,000 litres of synthetic fuel per year. The research focus for VTiU is on the assessment and selection of an appropriate CO2 extraction method as well as on the establishment of a process concept for upgrading the Fischer-Tropsch products.

The project was successfully finished in 2023.

Further information: iwo-austria.at/innovation-fluessige-energie

 

Ife

 

Contact Person:
Philipp Wolf-Zöllner

Renewable Steel Gases

Project outline

Duration :

March 2017- February 2020 (finished)

Project partner:

 

Bild31

 

Implementation of renewable energy in steel production for the enhancement of energy efficiency and for the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Energy rich CO-, CO2- and H2- containing gases are generated in different processes of an integrated steel mill. According to the state-of-the-art these gases are used as energy carriers only. In the frame of this project, complete process chains for the utilization of these steel gases are developed and experimentally investigated. Hydrogen is sourced by either water electrolysis or gasification of biomass in a dual fluidized bed. The steel gases are subsequently catalytically converted to methane. Special focus is given to a synergetic integration (i.e O2 utilization) of the power-to-gas plant and the biomass gasification into the steel mill process.

Main targets are a significant reduction of the CO2 emissions, the enhancement of the energy efficiency of the production and the chemical storage of excess renewable electricity which can be utilized inside and outside of the integrated steel mill.

The project was successfully finished in 2021.

Contact Person:
Philipp Wolf-Zöllner

 

Tri-Reforming

The urgent need for reducing CO2 from anthropogenic sources creates the necessity of developing new systems and/or readjusting current ones. The intention of this project is the inclusion of waste gas streams from energy intensive sources (typical from the petrochemical, steel or refractory industry) being rich in CO2 into reforming processes in order to produce syngas. Due to the complexity of the processes, plenty emission points are available as CO2 input for the reforming. The largest CO2 emission sources in the steel industry are the blast furnace (BF) accounting for 65% of the overall emissions, the coke plant and the sinter plant with 27% and 6% respectively. In the case of petroleum refineries, furnaces and boilers are responsible of 65% of the emissions, whereas for the catalytic cracker or gasifier the emissions account for 16%.For the refractory industry, 70% of the CO2 emitted is bounded to the treatment of the raw materials and less than 20% come from the thermal energy required in the process.

In the “Tri-Reforming” project, CO2 is catalytically converted to synthesis gas by addition of methane and steam resulting in varying CO/H2 ratios. The CO2 is not captured from the exhaust gases but the exhaust gas is directly reformed. In the catalytic reactor, steam reforming, dry reforming and partial oxidation are taking place simultaneously. By adding steam and methane, the inert gas share is significantly diluted in the product gas. For the experimental investigation of the reforming process, a new laboratory plant will be erected and operated.

The project was successfully finished in 2023.

Bild41

 
 

 

ReOil

In the European Union, 25 Million tons of plastic waste is generated annually, whereby about 40 % are ephemeral packaging waste. In order to reduce fossil resources and to enable the required recycling rates, the ReOil process is an attractive option for feedstock recycling of plastic waste by pyrolysis. In the process also contaminated and mixed plastic waste fractions can be exploited for which a classical mechanical recycling is not possible. Polymer waste is heated up to temperatures above 400°C in inert atmosphere resulting in thermal cracking of the polymer chains. The derived product has properties of a synthetic crude oil which can be further processed in existing refinery infrastructure to petrochemical products, feedstock for polyolefin and fuels.

We work on the further development, the optimization and the scale-up of this process as co-operation partner of industry. Main focus is given to the potential feedstock and its preprocessing, the influencing parameters for operation and on the product spectrum, and particularly the reaction mechanisms as well as the kinetic of the thermal crack process. Beside experimental work on laboratory and pilot plants, model building and simulation are applied.

Further information:

Schubert, T., Lechleitner, A., Lehner, M., & Hofer, W. (2019). 4-Lump kinetic model of the co-pyrolysis of LDPE and a heavy petroleum fraction. Fuel, 116597. doi: 10.1016/j.fuel.2019.116597

Schubert, T., Lehner, M., Karner, T., Hofer, W., & Lechleitner, A. (2019). Influence of reaction pressure on co-pyrolysis of LDPE and a heavy petroleum fraction. Fuel Processing Technology, 193, 247-211. doi: 10.1016/j.fuproc.2019.05.016

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