Siemens, at this moment, is part of a team investigating on the myriad of approaches on how to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful chemical raw materials. In this research, they are taking into account the possibilities of removing the gas permanently from the environment. Such a process of fossil fuel combustion can reduce the effects of CO2 on global warming. For this moderately non-reactive CO2 conversion, renewable resources will be the source of energy used.
CO2RRECT is a project that is headed by Siemens, together with their partners: Bayer, RWE, and other institutes and universities. The project is also being supported by Germany’s Federal Research Ministry, for three years or more. They have alloted a budget of 11 million Euros. One important element of this program is the electrolyzer provided by Corporate Technology, Siemens central research department, which will be responsible for the industrial-scale hydrogen generation.
Most industries are now shifting their focus on renewable resources, which have become apparent on the enormous investments being made on solar and wind power. However, the output of these resources is quite inconsistent, since they are heavily dependent on weather conditions. One of the main objectives of the industry is to find an alternate use of the excesses from the renewable resources.
When a renewable resource, like a wind farm, does not have any consumers to provide energy for, it is only reasonable to detach the wind farms from the grid. The initial procedure is to apply this power to separate the basic chemical elements of water, which would break down into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolyzer prototype which Siemens has assembled would be responsible for this process. The goal is to generate a 100-kilowatt unit per container. As part of the implementation, this electrolyzer will be attached to the power grid and will only generate power when there is an available surplus or extremely low-cost power in the system.
Hydrogen generated in this manner when added to the carbon dioxide will react. The process continues as it is converted into fundamental by-products like formic acid or carbon monoxide. These chemical products can then be utilized in the manufacturing of usable plastics or even fuels. RWE brown-coal fired power station, located in Niederaußem, provides the carbon dioxide used in this project, through the process of flue gas scrubbing. In addition, the team of Siemens is looking into the likelihood of maximizing the potency of hydrogen on an industrial magnitude. Their objective is to utilize the turbines to revert the hydrogen once again into its original form: power.
The Siemens team, with their Russian colleagues, is presently investigating combustion techniques that would create little to zero nitrogen oxide. Since hydrogen, when burned, generate significantly higher temperature compared to natural gas, the equipment should be able to handle particular conditions required for this process.