Colloquium by Prof. Samir Bensaid (Politecnico di Torino It.)  on "Catalytic CO2 hydrogenation process for Power-to-fuel technologies"

Date         : Monday March 18, 2019
Time         : 14:30-15:30hr
Location   : ZH 286

Abstract: Catalytic CO2 hydrogenation process for Power-to-fuel technologies

Renewable energy sources (RES) are growing rapidly as an alternative to fossil energy sources in order to disjoin the society from fossil carbon.
Wind and photovoltaic power generation is intermittent due to weather conditions or day/night and seasonal periodicity. Therefore, remarkable centrality is given to the storage of the electric excess of production, and Power-to-Fuels systems seem to be one of the most promising technologies to achieve this purpose.
Among the several alternatives, Power-to-Gas (P2F) through catalytic CO2 methanation is one of the fastest growing applications in term of demo plant realizations, due to the flexibility of the obtained fuel, namely methane, easy to store in existing pipeline infrastructure as well as to use in both large power pants and domestic-scale appliances.

At POLITO, this theme has been approached from several perspectives:

  • Catalyst scale: research regarding CO2 methanation catalysts was focused at enhancing the yield to methane at several pressure conditions (from atmospheric to 30 bar of total pressure) as well as the catalyst stability, given the potentially occurring hot spots inside the reactor. Classical Ni/Alumina catalysts, as well as hydrotalcite-derived ones, were investigated to this end.
  • Reactor scale: the temperature profiles inside the reactor were investigated to enlighten the optimal and safest management strategy to carry out the methanation reaction, within different fixed bed geometries (from classical tubular reactors to micro-channel ones).
  • Process scale: the coupling of the methanation reactor with a hydrogen source, namely the electrolyzer exploiting the above-mentioned aleatory RES, depends on the technology of the electrolyzer itself: either alkaline, PEM or SOEC systems can be used, which affects the design of the whole plant. The quality of the produced substitute natural gas (SNG) required to be injected into the natural gas grid also affects the downstream purification process.
  • System integration scale: future scenarios of increasing RES utilization pose the problem about how the system shall be integrated into the electrical grid, according to its needs and constraints: several case studies were investigated, regarding the operation of the system in continuous mode, seasonally, in intermittent mode, and in conjunction with short-term storage through batteries. Such economically-driven factors have been considered to understand how the balance of plant is affected.

Besides methanation, other approaches are emerging for the exploitation of RES and CO2 in the context of power-to-fuels: the need for liquid fuels production is pushing to revisit classical processes like methanol/DME production and Fischer-Tropsch, due to the inherently transient nature of RES-derived hydrogen availability as well as the use of CO2 (instead of CO) as C source. Even more recently, higher alcohols, olefins and aromatics are now the object of investigation to substitute conventional fossil fuels with their renewable homologues.

Supporting literature:

  • Catalytic Performance of gamma-Al2O3-ZrO2-TiO2-CeO2 Composite Oxide Supported Ni-Based Catalysts for CO2Methanation / Abate, Salvatore; Mebrahtu, Chalachew; Giglio, Emanuele; Deorsola, Fabio; Bensaid, Samir; Perathoner, Siglinda; Pirone, Raffaele; Centi, Gabriele. - In: INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH. 55:16(2016), pp. 4451-4460.
  • Synthesis, Characterization, and Activity Pattern of Ni-Al Hydrotalcite Catalysts in CO2 Methanation / Abate, Salvatore; Barbera, Katia; Giglio, Emanuele; Deorsola, Fabio; Bensaid, Samir; Perathoner, Siglinda; Pirone, Raffaele; Centi, Gabriele. - In: INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH. 55:30(2016), pp. 8299-8308.
  • CO2 methanation over Ni/Al hydrotalcite-derived catalyst: Experimental characterization and kinetic study / Marocco, Paolo; Morosanu, Eduard Alexandru; Giglio, Emanuele; Ferrero, Domenico; Mebrahtu, Chalachew; Lanzini, Andrea; Abate, Salvatore; Bensaid, Samir; Perathoner, Siglinda; Santarelli, Massimo; Pirone, Raffaele; Centi, Gabriele. - In: FUEL.  225(2018), pp. 230-242.
  • Power-to-Gas through High Temperature Electrolysis and Carbon Dioxide Methanation: Reactor Design and Process Modeling / Giglio, Emanuele; Deorsola, Fabio ALessandro; Gruber, Manuel; Raphael Harth, Stefan; Morosanu, Eduard Alexandru; Trimis, Dimosthenis; Bensaid, Samir; Pirone, Raffaele. - In: INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH.    57(2018), pp. 4007-4018.
  • Process Modeling of an Innovative Power to LNG Demonstration Plant / Morosanu, Eduard Alexandru; Saldivia, Andrés; Antonini, Massimiliano; Bensaid, Samir. - In: ENERGY & FUELS. 32(2018), pp. 8868-8879.

Techno-economic modelling of a Power-to-Gas system based on SOEC electrolysis and CO2 methanation in a RES-based electric grid / Salomone, Fabio; Giglio, Emanuele; Ferrero, Domenico; Santarelli, Massimo; Pirone, Raffaele; Bensaid, Samir. -In: Chemical engineering Journal. In press (2018).

For more information you can contact:  TNW-CPM

Dorothy J. Wold-Deen