Components and Process Development

The main objective of the subtopic “Components and Process Development” is to identify and demonstrate the technically and economically most feasible catalytic process technologies for conversion of hydrogen from renewable electricity and CO2 to liquid fuels. This will serve as a basis for an assessment of the potential of power-to-fuel conversion versus other options in future energy scenarios. The research includes the building up of research infrastructures “” and “e-XPlore” for testing of power-to-fuel processes that will be made available to a wider research community within follow-up R&D projects.

The main objectives are:

  • Simplification of known power-to-fuel conversion schemes through process integration, exploration of alternative catalytic routes to oxygenates as fuel additives, and experimental investigation of the performance of the promising process configurations under realistic dynamic conditions to provide a reliable basis for process evaluation
  • Demonstration of advanced catalytic microchannel process technologies for power-to-fuel conversion, enabling fast response to load changes, high selectivity and product quality, extensive heat integration and high energy efficiency even on a small scale, high flexibility towards capacity adaptation and favorable economics due to modular design and cost-optimized fabrication technologies


With regard to process chain of FT synthesis, three different routes are explored to activate CO2:

  1.  CO2 by reduction with H2 via the endothermic reverse WGS reaction (RWGS) in an upstream unit,
  2. Co-electrolysis of steam and CO2 at high temperature in a solid oxide electrolytic cell (SOEC),
  3. Fuel synthesis directly from CO2 and H2 in thermodynamically favorable conditions.

IMVT has built-up a bench scale process unit for 200 g/h of product including RWGS and FT synthesis. This unit provides fundamental insights into the overall process efficiency, the components functionality and operational characteristics such as product quality and space-time-yield. It further serves as basis for additional projects on investigating the dynamics in FT synthesis under fluctuating feed (DynSyn). The in-line hydrocracking unit has been established recently in the framework of the project.

Bench scale process unit for RWGS, FT synthesis and hydrocracking


In addition, a small pressurised SOEC unit will be pilot-tested together with fuel synthesis in dynamic operation in the mobile research platform e-XPlore.


P. Piermartini Chem. Eng. J. 2017, Doi: 10.1016/j.cej.2016.12.076

R. Dittmeyer et al., Curr. Opin. Chem. Eng., 2017, DOI: 10.1016/j.coche.2017.08.001

P. Pfeifer, P. Piermartini, A. Wenka, patent WO 2017013003 A1, 2017