HomeRenewablesBiomassNovel approach to problem of excess renewable energy

Novel approach to problem of excess renewable energy

Evonik and Siemens are teaming up with a view to resolving a problem particularly acute in Germany, the issue of excess renewable energy.

The partnership aim to convert excess renewable power into chemical building blocks that would normally require oil, the latest attempt to deal with erratic flows of wind and solar power in the country.

Reuters reports that Siemens will work to electrolyse carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen and carbon monoxide, using electricity generated from green energy.
Renewable energy
Chemicals group Evonik, will run a bioreactor to ferment those gases into industrial alcohols butanol and hexanol for possible use in plastics and dietary supplements.

Companies in similar development ventures include BASF, Clariant and ThyssenKrupp.

BASF, however, has warned that despite its attractions, converting excess electricity into chemicals still faces major cost hurdles and requires bigger government funding before it can go mainstream.

Germany’s gas-to-power plants need to be ramped up and down to accommodate the fickle supply from renewables, which enjoy priority access to the power grid over other sources.

The pilot plant for the new initiative is scheduled to go on stream at an Evonik site in Marl, Germany by 2021.

If successful, the two companies’ Rheticus alliance could follow up with a site producing 20,000 tonnes of basic chemicals a year, about one fifth of the average capacity of a petrochemical plant serving world markets.

Rheticus will for now receive $3.4m in government funding over two years, with the companies contributing roughly the same amount.à‚