Future solutions

The future is innovative

Today’s solutions are not enough. We know, we can achieve a whole new speed – and actually, we have to. That’s why we are committed to innovation: constantly evolving, always looking for solutions that solve tomorrow’s problems. In doing so, we involve partners, other industries and allies who pursue the same goal as we do: Energy transition and a carbon free industry. At the same time, we strive to constantly improve the heart of our company – our chlor-alkali technology – to further strengthen our base. Deep dive into our research and development:

Carbon2Chem

The starting position. 

How can off-gases from steelmaking be turned into valuable precursors for fuels, plastics or fertilizers? How can we make 20 million metric tons of Germany’s steel industry’s annual CO2 emissions economically viable?

In addition to CO2, the process gases from the fully integrated steel mill also contain carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4) and large quantities of nitrogen (N2), and thus the same components as synthesis gases used in the chemical industry. These are unfortunately most commonly produced from fossil resources like natural gas and crude oil. Even though steel mill off-gases and especially coke oven gas contain a lot of hydrogen, additional hydrogen is needed for synthesis of valuable chemicals.

What we do.

Our pilot plant in Duisburg is probably the only one of its kind in the world where the individual processes are practically combined and tested under industrial conditions in practical operation with real steel mill off-gases. Now for the first time, Carbon2Chem® is using these gases from the steelmaking process as a raw material for chemical production.

Moreover, to ensure that the production of the additional hydrogen required does not create a new source of CO2, it must be green: that is, produced via electrolysis from renewable energy sources and without a CO2 footprint.*

For this very purpose, an alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) plant from thyssenkrupp nucera with a capacity of 2 MW has been set up at an early stage in the pilot plant. This can run both at permanent full load as well as with rapidly changing load profiles based on the electricity market for high-quality primary control power, thus simulating the volatile availability of renewable energies, for example from wind or solar power.

What we aim for. 

The partner consortium from industry and science is working together on processes for gas purification and the production of ammonia and methanol and higher alcohols. In the second funding phase, the technical processes will now be further validated, expanded towards other industries and scaled up for industrialization from 2025.

 

Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the thyssenkrupp nucera AWE technology has a very good performance at both permanent full load as well as being able to follow the renewable energy profile. This finding is also systemic for the energy transition and thus of great importance beyond the actual project: Sustainable production of hydrogen via electrolysis with renewable energies is possible. The hydrogen can be produced and stored when sufficient renewable energies are available. In times of energy shortage, storage facilities can be used, making thyssenkrupp nucera’s water electrolysis an ideal upstream fit for classic industrial scale chemical processes.

 

*No green electricity is contracted in the Carbon2Chem Project 

H2Giga

The starting position.

How high will the demand for green hydrogen in Germany be in the future? It will amount to several million tons of hydrogen. That’s why we are involved in the hydrogen lead project H2Giga. The hydrogen lead projects are the largest research initiative to date on the topic of energy transition and supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

What we do.

The H2Giga project “INSTALL AWE” focuses on the industrialization of AWE, which is today the furthest developed market-ready technology and used above all for large-scale industrial applications. The modular and standardized 20 MW module from thyssenkrupp nucera is also advantageous in terms of economic aspects and climate protection. This conserves resources and reduces the operating costs. Essential for this ramp-up to series production is the core relationship with the Joint Venture partner Industrie De Nora, a globally renowned specialist in electrochemistry and high-quality supplier for cell manufacturing and coatings. In the H2Giga innovation pool with institutions, universities and small specialized companies offering scientific and technical skills with respect to the subject of series production, investigations of broader research and development topics are being carried out which are also intended to further drive forward our own development. We will be receiving almost 8.5 million euros in subsidies for the research and development of the large-scale production of alkaline water electrolysis.

What we aim for. 

We are driving forward the industrialization of alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) through automated series production. The aim on the one hand is to take advantage of scaling effects and thereby be able to reduce the manufacturing costs. On the other hand, an expansion of the existing supply chain of 1 GW to 5 GW of electrolysis cells enables larger project volumes to be implemented, so that several gigawatt projects can be implemented at the same time each year. 

Test facility

Gersthofen

The starting position.

How can we ensure a continuous improvement of our bipolar membrane (BM) chlor-alkali and hydrochloric acid technologies? By trying out, testing and optimizing our technologies. In this way, we secure the control loop between suppliers and end customers and can even replicate specific customer problems to find customized solutions.

What we do. 

thyssenkrupp nucera operates two test facilities each for NaCl and HCl-ODC electrolysis in production scale at the CABB site in Gersthofen. Additionally, two smaller test facilities, each for NaCl-ODC and also NaCl electrolysis in full-scale height are operated. With these facilities, we are able to develop and lift optimization potential for our electrolysis technologies, for example with regard to specific electrical power consumption. In addition to the qualification of membranes, coatings and alternative materials, designs and different operation conditions are investigated. All application cases tested in Gersthofen can be transferred without any limitation to industrial scale and thus directly to the customers’ plants.

What we aim for. 

It is our goal to optimize our technologies with regard to the highest possible availability, long service life and long-term low specific electrical power consumption. We are already a global leader in chlorine technologies. But only by being close to our customers and guaranteeing them continuous improvement of our technologies we can realize our vision of being the number one in chlorine technologies.

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