Oxymethylene ethers

Carbon2Chem® Teilprojekt 5

Oxymethylene ethers (OMEs) are a new class of oxygenated compounds that could be used in diesel and gasoline fuels to replace the fossil hydrocarbons currently still used in these fuels. OMEs burn clean and can be produced in an environmentally friendly way from carbon dioxide (CO2).


OMEs burn clean and can be produced in an environmentally friendly way from CO2



In the L6 subproject, the partners jointly work on the essential tasks relating to the production of OMEs and their use in fuels. To this end, L6 is divided into the five subprojects U1 to U5. Subprojects U1 to U3 deal with the three steps of OME synthesis. OMEs are to be produced from syngas using the precursors dimethyl ether and formaldehyde. Alternative production routes should also initially be conceptually designed and, if successful, planned experimentally in a follow-up project and developed to industrial maturity. Subproject U4 serves to connect the OME synthesis network to steelmaking in the smelter. Finally, subproject U5 deals with conceptual questions on fuels containing OMEs, such as their material compatibility.


The aim of subproject L6 is to design methods for OME synthesis from metallurgical gases as well as for the use of OMEs as a component in diesel fuels.

Based on mass and energy balances, a treatment concept is drawn up for the quantity of available metallurgical gas in the ThyssenKrupp smelter in Duisburg. The individual synthesis steps for dimethyl ether and formaldehyde, as well as their final synthesis into OME 3 to 5 (3 to 5 units formaldehyde per OME molecule), are developed in theory. This includes proposals for synthesis catalysts and suitable process conditions as well as an estimate of the expected yields. On the basis of these technical data, the economic efficiency of this OME process is then roughly considered.

When testing the use of OMEs, the compatibility of fuels containing OMEs with materials used in automotive engineering is the main priority.