Electricity as a Resource

Fraunhofer lighthouse project

© shutterstock.de / Collage: Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Combining energy system and chemical production

In 2019, almost 43 percent of German electricity was made from renewable energy sources. Tendencies rising. This low-carbon energy creates new paths for the linkage of energy system and chemical production – centralized under the key word Power-to-X. What could new electrochemical processes that synthesize basic chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, ethene, alcohols and acids with regenerative generated power look like? This question is answered by the Fraunhofer lighthouse project Electricity as a Resource, which was finished 2019. Its goal: to produce chemical products long-term more sustainable.

Processes and services for products with a green footprint

For this purpose, nine Fraunhofer-Institutes with lead management by Fraunhofer UMSICHT have combined their competences and technical infrastructures. Results of this cooperation are expertise, products, process technologies and services for the process industry and energy economy. From demonstration systems for electrochemical production of the chemicals over optimized catalyzers and electrode systems to tools for modeling, market analysis and sustainability assessment.

Digital competence-center clusters expertise for sector coupling

Electrochemistry meets Process technology: Under this motto Fraunhofer is offering clustered research results and expertise for companies and institutions that are active in the area of sector coupling, through the digital competence-centrum eSource®. As a platform for research, development and education, it combines R&D-services of all Fraunhofer Institutes, and delivers product development and process optimization simultaneously.

More information at: https://esource.fraunhofer.de/.


Electricity to create
hydrogen peroxide

Producing H2O2 on demand is an advantage for many users. The new process enables decentralized production, which can be operated with 100 percent green electricity.

Electricity to create ethene

Ethene is one of the most important basic chemicals in the petrochemical industry. The process demonstrates the production of ethene from CO2 and water in just one step.

Electricity to create
alcohols and acids

Short-chain alcohols are basic substances in the chemical industry. The new process converts CO2 and water into short-chain alcohols using a single-step high-pressure electrolysis process.

Electricity to create long-chain alcohols

Long-chain alcohols are valuable raw materials, e.g. in plastics production. A coupled process involving high-temperature electrolysis and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is used to extract CO2 and water.

Innovative helpers

Membranes, electrodes, and sophisticated analytics are important tools for electrochemical cells and processes. New membranes and characterization methods are now available for electrochemically controlled production.

From molecule to process

A digital tool was designed to support the individual processes. The interactive tool for multidimensional data sets visualizes and controls electrochemical processes according to the energy market.

From process to system

The concept of "electricity as a Resource" was evaluated according to sustainability aspects. The results of the coupling of electrochemical production processes with the energy system were evaluated in stakeholder dialogues with industry.