Demand-driven production of liquid fuels from regenerative energy sources is a major element of the energy turnaround. Production of synthetic fuels from solar energy
and carbon dioxide
extracted from air is the objective of the Soletair
project started now by Ineratec, a spinoff of the Germany-based Karlsruhe Institute
of Technology (KIT), in cooperation with Finnish partners. Together, the partners plan to take into operation the first chemical pilot plant worldwide. It is so compact that it fits into a ship container and produces gasoline, diesel, and kerosene from regenerative hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
The plant consists of three components. The direct air capture unit developed by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT) extracts carbon dioxide
from air. An electrolysis unit developed by Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) produces the required hydrogen by means of solar power. A microstructured, chemical reactor is the key component of the plant and converts the hydrogen produced from solar power together with carbon dioxide
into liquid fuels. This reactor was developed by KIT. The compact plant was developed to maturity and is now being commercialised by Ineratec.
“Projects, such as Soletair, are essential for the success of the energy turnaround. Commissioning of this pilot plant is an example of successful transfer of KIT’s research innovations to industry,” Prof Thomas Hirth, vice president for innovation and international affairs of KIT.
GmbH is a spinoff of KIT
and develops, constructs, and sells compact chemical plants for various gas-to-liquid and power-to-liquid applications. The spinoff is supported under the EXIST research transfer program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
The new power-to-liquid plant will be taken into operation at the Bioruukki Piloting Center of VTT
this year. In 2017, operation is planned to be continued on the campus of LUT. The Soletair
project will be completed in mid-2018. It is funded with EUR 1 million by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes).