Energy System Analysis
A sustainable society needs an energy use that is adapted energy production. As a key consumer, the chemical industry must adapt to use increasing amounts of renewable electricity. To assess the potential for doing so, we evaluate industrial processes from a technical, economic, and environmental perspective, using, among others, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and LCA related tools.
Ammonia is the second most produced chemical worldwide and the basis of all nitrogen-based fertilizers. It has also been proposed as an energy carrier alternative to hydrogen. Ammonia produced using renewable resources is more expensive than the conventional one, but it compares favorably to hydrogen and other energy storage technologies such as lithium ion batteries. Novel production paths include the combination of Haber-Bosch synthesis and water electrolysis as well as solid state ammonia synthesis.
A second target process is wastewater treatment. For many municipalities around the world, Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRF) are their largest energy consumers. Most of a WRRF’s energy bill comes from the aeration required to remove organic pollution and nutrients.
A number of WRRF already produce a fraction of the energy they use through the anaerobic digestion (AD) of the sludge. Also, the location of WRRF tents to offer room for expansion, which could be used for the installation of small solar or wind parks. A combination of AD and fluctuating energy production in situ could result in a net electricity generating WRRF. Excesses could be sold to the net, or stored using conventional technologies such as batteries. An alternative could be the use of excess electricity for water electrolysis. Clean water from the facility could further treated and fed to a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyser. There, water is split into hydrogen and oxygen. Both elements would act as storage for periods with low electricity production. Hydrogen could be used to generate electricity through a fuel, while oxygen would be used directly in the wastewater treatment.
- Helmholtz Institute Ulm for Electrochemical Energy Storage (HIU)
- PSL Research University, Chimie ParisTech (CNRS) France
- Flamme, B.; Rodriguez Garcia, G.; Weil, M.; Haddad, M.; Phansavath, P.; Ratovelomanana-Vidal, V.; Chagnes, A.
Guidelines to design organic electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries: environmental impact, physicochemical and electrochemical properties
Green Chemistry 19 (2017), 1828–1849
- Gschwind, F.; Euchner, H.; Rodriguez-Garcia, G.
Chloride Ion Battery Review: theoretical calculations, state of the art, safety, toxicity and an outlook towards future developments
European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry (2017)