Energy Efficiency / Electricity / Environmental Health & Safety

AkzoNobel, Partners Study Renewable Energy Opportunities In Sweden

By Chemical Processing Staff

Mar 28, 2018

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals is partnering with three groups in Sweden to explore the opportunities for producing green hydrogen and “electrofuels” using renewable electricity. The partners are RISE Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), forestry group Södra and packaging materials company BillerudKorsnäs. The study is also supported by the Swedish Energy Agency.

Converting excess renewable electricity into green hydrogen or electrofuels (synthetic fuels based on electricity, water and CO2) offers the potential to balance the fluctuations in supply and demand of electricity from renewable sources including wind and solar power. AkzoNobel is a major user of electricity in Sweden, and will contribute its expertise in electrochemistry to the partnership.

"Sweden aims to have a 100% renewable electricity production in 2040, mainly to be achieved by expanding solar and wind-generated power production. More wind and solar energy brings a growing societal and industrial need to manage fluctations in electricity supply and demand,” says Anna-Karin Jannasch, focus area manager, industrial transformation at RISE. “At the same time the large-scale availability of cost-competitive renewable power opens opportunities.”

The electrofuels concept is based on the process of electrolysis of water, which produces hydrogen and oxygen. This can be further combined with CO2 to produce methanol, for example, which is a key feedstock for the manufacturing of chemicals and can also be further processed into synthetic fuels. In this way, the process serves as a carbon “sink” by effectively recycling CO2 emissions.

Earlier this year AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals and Dutch gas network operator Gasunie joined forces to investigate the possible large-scale conversion of sustainable electricity into green hydrogen via the electrolysis of water. Building on the company's expertise in electrolysis and handling of hydrogen, the partners plan to use a 20 megawatt water electrolysis unit, reportedly the largest in Europe, targeting a production capacity of 3,000 tons of green hydrogen a year - enough to fuel 300 hydrogen buses, according to the company.

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