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Catalytic transformation of hydrocarbons (RIA)

Development of novel catalytic materials and routes for the valorisation of currently unexploited light hydrocarbons resources, bio- or stranded gas for chemical and energy production. Proposals should cover at least one of the following:

  • Selective direct conversion of light hydrocarbon resources (C1-C4 alkanes) to mono-olefins and/or butadiene, with improved performance (on energy/carbon bases) and competitive costs compared to existing industrial processes;
  • Conversion of non-transportable gas resources to liquid hydrocarbons (not passing through CO/H2 formation);
  • Novel energy-efficient and cost-competitive routes for the direct utilisation of light alkanes in the production of high-value chemicals;
  • Assessment of environmental and safety issues and should involve industries in a leadership role as well as validate the feasibility of the proposed route in industrial relevant environments.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is particularly encouraged in particular with countries from the Broader EU Neighbourhood (e.g. European Neighbourhood Policy countries, Iran and Iraq) among others.

Activities should start at TRL 3 and achieve TRL 5 at the end of the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 5 and 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Advanced chemical energy conversion, storage and transportation will play a key role in enabling the EU to develop a low-carbon economy and provide more flexibility. As such, increasing the exploitation of natural gas, stranded resources and biogas is creating new opportunities for the utilisation of low cost light alkanes. High value can be added through improved catalytic transformations to C2-C4 olefins, C-C coupling and/or C1 chemistry together with significant impact towards the climate action targets agreed in COP21. The integration of catalysts and process design will be instrumental in creating process improvements and flexibility as well as tackle the global climate challenges.

Novel catalysts and routes for the valorisation of currently unexploited light hydrocarbons resources will:

  • Reduce the dependence from the current fossil fuel resources (>30% reduction of current use of fossil fuels for the equivalent production);
  • Improve industrial competiveness by novel processes with improved energy efficiency (OPEX). Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and investment costs (CAPEX) by >20% with respect to current production route;
  • Novel and scalable catalysts and catalytic processes which can handle feedstock variability.

Relevant indicators and metrics, with baseline values, should be clearly stated in the proposal.