Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

The Next Generation of Carbon for the Process Industry

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CarbonNext (The Next Generation of Carbon for the Process Industry)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2018-08-31

The process industries and other crude oil consuming sectors are heavily dependent on fossil inputs for both carbon feedstock and energy, with the consequential CO2 emission problems and import dependency as a result. To be prepared for a future with significantly reduced emissions they are seeking alternative carbon sources to replace traditional fossil fuels. The objective of the CarbonNext project is to evaluate the potential use of CO2/CO and non-conventional fossil natural resources as feedstock for the process industry in Europe. The work will examine the existing and expected sources of CO2 and CO as well as non-conventional fossil natural resources such as shale gas, tar sands, coal bed methane, gas to liquid, and coal to liquid technologies. Results of the project will include the identification of value chains within processes and where industrial symbiosis can be valuable (chemistry, cement, steel, etc.). The CarbonNext project will inform, as a basis for decision-making, Europe’s SME’s, large industry and policymakers with an enhanced understanding of the impact and opportunities for new sources of carbon for the processing industry. CarbonNext will primarily focus on new sources of carbon as a feedstock and secondarily the impact on energy availability, price and emissions.
The CarbonNext consortium brings together three of the leading organisations in the field of carbon dioxide/carbon monoxide utilisation. The knowledge base that each member brings is as a leader in the field and is therefore exemplary. CarbonNext will build on the project team achievements in the FP7 project SCOT (Smart CO2 Transformations), the BMBF funded coordination project CO2Net, the CO2Chem network and many climate and energy related projects in Europe and for the European Commission.
The first result of the work carried out in project is a reliable database on industrial CO2 and CO sources in Europe. The data can be used to generate interactive maps where specific framework conditions can be chosen, such as a certain area, CO2 emissions dedicated to a specific industry sector, etc., in order to be able to perform targeted analysis.

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) is a Europe-wide register that provides key environmental data from industrial facilities in European Union Member States and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland. The register contains data reported annually by more than 30,000 industrial facilities covering 65 economic activities across Europe.
The current E-PRTR (2014) lists facilities with CO2 emissions above 0.1 Mt per year; total emissions of CO2 in Europe from these facilities amounted to 1,779 Mt in 2014. There are many facilities with emissions below 0.1 Mt per annum, but it is unlikely that capturing the emissions from these facilities for use in the process industry will be economically viable. The E-PRTR database shows that there is a wide range of CO2 sources across Europe producing more than sufficient CO2 emissions to meet the demand that could be utilised as a feedstock for the chemical industry. The major inhibiting factor in CO2 capture from point sources is the energy required for the capture and separation processes. The energy needed will both affect the cost and environmental implications of the process. Therefore, targeting the most pure streams of CO2 will keep energy requirements to a minimum, as smaller volumes of emitted gas will need to be processed to result in the same volume of purified CO2 when compared with a more dilute source. Primary targets for sourcing CO2 should focus on those sources with the highest concentration of CO2, (Hydrogen production, natural gas processing, ethylene oxide manufacture and ammonia production) as the higher concentration of CO2 reduces the cost of capture. However, larger volumes of CO2 are available from the iron and steel industry and cement industries, albeit at lower CO2 concentration. As industries look to decarbonise (particularly the iron and steel and cement sectors) there is an observed market pull to deploy CO2 utilisation technologies to provide an economically beneficial method of reducing CO2 emissions. As next-generation carbon capture technologies reach the market, other sources of CO2 may become increasingly economically viable.

Furthermore, within the first period of the project the project partners jointly developed a template in form of a excel table that will be used for the collection of all relevant information needed to identify the most promising pathways and products for carbon dioxide utilisation and the use of carbon monoxide. Sources of data describing the size of the market for the potential products to be made from CO2 and CO have been identified, both in terms of tonnages of product used within Europe and their economic value. The quantity of CO2 or CO utilised by synthesising these chemicals has been calculated, together with the amounts of H2 required during the synthesis. Strategies for assessing the environmental impact of the various different processes and routes to producing various chemicals have been devised.
The detailed mapping of all potential non-conventional carbon sources and the potential impact with respect to carbon dioxide utilisation options on industry in Europe can provide a huge impact for decision makers from industry and policy. The summarization of technology paths which are most suitable for use of new carbon sources such as CO2 or CO and the selection of the most promising routes will open the discussion for further analysis in the industry. As the consortium partners are already engaged with industry in the specific field of CO2 utilisation, the results of the project can be easily spread amongst potential industries with the willingness to actually use CO2 as a feedstock. Especially the results of the analysis on industrial symbiosis where the synergies between emitting and CO2/CO consuming sectors are shown will foster new cooperation. Furthermore, this information will be most relevant for the developments for SMEs, as it should enable them to focus their attention in order to play a role to make CO2 utilisation and industrial symbiosis a success. This would lead to achievements in economic growth as well on sustainability.
CarbonNext Logo