With the main concern being to minimise CO2 emissions, we are participating in the innovative program of the European Union CO22 MeOH “Innovative intensified processes of capture and conversion of CO2 to methanol”. This is a research project that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the transition to the era of circular economy, strengthening the competitiveness of the Greek industry and long-term economic development of Greece. It is worth noting that through the development of technology to separate and convert CO2, it is estimated that the emissions of CO2 in Greece could be reduced by at least 13 million tons per year.
More specifically, the project team consists of three research teams, two of which come from IDEP / CERTH and one from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and two companies, HERACLES Group and the SimTec Company. The areas of expertise of the five partners are complementary with the aim of transferring know-how from academia to industry and vice versa.
Regarding to the capture of CO2, the project team has undertaken to simultaneously investigate two technologies: the technology of carbonation by removal of CO2 in the presence of a solid sorbent and the technology of separation of CO2 with membranes.
The first is more technologically mature with the main disadvantage being the high cost for materials with high absorption capacity and stability. We aim to develop materials that will meet the above characteristics and will be based on low cost natural minerals after appropriate modification.
The membrane technology has been investigated less, but has the potential to be particularly attractive, since it achieves almost 100 selectivity in CO2 separation in continuous and uninterrupted operation. Within the project we aim to develop materials with high ionic, electronic conductivity and suitable porosity so that they can be used as matrices for the manufacturing of composite membranes of high permeability and mechanical strength.
At the stage of CO2 conversion, the innovative process of sorbent enhanced hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol in the presence of a solid sorbent for the continuous removal of water will be investigated, which removes basic thermodynamic constraints of the process and allows high conversions and efficiency to be achieved under realistic operating conditions.
The achievement of the project objectives will in the long term contribute to improving the competitiveness of Greek industry. Upon successful completion of the project Greece shall become a pioneer in the production of cement with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and shall also positively contribute both to the environment, the economy and employment.