E-fuels project awarded €3.3m to develop high-temperature electrolysers

Co-ordinated by VTT and Neste Veturi Ecosystem, a €3.3m research project will boost the synthesis concept of e-fuels and the commercial readiness of high-temperature electrolysers.

The two-year E-fuel research project aims to increase the efficiency of hydrogen production through high-temperature electrolysis using a solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) with carbon dioxide sequestration and Fischer-Tropsch fuel synthesis, aiming at a breakthrough for Finnish technology on the growing world market for e-fuels.

VTT Research Professor Juha Lehtonen, said: “The E-fuel project is a continuation of VTT’s persevering work in developing together with our partners clean transportation fuel solutions and technologies for the utilisation of carbon dioxide and electricity in the production of chemical products such as fuels and chemicals.”

The E-fuel project aims at an efficiency improvement by 10-15% compared to the efficiency of current technologies in the production of e-fuels by utilising innovative high-temperature electrolysis technology and the developed heat integration of electrolysis, carbon dioxide sequestration and fuel synthesis. The potential for high-temperature electrolysis in the production of e-fuels is also improved by the possibility to produce a mixed gas of hydrogen and carbon monoxide required in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis by feeding carbon dioxide and water vapour directly into an electrolyser operating at a temperature of about 700°C.

Outi Ervasti, Vice President, Renewable Hydrogen and PtX at Neste, said: “The E-fuel project is the first collaboration project linked with Neste’s Veturi research programme. In this programme, Neste is developing new, globally scalable solutions to reduce the use of crude oil in the production of transport fuels and chemicals, and thereby to mitigate climate change. Commercialising these technologies requires long-term research, as well as the creation of new value chains together with partners.”

VTT’s E-fuel is a research project funded jointly by Business Finland, VTT, and the participating company partners, with the goal of establishing readiness for a production scale level of the technology, after the project is finished. The public project is part of the Green E2 ecosystem, funded by Business Finland and administered by Clic Innovation, and is a continuation of  VTT’s power-to-X research, which also includes the BECCU project, launched in 2020. The E-fuel project is also linked to the Green Electrification 2035-Veturi programme initiated by ABB.

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