e-CODUCT Horizon Europe Project: Fast-response Electrically heated catalytic reactor technology for CO₂ reduction

e-CODUCT project partners at the kick-off meeting, Belgium 20-21/09/2022

30. March 2023 – Nine partners from five European countries (Belgium, Slovenia, the Netherlands, France and Germany) implement the e-CODUCT project, which addresses the environmental challenge of reducing greenhouse gases caused by heating or industry. This 36-month EU-funded project aims to develop a breakthrough technology that enables the simultaneous reduction of carbon dioxide (CO₂) and hydrogen sulphide (H₂S) to produce marketable green end products in the form of fuels and useful chemicals (carbon monoxide (CO) and sulphur (S)).

Nowadays, large amounts of CO₂ are released into the atmosphere by heating and industry. While about 2 Gt/year are sequestered naturally, technical sequestration, i.e., CO₂ capture and storage in underground reservoirs, is limited. Furthermore, only small amounts of CO₂ are valorised by industry, and there is neither a complete value chain nor technologies to ensure circularity, reduce GHG emissions and valorise significant amounts of CO₂. Today, refineries and the petrochemical industry are responsible for 1.24 pty of CO₂ emissions (taxed at €62/tonne). At the same time, this sector handles more than 3.6 million tonnes of H₂S per year. The latter, in combination with CO₂, is called acid gas and is obtained not only in refining but also in exploration and production (as a component of natural gas reservoirs), biogas treatment (as a natural component of the gas mixture from a digester), etc. The existing approach to acid gas treatment relies on the “Claus process” to recover sulphur from gas streams rich in H₂S and requires the additional use of fuel gas for lean H₂S sources (< 55%), while thermocatalytic or electrocatalytic CO₂ reduction, as well as sequestration, require a high purity of CO₂, which demands proper separation from the acid gas.

Figure 1: e-CODUCT process for conversion of acid gas (CO₂ and H₂S) into valorised CO and S

None of the existing technologies allows for the simultaneous reduction of CO₂ and H₂S. The main challenges in CO₂ conversion today are the composition of streams containing other acid gases (e.g., sulphur) and the economic and environmental performance of the reactors. e-CODUCT will address these challenges by electrifying the simultaneous chemical conversion of acid gas components (CO₂ and H₂S) into the platform molecule CO and marketable S. e-CODUCT will provide a new technology for two-step acid gas valorisation via i) conversion of CO₂ and H₂S to COS in a fixed bed reactor and ii) COS conversion to CO and S using an electrothermal fluidised bed reactor (ETFB), see Figure 1.

Building on successful projects and an interdisciplinary approach, e-CODUCT is on the way to developing a pilot plant with an electrothermal catalytic reactor powered by renewable energy sources to produce industrially valuable CO and S from CO₂ and H₂S. Overall, with this bridging solution that treats CO₂ and H₂S simultaneously, e-CODUCT will initiate the shift from fossil-fuel heated to electrically heated processes for the treatment of acid gases in several sectors, contributing to a better environmental performance of European industry and refinery operations and thus to the implementation of the European Green Deal commitments.

As the project was launched in September 2022, a 6-month GA meeting was organized in France in March 2023 to make a first evaluation. Work is already well underway. The technical tasks have started with the optimization of the reaction to convert CO₂ into COS and focus on catalyst engineering and optimizing for the reaction between CO₂ and H₂S. The corresponding work package is led by SG CREE with partners CNRS-LCS and UGent. The reactor was commissioned at CNRS-LCS and the first technical exchange on reaction, batch and continuous flow reactor was established. Also, in the work package on the conversion of COS to CO using an electrothermal fluidised bed (led by CONOT), the first steps were taken with a proposal of the reactor design. The Melanin Chemical Plant in Slovenia was selected to install the pilot line.

For more information about the project, visit e-CODUCT website https://e-coduct.eu/ or one of the social media profiles (LinkedIn @ecoduct and Twitter @eCODUCT2022), where all information about future project activities will be published. The e-CODUCT project is coordinated by Ghent University and funded under Horizon Europe Grant Agreement n°101058100.

Project coordinator at GHENT UNIVERSITY: Prof. Joris Thybaut – eb.tnegu@tuabyhT.siroJ

Project partner contacts:

TOTALENERGIES ONE TECH BELGIUM: Dr. Gleb Veryasov – moc.seigrenelatot@vosayrev.belg

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHEMISTRY, Slovenia: is.ik@razokil.zalb

PDC RESEARCH FOUNDATION: Juraj Hrstka: moc.retnec-ngised-ssecorp@aktsrh  

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS: Valentin Valtchev rf.neacisne@vehctlav.nitnelav

SAINT-GOBAIN CENTRE DE RECHERCHES ET D’ETUDES EUROPEEN: Dr. Helene Retot moc.niabog-tnias@toteR.eneleH


BENKEI: Fabienne Brutin rf.iekneb@enneibaf