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A milestone in ‘power-to-liquids’

By Gerald Ondrey |

Last month, the first compact plant to produce synthetic fuels from solar energy and CO2 extracted from air was commissioned in Finland, as part of the Soletair project, which is coordinated by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT: Espoo; www.vttresearch.com). The so-called power-to-liquid plant will be taken into operation at the Bioruuukki Piloting Center of VTT this year, with operation planned to be continued on the campus of the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT; www.lut.fi) in 2017. The Soletair project will be completed in mid-2018. It is funded with €1 million by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and a number of industrial companies. The plant consists of three components. A direct air-capture unit, developed by VTT, extracts CO2 from air; an electrolysis unit, developed by LUT, produces the required H 2 by means a solar-powered water-electrolysis system; a microstructured chemical reactor, developed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT; www.kit.edu), converts the H2 and CO2 into liquid fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene, via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. The compact plant was developed to maturity and is now being commercialized by Ineratec GmbH (Karlsruhe,…
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