Team FAST is part of a consortium working on sustainable formic acid/hydrozine production under the project name of Power-2-FA: Direct electochemical conversion of CO2 to formic acid. The consortium is a partnership between Voltachem, Coval Energy, Mestverwerking Friesland, CE Delft, TU Delft and Team FAST. The aim of this project is to develop a continuous electrochemical process where CO2 is converted to formic acid using electricity predominately obtained from renewable intermittent energy sources (wind or solar), contributing to electrification of the industry and increasing flexibility of the energy system.
CO2 Neutral Proces
Up until now formic acid is almost exclusively produced on the basis of fossil fuels. Previously it was demonstrated on a laboratory scale that is possible to produce formic acid with the aid of CO2 and electricity: direct electrochemical conversion of CO2. In this process water is converted into hydrogen and oxygen with the aid of electricity. Next, the hydrogen is directly used to convert the CO2 with the aid of electricity into formic acid.
This new project takes the next step towards the development of an industrial process. By the end of 2017 an electrochemical reactor will be delivered that can continuously produce formic acid on a small scale using fluctuating amounts of renewable energy (solar and wind). By 2018, on the basis of these results, the consortium wants to demonstrate that this process can also be deployed on an industrial scale.
The entire chain, from CO2 as a resource to applications, and from fundamental to applied research is covered by this unique project. The aim of the consortium is to use the knowledge that will be obtained by this project broader for the purpose of industrial electrification to lower the emissions of greenhouse gases in the future and at the same time contribute to a sustainable energy system.
Life Cycle Analysis
The first result of the project is a Life Cycle Screening Analysis done by CE Delft. The rapport concludes that the greenhouse gasses of formic acid are 0 kg CO2. This is if formic acid is produced with renewable power en CO2 as byproduct of biomethane. This is validation that formic acid is completely sustainble and is a carbon neutral fuel. The entire rapport by CE Delft can be downloaded below.
So how does it work? Watch this animation on the FA production project