Sustainable energy in the chemical industry

Monday March 2, 2015 14:14

ECN and TNO have received a two-million euro grant from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to research the application possibilities of sustainable energy in the chemical industry. The research will be concerned primarily with the electrification of the industry, with a view to replacing the use of gas, which is expensive, with electricity, which is more affordable, and thereby improve the competitive position of the industry.

Electrification investigated
The research is currently part of ECN’s ‘Energiebesparing in de industrie’ (‘Energy saving in industry’) programme. The project entails three lines of research: 

converting electricity into heat
converting electricity into hydrogen
converting electricity into chemical products

However, these three lines are just the beginning. Yvonne van Delft, innovation manager at ECN, explains, “The Chemistry ‘Top Sector’ regards this as a long-term programme. We will have the initial results in the next two years. These results will determine whether or not there is a need for a separate line of research. If, during the course of the research, other needs or ideas within the industry emerge, then obviously they will be welcome.” 

More efficient and less expensive
There are currently many ideas for the chemical industry that have been scientifically tested. The costs of implementing these ideas are high, but with some smart improvements the plans could be scaled up, thereby allowing the market to adopt them. Developing new applications is therefore not part of the scope of this research - but increasing efficiency and reducing costs are. 

A golden combination
ECN and TNO are jointly mapping out how electricity is used in the chemical industry. As an energy research centre, ECN has connections with many electricity and network companies, and knows a great deal about using energy efficiently thanks to its many years of experience. TNO has a large network of many SMEs involved in fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and knows all about developing chemical products. Together, we are devising a roadmap, which we will be presenting to stakeholders during the first quarter of 2015. We are also pro-actively looking for chemical companies, suppliers, and knowledge organisations who can join us on this programme. 

Want to join, or need more information? 
You can contribute to this research by sharing your knowledge and experience with us, or by providing financial support. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Yvonne van Delft (ECN) or Martijn de Graaff (TNO). 

Category: Maart, Corporate