Synthetic fuels are one possible solution for the environmentally-friendly operation of combustion power plants and engines or industrial facilities. Moreover, they are also work well as an energy store, to compensate for wind and solar energy fluctuations. Compared to fossil fuels, synthetic fuels are, however, relatively expensive, which is why they are not produced in larger quantities.
Co-electrolysis is a new process for producing synthetic fuels and chemicals from CO2 and water in just one step. In the PROMETHEUS project, scientists from research center Forschungszentrum Jülich are currently collaborating with WZR ceramic solutions , based in Rheinbach (North Rhine-Westphalia), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Hellenic Petroleum to develop a membrane reactor for co-electrolysis that is manufactured efficiently and cost-effectively using 3D printing. The ceramic membrane is wafer-thin (10 to 50 µm), permeable for hydrogen and oxygen ions, and has catalyst layers on its surfaces that promote the flow of the desired conversion reactions. The project aims to develop an effective concept for a low-cost membrane reactor that can be used to produce methane (CH4), methanol (CH3OH), and synthesis gas (CO+H2).