Other processes also use CO2 to produce synthetic fuels. However, these are significantly more expensive than CAPHENIA’s technology and, moreover, currently emit significantly more CO2 during production.
What is the CAPHENIA process?
In short, an innovative technology for producing synthesis gas from biogas, carbon dioxide, water, and electricity. This synthesis gas is an intermediate from which we will subsequently produce fuels and other chemical products, too. What is special about the CAPHENIA process is that everything takes place in a single ‘zone reactor’, in which chemical reactions can be controlled in a highly targeted way. In conventional processes, many reactors would be required for the process of turning the synthesis gas into CO2. Production in the CAPHENIA zone reactor is simpler, faster, and cheaper. This enables us to produce our synthetic fuel quickly and in large quantities.
What are the individual steps of this process?
The key technology of the CAPHENIA process is the plasma process. First of all, methane (CH4) is cracked in a plasma zone. This is done using a high-temperature plasma, which, at around 2,000°C, breaks down the methane into an aerosol of carbon and hydrogen.
This aerosol is then mixed with preheated carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide originates from a biogas plant, for example, and is a waste product from the gas production process. These emissions, which are normally released into the atmosphere, are now transferred to the CAPHENIA process. In this way, we kill two birds with one stone.
In what’s known as the Boudouard zone, the carbon dioxide, together with hot carbon, is then converted to carbon monoxide. This conversion process is based on the well-established Boudouard reaction, which takes place at temperatures of around 1,000°C. This step exploits the high thermal energy of the gas from the plasma zone and converts it to chemical energy. It is an extremely important part of the process and contributes to its high level of efficiency.
In what’s known as the heterogeneous water-gas shift zone, water is also introduced in addition to CO2. This water likewise reacts to form carbon monoxide and hydrogen. This allows us to produce our synthesis gas with a high degree of flexibility.
In the fourth and final step, we synthesize our fuels. These fuels give off fewer emissions, because they have a much higher degree of purity than fossil fuels. This means that the amount of sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emitted during combustion is lower. And synthetic fuels deliver yet another positive benefit: Their calorific value and therefore their consumption levels are lower.