One week before Easter holidays, and after months of diligent preparations, the Sustainable Plastics Symposium was successfully organised by CO2EXIDE and its H2020 partner project Carbon4PUR on March 25, 2021!
Over 200 attendees from all over the world had the chance to gain insight into the newest technological advances fostering a circular production model utilising CO2 and CO from industrial sources as raw materials for the production of platform chemicals, buildings blocks and polymers for the plastics industry. The central findings and achievements of both H2020 projects were the main topic of the day. The presentations were framed by keynote contributions from industry and policy representatives as well as a lively panel discussion.
You can see the programme of the event here.
CO2EXIDE at the Sustainable Plastics Symposium
The CO2EXIDE Highlights Session was opened by Armin Schnettler, EVP Siemens Energy and his strong case for the application of Power-to-X technologies in the chemical industry. He highlighted the central role of electrification and PtX-derived chemical energy carriers in the transition towards a future sustainable chemical industry and other industrial sectors.
Arne Roth, coordinator of CO2EXIDE from Fraunhofer IGB, presented an introduction to the project and showed how CO2 can be converted to renewable ethylene oxide derivatives. Electrocatalysis and electrochemical conversion of CO2 and water represent key technologies of the CO2EXDE production pathway, flanked by gas separation/purification and chemical conversion steps. Importantly, the CO2 used as a raw material in CO2EXIDE is sourced from renewable sources, specifically from a biogas plant. Life cycle assessment shows the potential for a completely carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative production.
Check out Arne Roth’s presentation if you want to learn more about the overall process developed in CO2EXIDE.
With Kerstin Wiesner-Fleischer from Siemens Energy up next, it was time for presenting they key technology of the project. She described in detail the simultaneous electrochemical conversion of CO2 (cathode) and H2O (anode) into ethylene and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), respectively, and emphasized the innovative aspects of CO2EXIDE in this context. These include the design, development and scale-up of the electrochemical cell and reactor unit.
Take a look at Kerstin Wiesner-Fleischer’s presentation if you want to know more about the electrocatalysts and the electrochemical reactor unit developed in CO2EXIDE.
Finally, Johannes Lindorfer from the Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler University Linz presented the results of the techno-economic and environmental impact analysis. He laid out the results of the lifecycle assessment (LCA) of the CO2EXIDE process chain and explained the socioeconomic benefits and potentials offered through this technology.
Gain more insight into the LCA and impact-related studies from Johannes Lindorfer’s presentation here.
The event ended with an engaging panel discussion involving Carmine Marzano (EC Project Officer for Carbon4PUR), Florian Ausfelder (Dechema), Maximilian Fleischer (Siemens Energy), Sophie Wilmet (Cefic) and Walter Leitner (MPI-CEC).
The discussion started with a question about the future of the chemical industry and its potential to transition to more circular production processes, accounting for the specific role of CCU technologies in that regard. The discussion shifted toward a lively debate on the question of how consumers’ behaviour can impact upstream production processes in the chemical industry, and to which degree the labelling of products as sustainable can bolster the chemical industry’s low-carbon production practices.
Next, the panellists touched on the role of economic and regulatory policies to push the chemical industry’s value chains towards more sustainable production processes, especially with regard to developing and applying cutting-edge CCU technologies. Finally, it was discussed how other global actors, most notably China, can stir up the European chemical industry and incentivise a more sustainable and climate-friendly orientation of that sector.
The session ended with a wrap-up by the moderators who briefly summarised the highlights of the CO2EXIDE and Carbon4PUR projects and expressed their hope that the chemical industry will play an active role in the realization of a circular and truly sustainable economy in the future.
About Sustainable Plastics Symposium
The Sustainable Plastics Symposium was moderated by Christoph Gürtler (Covestro) and Alexis Bazzanella (Dechema).
The event opened with an interesting keynote session featuring Søren Bøwadt, the European Commission’s Deputy Head for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Marta Domper from A.SPIRE and Michael Carus, CEO of nova-Institute. They shared their views on the role of EU’s research and innovation framework programmes in fostering innovation for a circular economy, the environmental benefits of transforming Europe’s process industry and the role of the Renewable Carbon Strategy in utilising CO2 for a circular economy. The Symposium also highlighted the achievements of Carbon4PUR, CO2EXIDE’s partner project. Carbon4PUR’s positive contribution to the future of the chemical and process industries was presented, showcasing the production process of sustainable polyol from industrial waste gases in the steel industry.