This project follows two global targets in the chemical industry: electrification, and a shift towards bio-based feedstocks.
Despite electrochemistry and electrosynthesis being known for decades, application of electrochemical synthesis in industry is so far limited.
However, new developments in electrode materials and membrane technologies provide new opportunities for industrial scale electrochemical processes.
Biorefineries that will convert biomass into marketable products will also take an increasingly important role which needs new process concepts.
Characteristics of the project concept that will ensure the highest possible impact on the competitiveness of the project partners and the rest of the European Union chemicals industry are as follows:
1 Paired electrosynthesis technology
2 Process intensified electrochemical reactor
3 Smartly integrated processes with electrolyte recycle
4 Demonstration in a modular and flexible bench scale pilot installation (PowerPlatform) applicable to multiple cases at an open-access facility.
5 A comprehensive Life Cycle Assesment and technoeconomic analysis including future energy and feedstock price scenarios.
The capabilities of the PowerPlatform will be demonstrated for two routes where biomass feedstocks will be converted to chemical building blocks via two routes.
The first one is paired electrosynthesis of furfural to maleic acid and levulinic acid to valeric acid.
The second route is paired tandem electrosynthesis of glucose to glucaric acid and further to adipic acid.
Both electro-catalytic reactors will be integrated with separation of the reaction products and with recycle of the electrolytes back to the reactor.