How sugar vegetation can fly airplanes


When electrolysis is right here, can co-electrolysis be far behind? Fairly quickly, sugar factories in India may very well be using co-electrolysis to supply sustainable aviation gas (SAF). The federal government of India has been apprised of this risk and is reported to be heat to it.

Now, what’s co-electrolysis? Electrolysis, as we all know, is the science of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen utilizing electrical energy. In co-electrolysis, you carry carbon dioxide into the equation and produce ‘syn fuel’, which is nothing however a combination of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Syngas (or syn crude) is a primary constructing block for an assortment of carbon-based chemical substances — together with aviation gas.

Nevertheless, co-electrolysis, which wants warmth, is feasible solely with strong oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) know-how and never others comparable to polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis.

Co-electrolysis, like electrolysis, is an age-old know-how, which is now stepping out of textbooks and marching into trade.

A Pune-based firm, H2e Energy System, has been attempting to advertise SAF manufacturing by means of co-electrolysis. If its plans work out, just a few sugar vegetation in Maharashtra, or an organisation just like the Vasantdada Sugar Institute, Pune, might put up vegetation to supply SAF, for which there’s a rising demand.

H2e Energy has been producing strong oxide gas cells (SOFC) for practically a decade, a know-how it developed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany and holds the patents. An SOEC, which produces hydrogen from electrical energy, is the inverse of an SOFC, which produces electrical energy from hydrogen.

India has about 3.3 GW of co-generation vegetation and the Ministry of New and Renewable Vitality estimates the co-gen potential in India’s 550-odd sugar mills at about 14 GW.

H2e Energy’s Founder-President and CEO, Siddharth Mayur, instructed Quantum that it makes enterprise sense for sugar vegetation to supply SAF. As he defined, dozens of sugar vegetation as we speak produce energy (and steam) from burning bagasse. These co-generation vegetation get ₹6-8 per kWhr below energy buy agreements, most of that are nearing expiry, making such excessive tariffs unviable sooner or later. Sugar vegetation can use the electrical energy in SOECs for co-electrolysis to supply syngas. Making SAF from syngas is not any huge deal — the Fischer-Tropsch course of for making varied hydrocarbons from syngas dates again to the Nineteen Twenties, and, by the way, was used extensively by Germany throughout World Struggle II to supply fuels.

Slicing out carbon dioxide

One notable function of the idea is that the carbon dioxide produced by burning bagasse needn’t enter the ambiance — it may be used for co-electrolysis.

“Co-electrolysis of water and carbon dioxide to supply hydrogen and carbon monoxide is likely one of the most promising methods to transform electrical energy right into a syngas,” says a background paper for a European Fee’s experimental co-electrolysis mission. “Water plus carbon dioxide co-electrolysis constitutes the nook level of power-to-chemicals and power-to-fuel methods, for inexperienced chemical substances, carbon dioxide restoration and electrical energy storage at giant scale,” the 2016 paper says.

As soon as the syngas is generated, it may very well be used to supply many issues, comparable to methane. Even hydrogen may very well be produced by reacting the carbon monoxide in syngas with water, in what is called ‘shift response’. Nevertheless, H2e Energy advocates utilizing syngas to supply SAF due to the massive demand from the aviation trade and India’s want to chop imports. Mayur estimates that, globally, the business aviation trade drinks up yearly 100 billion gallons of gas; if solely 10 per cent of it got here from sustainable sources, it will imply an enormous demand of 10 billion gallons of SAF.

Mayur says SAF produced by means of this route will price not more than what airways pay for gas at current; however when manufactured at scale, SAF could be attractively priced.

Mayur just lately tweeted that he, together with Prakash Naiknavare, Managing Director of the Nationwide Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories Ltd, met Union Energy Ministe RK Singh and apprised him of the knowledge in producing SAF by means of co-electrolysis in sugar vegetation.

Naiknavare instructed Quantum that producing SAF could be a successful transfer for the sugar trade, as a result of electrical energy costs from co-generation vegetation are falling unsustainably low. “When you don’t do that, you might have to shut down the co-gen vegetation,” he mentioned.

It’s learnt that 4-5 pilot vegetation would come up quickly. As soon as the vegetation are confirmed to achieve success, “sky is the restrict”, Naiknavare mentioned.

Revealed on

February 13, 2022

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