On 1 January 2021, a research project was launched that deals with the climate-neutral production of middle distillate components (mainly kerosene, diesel and heating oil). The project is funded by the BMWi under the title "Flexible conversion of CO2 and RE-H2 to middle distillate components by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis in microreactors using novel Fe catalysts (MikroFe)" and runs for 2.5 years.
The concept provides for the supply of CO and CO2 by biomass and, within the framework of a carbon cycle, from combustion exhaust gases or air. The hydrogen is obtained by water electrolysis, which is operated with "regenerative" electricity. Since the carbon sources are of different origins and the electrical power is generated flexibly, the concept is primarily intended to pursue decentralised small-scale plants. In contrast to the state of the art, the degree of innovation consists in the development of load-flexible microreaction apparatuses and novel iron catalysts. The aim is to develop plants with capacities of 8 to 800 bpd which, after distillative treatment, supply drop-in-capable middle distillate. The development of Fe catalysts is necessary because the known cobalt catalysts are not stable towards CO2 and iron allows flexible feed compositions due to its water gas shift activity. For the given objective, there is thus a need for development at catalyst, reactor and process level.