Under the leadership of Ruhr University Bochum, Heraeus Precious Metals is conducting research together with the energy supplier RWE and Rubokat GmbH on the implementation of sustainable chemical value chains for the production of ethene. The SynGas2Ethene project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has a duration of three years. A total of approximately 1.6 million euros will be invested in climate-friendly production of ethene.
Ethene is the most widely produced basic chemical and thus an essential building block of the chemical industry. Among other things, it is the starting material for the plastic polyethylene, which is used in films and packaging. Up to now, ethene has been produced almost exclusively from petroleum and other fossil raw materials, combined with high CO2 emissions: for every ton of ethene produced, about 1.12 tons of CO2 are produced.
The SynGas2Ethene research project, in which Heraeus Precious Metals is involved, aims to achieve sustainable production of ethene on an industrial scale, thereby significantly reducing CO2 emissions. To this end, ethene will no longer be produced from petroleum, but directly from synthesis gas. Synthesis gas is a mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and varying amounts of other gases. Only industrial residues or biogenic raw materials such as biomass are used for the production of synthesis gas. If process energy from renewable energies is also provided at a later stage, a carbon-neutral technology path can be realized.