The macro scale

Process and System Integration, Societal Embedding

A global assessment of the transition from classical petrochemical processes to the e-refinery concept is needed. Can we determine the pros and cons well in advance? How can the e-refinery concept be optimally integrated into the energy grid? 

Facilitating knowledge transfer efficiency gains.

Towards a successful integration of e-refinery systems in the incumbent (energy) system, we aim for in-depth understanding of the complex interactions across multiple scales (from molecules to products), and for actively guiding technology development across the macro, meso and microscales.

Maximising synergies

To anticipate the introduction of e-refinery systems, we aim to make a timely assessment of the relevant system constrains, including the use of current assets, matchmaking of supply and demand, evaluation of the environmental impacts, logistics and feedstock availability.  

Preparing for technology uptake

How can we create the optimal conditions for e-refinery systems to be implemented? We aim to develop new business models supporting the uptake of the technologies and to assess incentives supporting their deployment. We also aim to develop institutional frameworks and governance tools to achieve effective large-scale diffusion.


Example: Closing the CO2 loop using formic acid

Six partners including TU Delft work together in the Shared Innovation Programme VoltaChem to convert CO2 into large amounts of formic acid with the aid of sustainably produced electricity. Formic acid can be used as conserving agent in livestock feed, platform chemical and intermediate for fuel production. While currently almost exclusively produced on the basis of fossil fuels, it can also be made through direct electrochemical conversion of CO2 at the cathode. The consortium develops an electrochemical reactor that continuously produces formic acid on a small scale using fluctuating amounts of renewable energy (solar and wind). The VoltaChem approach promises lower production costs and less CO2 emissions, contributing to establishing a sustainable energy system of the future.