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Optimization of CO2-to-Methanol with Solid-Oxide Electrolyzer

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Optimization of CO2-to-Methanol with Solid-Oxide Electrolyzer ( optimization-co2-to-methanol-with-solid-oxide-electrolyzer )

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energies Article Techno-Economic Optimization of CO2-to-Methanol with Solid-Oxide Electrolyzer Hanfei Zhang 1, Ligang Wang 2,3,*, Jan Van herle 2, François Maréchal 3 and Umberto Desideri 1,* 1 2 3 Lausanne (EPFL), 1950 Sion, Switzerland; francois.marechal@epfl.ch * Correspondence: ligang.wang@epfl.ch (L.W.); umberto.desideri@unipi.it (U.D.); Tel.: +41-21-69-34208 (L.W.); Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Constructions Engineering, University of Pisa, 56122 Pisa, Italy; h.zhang1@studenti.unipi.it Group of Energy Materials, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), 1950 Sion, Switzerland; jan.vanherle@epfl.ch Industrial Process and Energy Systems Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in +39-0502217375 (U.D.) Received: 2 September 2019; Accepted: 30 September 2019; Published: 30 September 2019 􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰅􏰆􏰇 􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌􏰂􏰍 Abstract: Carbon capture and utilization are promising to tackle fossil-fuel depletion and climate change. CO2 hydrogenation can synthesize various chemicals and fuels, such as methanol, formic acid, urea, and methane. CO2-to-methanol integrated with solid-oxide electrolysis (SOE) process can store renewable power in methanol while recycling recovered CO2, thus achieving the dual purposes of storing excess renewable power and reducing lifetime CO2 emissions. This paper focuses on the techno-economic optimization of CO2 hydrogenation to synthesize green methanol integrated with solid-oxide electrolysis process. Process integration, techno-economic evaluation, and multi-objective optimization are carried out for a case study. Results show that there is a trade-off between energy efficiency and methanol production cost. The annual yield of methanol of the studied case is 100 kton with a purity of 99.7%wt with annual CO2 utilization of 150 kton, representing the annual storage capacity of 800 GWh renewable energy. Although the system efficiency is rather high at around at 70% and varies within a narrow range, methanol production cost reaches 560 $/ton for an electricity price of 73.16 $/MWh, being economically infeasible with a payback time over 13 years. When the electricity price is reduced to 47 $/MWh and further to 24 $/MWh, the methanol production cost becomes 365 and 172 $/ton with an attractive payback time of 4.6 and 2.8 years, respectively. The electricity price has significant impact on project implementation. The electricity price is different in each country, leading to a difference of the payback time in different locations. Keywords: CO2 capture; CO2 utilization; CO2-to-methanol; power-to-hydrogen; solid-oxide electrolysis 1. Introduction In the 21st century, the consumption of fossil fuel (oil, natural gas, and coal) and climate change are major problems in the fields of energy, environmental protection, and economic development [1,2]. A large amount of fossil fuel is used to generate electricity with the severe issue of greenhouse gas emissions [3]. Moreover, process industries, such as petrochemical, iron and steel, aluminum, paper and pulp, refineries, and cement, also emit CO2 as a result of raw material conversion [4,5]. The Paris Agreement seeks to balance sources and sinks after 2050, which effectively calls for new net-zero emissions. To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is essential to mitigate climate change [5]. Furthermore, carbon capture and utilization (CCU) Energies 2019, 12, 3742; doi:10.3390/en12193742 www.mdpi.com/journal/energies

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