Evonik and Siemens announced a joint research project to develop a test plant that will use carbon dioxide (CO2), water and electricity from renewable sources as well as bacteria to produce specialty chemicals. The Rheticus II project will receive funding of approximately €3.5 million (USD $3.84 million) from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Siemens and Evonik are each contributing their own core competencies to this research collaboration. Siemens is providing the electrolysis technology, which is used to first convert carbon dioxide and water into hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO) using electricity. Evonik is contributing the fermentation process, which converts gases containing CO into useful products by metabolic processes, with the aid of special micro-organisms. In the Rheticus project, the electrolysis and fermentation processes are scaled up from the laboratory and combined in a technical test facility in Marl, Germany. The two companies have worked for two years to develop the technically feasible basis for artificial photosynthesis using the bioreactor and electrolysers.
Following successful completion of Rheticus II, Evonik and Siemens will have a unique technology platform allowing production of useful, energy-rich substances such as specialty chemicals and artificial fuels from CO2 in a flexible, modular process. The test facility set to begin operations in early 2020 and conclude in 2021.
Image Courtesy of Evonik.