IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/rensus/v15y2011i1p1-23.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Sustainable hydrocarbon fuels by recycling CO2 and H2O with renewable or nuclear energy

Author

Listed:
  • Graves, Christopher
  • Ebbesen, Sune D.
  • Mogensen, Mogens
  • Lackner, Klaus S.

Abstract

To improve the sustainability of transportation, a major goal is the replacement of conventional petroleum-based fuels with more sustainable fuels that can be used in the existing infrastructure (fuel distribution and vehicles). While fossil-derived synthetic fuels (e.g. coal derived liquid fuels) and biofuels have received the most attention, similar hydrocarbons can be produced without using fossil fuels or biomass. Using renewable and/or nuclear energy, carbon dioxide and water can be recycled into liquid hydrocarbon fuels in non-biological processes which remove oxygen from CO2 and H2O (the reverse of fuel combustion). Capture of CO2 from the atmosphere would enable a closed-loop carbon-neutral fuel cycle. This article critically reviews the many possible technological pathways for recycling CO2 into fuels using renewable or nuclear energy, considering three stages--CO2 capture, H2O and CO2 dissociation, and fuel synthesis. Dissociation methods include thermolysis, thermochemical cycles, electrolysis, and photoelectrolysis of CO2 and/or H2O. High temperature co-electrolysis of H2O and CO2 makes very efficient use of electricity and heat (near-100% electricity-to-syngas efficiency), provides high reaction rates, and directly produces syngas (CO/H2 mixture) for use in conventional catalytic fuel synthesis reactors. Capturing CO2 from the atmosphere using a solid sorbent, electrolyzing H2O and CO2 in solid oxide electrolysis cells to yield syngas, and converting the syngas to gasoline or diesel by Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is identified as one of the most promising, feasible routes. An analysis of the energy balance and economics of this CO2 recycling process is presented. We estimate that the full system can feasibly operate at 70% electricity-to-liquid fuel efficiency (higher heating value basis) and the price of electricity needed to produce synthetic gasoline at U.S.D$ 2/gal ($ 0.53/L) is 2-3Â U.S. cents/kWh. For $ 3/gal ($ 0.78/L) gasoline, electricity at 4-5Â cents/kWh is needed. In some regions that have inexpensive renewable electricity, such as Iceland, fuel production may already be economical. The dominant costs of the process are the electricity cost and the capital cost of the electrolyzer, and this capital cost is significantly increased when operating intermittently (on renewable power sources such as solar and wind). The potential of this CO2 recycling process is assessed, in terms of what technological progress is needed to achieve large-scale, economically competitive production of sustainable fuels by this method.

Suggested Citation

  • Graves, Christopher & Ebbesen, Sune D. & Mogensen, Mogens & Lackner, Klaus S., 2011. "Sustainable hydrocarbon fuels by recycling CO2 and H2O with renewable or nuclear energy," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:15:y:2011:i:1:p:1-23
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364-0321(10)00194-2
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chedid, R. & Kobrosly, M. & Ghajar, R., 2007. "The potential of gas-to-liquid technology in the energy market: The case of Qatar," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 4799-4811, October.
    2. Yang, Christopher & Ogden, Joan M, 2007. "Determining the lowest-cost hydrogen delivery mode," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt1804p4vw, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    3. Yang, Christopher & Ogden, Joan M, 2007. "Determining the lowest-cost hydrogen delivery mode," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt7p3500g2, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    4. van der Zwaan, Bob & Rabl, Ari, 2004. "The learning potential of photovoltaics: implications for energy policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(13), pages 1545-1554, September.
    5. Abanades, Stéphane & Charvin, Patrice & Flamant, Gilles & Neveu, Pierre, 2006. "Screening of water-splitting thermochemical cycles potentially attractive for hydrogen production by concentrated solar energy," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 31(14), pages 2805-2822.
    6. David Keith & Minh Ha-Duong & Joshua Stolaroff, 2006. "Climate strategy with CO2 capture from the air," Post-Print halshs-00003926, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Olateju, Babatunde & Kumar, Amit, 2013. "Techno-economic assessment of hydrogen production from underground coal gasification (UCG) in Western Canada with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) for upgrading bitumen from oil sands," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 428-440.
    2. Becker, W.L. & Braun, R.J. & Penev, M. & Melaina, M., 2012. "Production of Fischer–Tropsch liquid fuels from high temperature solid oxide co-electrolysis units," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 99-115.
    3. Chang, Le & Li, Zheng & Gao, Dan & Huang, He & Ni, Weidou, 2007. "Pathways for hydrogen infrastructure development in China: Integrated assessment for vehicle fuels and a case study of Beijing," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 2023-2037.
    4. Lin, Zhenhong & Fan, Yueyue & Ogden, Joan M & Chen, Chien-Wei, 2008. "Optimized Pathways for Regional H2 Infrastructure Transitions: A Case Study for Southern California," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt9mk5n8jn, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    5. Aasadnia, Majid & Mehrpooya, Mehdi, 2018. "Large-scale liquid hydrogen production methods and approaches: A review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 212(C), pages 57-83.
    6. Yongxi Huang & Yueyue Fan & Nils Johnson, 2010. "Multistage System Planning for Hydrogen Production and Distribution," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 455-472, December.
    7. Dougherty, William & Kartha, Sivan & Rajan, Chella & Lazarus, Michael & Bailie, Alison & Runkle, Benjamin & Fencl, Amanda, 2009. "Greenhouse gas reduction benefits and costs of a large-scale transition to hydrogen in the USA," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 56-67, January.
    8. Olateju, Babatunde & Kumar, Amit, 2011. "Hydrogen production from wind energy in Western Canada for upgrading bitumen from oil sands," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 6326-6339.
    9. Niermann, M. & Timmerberg, S. & Drünert, S. & Kaltschmitt, M., 2021. "Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers and alternatives for international transport of renewable hydrogen," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    10. Reuß, Markus & Grube, Thomas & Robinius, Martin & Stolten, Detlef, 2019. "A hydrogen supply chain with spatial resolution: Comparative analysis of infrastructure technologies in Germany," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 247(C), pages 438-453.
    11. Brynolf, Selma & Taljegard, Maria & Grahn, Maria & Hansson, Julia, 2018. "Electrofuels for the transport sector: A review of production costs," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 81(P2), pages 1887-1905.
    12. Lin, Zhenhong & Ogden, Joan & Fan, Yueyue & Chen, Chien-Wei, 2009. "The Fuel-Travel-Back Approach to Hydrogen Station Siting," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt14p44238, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    13. Giuseppe Sdanghi & Gaël Maranzana & Alain Celzard & Vanessa Fierro, 2020. "Towards Non-Mechanical Hybrid Hydrogen Compression for Decentralized Hydrogen Facilities," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(12), pages 1-27, June.
    14. Parker, Nathan C, 2007. "Optimizing the Design of Biomass Hydrogen Supply Chains Using Real-World Spatial Distributions: A Case Study Using California Rice Straw," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt8sp9n37c, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    15. Yang, Christopher & Zakerinia, Saleh & Ramea, Kalai & Miller, Marshall, 2018. "Development of Integrated Vehicle and Fuel Scenarios in a National Energy System Model for Low Carbon U.S. Transportation Futures," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt9cb5t3k4, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    16. Rahil, Abdulla & Gammon, Rupert & Brown, Neil, 2018. "Flexible operation of electrolyser at the garage forecourt to support grid balancing and exploitation of hydrogen as a clean fuel," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 125-138.
    17. Rocco, Matteo V. & Casalegno, Andrea & Colombo, Emanuela, 2018. "Modelling road transport technologies in future scenarios: Theoretical comparison and application of Well-to-Wheels and Input-Output analyses," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 232(C), pages 583-597.
    18. Brey, J.J. & Carazo, A.F. & Brey, R., 2018. "Exploring the marketability of fuel cell electric vehicles in terms of infrastructure and hydrogen costs in Spain," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 82(P3), pages 2893-2899.
    19. van der Zwaan, Bob & Keppo, Ilkka & Johnsson, Filip, 2013. "How to decarbonize the transport sector?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 562-573.
    20. Verma, Aman & Olateju, Babatunde & Kumar, Amit, 2015. "Greenhouse gas abatement costs of hydrogen production from underground coal gasification," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 556-568.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:15:y:2011:i:1:p:1-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/600126/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.