White paper Electrification: opportunities and challenges

30 Jun 2016

The increase in renewable energy offers opportunities. For instance, an increasing amount of electricity is now being generated by solar panels and wind turbines. However, the power grid is not ready for the fluctuation involved in this source of supply. This can be partly offset by energy storage; another highly promising option is the direct use of such electricity by industry.

Together with the Topsector Chemistry and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, TNO and ECN (the Dutch energy research centre) have set up the VoltaChem, an innovative research programme focused on the use of sustainable electricity in the chemical industry.

This research programme into electrification – or the use of electricity instead of fossil fuels – started in early 2015. The first results have just been obtained. The white paper entitled ‘Empowering the chemical industry - Opportunities for electrification’ was published in May 2016. It gives details of the status of various types of electrification: 1) Power-2-Heat: converting electricity into heat; 2) Power-2-Hydrogen: converting electricity into hydrogen with electrolysis; and 3) Power-2-Chemicals: converting electricity into chemical products and energy carriers through electrochemistry and the use of electricity for high-value products.

“Electrification really does contribute to the sustainable energy challenge by offering great opportunities to reduce our CO2 footprint as well as boosting competitiveness and product innovation,” says Martijn de Graaff, senior business development manager at TNO with a focus on the chemical industry. “It’s good to see how much interest there is and that various companies like chemical companies, suppliers and knowledge organisations are joining up to the VoltaChem programme. Different sectors are coming together. Not an easy task at the same time, given the different backgrounds and goals the various parties have. However, all stakeholders agree that they will benefit if innovations in electrification can be accelerated. Even though there is a lot of preparatory work to be done. Using the white paper we hope to enthuse parties to discover more about this topic ”, explains Mr de Graaff.

Read the expanded interview with Martijn de Graaff on TNOTIME or contact us.

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