(478b) Is Electrification of the Manufacturing of Commodity Chemicals to Decarbonize Manufacturing Economically Feasible?
AIChE Annual Meeting
Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - 12:48pm to 1:06pm
Industrial manufacturing of the commodity chemicals has a huge carbon footprint, and it is required to decarbonize the chemical manufacturing. Electrification of the chemical manufacturing using renewable energy is an attractive approach as it avoids the generation of CO2. The widely researched electrochemical processes are water electrolysis to hydrogen and oxygen, CO2 reduction to CO, formic acid, methanol, ethanol, propanol, methane, and ethylene, nitrogen reduction to ammonia, and CH4 oxidation to formic acid, formaldehyde, and methanol. In general, for the thermochemical processes, the operation cost goes down when the chemicals are produced in large quantities and scaled up industrially whereas for the electrochemical processes the cost of electricity required for the process will be a direct function of the production capacity based on Faradayâs law. The current is a direct function of the no. of moles of the product produced. The parameters that would decide the total cost of the electricity would be the no. of electrons required to make 1 mole of the product and the potential required. In this study, we do a thorough analysis for all the above-mentioned chemicals, the best reported Faradaic efficiencies and Current densities in the literature and the ideal ones required for the industrial scaleup and economic feasibility. The economic feasibility is analyzed by a single ratio which is the Cost of electricity required to make 1 mol of the product using renewable electricity to the Cost of 1 mol of the product produced by the existing carbon intensive technology. The ratio has to be at least 5 for the process to be economically feasible. This analysis would give an idea on the economic feasibility of the electrification of the chemical synthesis and provides direction for the future research.