|Sunfire-CEO Carl Berninghausen (rechts) with Rolf Bruknapp of Nordic Blue Crude. Copyright: Sunfire GmbH / Katja Mattner|
The mass production of the environmentally friendly synthetic crude oil substitute Blue Crude becomes reality: from 2020 the first plant shall start its operation in the industrial park Heroya in Norway. It will be operating with an electric capacity of 20 megawatts, producing 8,000 tons of Blue Crude per year. Nordic Blue Crude AS, Sunfire, Climeworks, EDL Anlagenbau and additional partners have already started with the engineering. The synthetic Blue Crude consists of various hydrocarbons – making it comparable with crude oil. Refineries can use it as raw material for waxes, but also petrol, diesel, kerosene and even rocket fuel.
About 3,000 products, which are currently made from crude oil, could be manufactured on the basis of Blue Crude – from chewing gums and credit cards to sneakers and smartphones all the way to climate-neutral fuels. Thus, a replacement is created, which can be employed directly by utilising the existing production processes and distribution networks, without any complex renewals or adjustments.
The clean tech company Nordic Blue Crude AS, located in the harbour and industrial city of Porsgrunn, will operate the power-to-liquids plant and already markets the synthetic crude oil substitute to manufacturers of cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and ships as well as to specialised chemical refineries and other customers. The annual production volume would for example be sufficient to supply 13,000 cars with synthetic fuel and thus avoid 21,000 tons of CO2 emissions, fossil fuel would have caused. The target-price per litre lies below 2 Euros.
Blue Crude is created in a highly efficient, three-stage process, developed by Sunfire and consists of a patented power-to-liquid procedure employing nothing but water, CO2 and renewable energy – in Norway the continuously available, cost-efficient green energy from hydropower is put to use. The core element is the steam electrolysis process (SOEC) that efficiently splits steam into its components hydrogen and oxygen.
Subsequently the CO2 is transformed into carbon monoxide (CO) and then the synthesis towards Blue Crude is effectuated. The gaseous CO2, employed as carbon source, is partly extracted on-site from the ambient air by using the Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, developed by the Swiss company Climeworks. Especially the exploitation of the waste heat from the Sunfire process makes the DAC technology highly efficient.
Just recently Sunfire has produced three tons of Blue Crude in its power-to-liquids demonstration plant in Dresden which was operated continuously, smoothly verifying the operational time of 1,500 hours, vital for industrial requirements.