CEOPS is a NMP-FP7 European project devoted to a sustainable approach for the production of methanol from CO2, which is a precursor for fine chemicals products.

While large CO2 emitters like cement plants and fine chemicals producers are currently and geographically dispersed throughout Europe, CEOPS concept proposes to use of the existing wide natural gas network via the injection and transportation of an intermediate product: methane. Indeed, whereas CH4 is easily transported, the instability of CH3OH makes its transportation more hazardous by truck. Furthermore, methane already benefits from the extended and existing European natural gas network infrastructure, so its distribution will prevent additional CO2 emissions (rail & road transportation). This sustainable approach will thus enable the decentralisation of methanol production which will favour the emergence of distributed, small and flexible production units of fine chemicals. This vision will pave the way for several novel and sustainable production schemes. 

The concept of the project (cf figure below) relies on the development of two chemical pathways based on: 

  • One sub-system A: Upstream, CO2 to methane conversion will be realised with advanced catalysts to promote the efficiency of CO2 CH4 electro-catalytic process at the point of CO2 emission (cement works). Methane will act as an easy storable and transportable carbon vector (from intermittent sources).
  • A second sub-system B: Downstream, the direct conversion of methane to methanol will be done at the point of fine chemicals production with advanced catalysts to promote the efficiency of the direct pathway instead of using the current pathway consisting of a steam reforming of CH4 which represents 60-70% of cost production of current methanol, followed by the CO hydrogenation reaction.

 

Ceops - The Project

 

The technological work is based on advanced catalysts and electro-catalytic processes. CEOPS will develop advanced catalysts for application in three promising electro-catalytic processes (Dielectric barrier discharge plasma catalysis, Photo-activated catalysis and Electro-catalytic reduction) to increase their efficiency overtime for both pathways. The performances of the studied catalyst and process schemes will be benchmarked and the most efficient one, for each pathway, will be selected for a prototype. This prototype will validate the concept and generate the required data for the techno-economic assessment.