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LUDWIGSHAFEN, 10 January 2019 | In a press conference BASF Board Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Martin Brudermüller outlined four projects with which the company is moving forward to enable BASF to achieve significant reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, including plans for scale-up and commercialization of technology developed in collaboration with Linde enabling a novel one-step route for DME production from syngas.
The new concept, based on dry reforming of methane with carbon dioxide and the direct conversion of syngas to DME, represents a major breakthrough that offers numerous commercial possibilities for energy-efficient, low-emission and cost-effective scaled production of DME and olefins using CO2 as a feedstock. The process represents a complete CO2-to-fuel cycle and allows for a higher than 50% reduction in CO2 emissions in the production of DME.
The new, one-step (direct) process directly converts synthesis gas from various sources to DME, thus eliminating the need for intermediate methanol production. Importantly, the production of synthesis gas through dry reforming of natural gas with CO2 and reduced steam content is one route towards the economical industrial-scale use of CO2 as a feedstock for the production of high-value fuels and chemicals, including DME. One promising application for both dry reforming and one-step production of DME would use DME as an intermediary in a process BASF refers to as “clean olefin production” – a process for the production of valuable olefins (ethylene and propylene – important sources of chemicals, plastics and polymers) from natural gas. This application offers the possibility to diversify olefins production, typically done using traditional feedstocks (oil and naphtha), or non-traditional feedstocks (coal and methanol), to use less polluting, more economical feedstocks. Most of the catalyst development work was done by BASF with the support of high-throughput screening by hte, while piloting of the reforming technology was done at Linde’s Pilot Reformer research facility in Pullach, near Munich.