With the support of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore, Shell has entered into a $4.6 million research project with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to investigate using carbon dioxide to produce fuel and chemical feedstock.
The project will look at using carbon dioxide to electrochemically produce n-propanol and ethanol, which can then be combined with petroleum to make it burn more cleanly. Alternatively, they can be further refined into propylene and ethylene, which are important for making the polymers needed for many products, including hydraulic oil.
If the technology can be expanded up to an industrial scale, the process could use carbon dioxide captured from industrial emissions or the atmosphere as feedstock, thus helping to reduce overall carbon emissions.
Speaking for Shell Renewables and Energy Solutions, Emily Tan said Shell was excited about the new partnership. She pointed out that the world needs to adapt in how it produces and uses energy if it is to fight climate change, adding:
“This is an opportunity to testbed a novel approach to better utilise carbon dioxide purposefully for cleaner energy and chemicals. The collaboration will also help to nurture talent in this increasingly important space and is testament to how Shell is partnering with stakeholders to bring about low-carbon solutions for sustainable change.”
The team at NUS has already identified some promising processes and catalysts for synthesising liquid fuels and chemicals, and Shell will lend its knowledge and expertise to help scale these up.