Skip Navigation Links.

Search for publications:

Limit search to the fields

ECN publication
Techno-economische beoordeling van een foto-elektrochemische reactor
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Energy Efficiency in Industry 1-12-2000
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-I--01-001 Other
Number of pages: Full text:
43 Download PDF  

The results of a techno-economical study, that compares the production of hydrogen and methanol via a titania-based photo-electrochemical (PEC) reactor with other conventional and renewable technologies, are presented. The title study is carried out in order to investigate the incentives for the PEC technology. The central question is whether the PEC-reactor is competitive compared to other technologies with respect to energy use, emissions, costs and use of space. First, the operation of the PEC-reactor is studied and an estimate is made of the efficiencies that could be reached and which costs are associated with this. Then, a comparison is made for a large-scale hydrogen and methanol production plant through different routes that use either a hydrocarbon feedstock (natural gas, coal, biomass) or make us of an electrochemical conversion from water and CO2(electrolysis, Wind, PV, PEC). The different routes are compared with each other on the basis of product price, fossil energy use, CO2-emissions, and use of space. In addition, an uncertainty analysis has been carried out with respect to a situation in 2020 taken into account developments in prices of energy carriers and costs of technology. Although in theory it is feasible to produce hydrogen and methanol from water and CO2 with a titania-based PEG reactor, the efficiency is probably quite low and the costs are high. Today's efficiencies are below 1%. The savings on energy- and CO2-emissions with a PEC-reactor depend very much on the efficiency that could be achieved. Production of methanol leads to bigger savings compared to hydrogen. Compared to a PV-system however, the PV-system will lead to the largest savings on an equal area, equal efficiency basis. The comparison of product price between the different routes shows the same ranking for both hydrogen and methanol: natural gas, biomass, coal, electrolysis (fossil energy), wind, PV, PEC. This ranking does not change when an analysis is carried out for 2020. The renewable options, with the exception of biomass, do not use fossil energy and do not lead to CO2-emissions. The use of space however is quite large with these options with biomass ahead of the other options. The overall conclusion is that in the next 20 years there is no big incentive for hydrogen or methanol production via PEC-technology. This view may change if a certain image is created of the product, comparable to the present PV-produced electricity. The question however arises whether hydrogen and methanol are experienced in the same way as electricity. 17 refs.

Back to List