Formic acid synthesis using CO2 as raw material: Techno-economic and environmental evaluation and market potential

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Abstract

The future of carbon dioxide utilisation (CDU) processes, depend on (i) the future demand of synthesised products with CO2, (ii) the availability of captured and anthropogenic CO2, (iii) the overall CO2 not emitted because of the use of the CDU process, and (iv) the economics of the plant. The current work analyses the mentioned statements through different technological, economic and environmental key performance indicators to produce formic acid from CO2, along with their potential use and penetration in the European context. Formic acid is a well-known chemical that has potential as hydrogen carrier and as fuel for fuel cells. This work utilises process flow modelling, with simulations developed in CHEMCAD, to obtain the energy and mass balances, and the purchase equipment cost of the formic acid plant. Through a financial analysis, with the net present value as selected metric, the price of the tonne of formic acid and of CO2 are varied to make the CDU project financially feasible. According to our research, the process saves CO2 emissions when compared to its corresponding conventional process, under specific conditions. The success or effectiveness of the CDU process will also depend on other technologies and/or developments, like the availability of renewable electricity and steam.

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Pérez-Fortes, M., Schöneberger, J. C., Boulamanti, A., Harrison, G., & Tzimas, E. (2016). Formic acid synthesis using CO2 as raw material: Techno-economic and environmental evaluation and market potential. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 41(37), 16444–16462. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2016.05.199

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