ET.20.016 – Carbon circularity with ultrafast high temperature heating

Route: Energy transition

Cluster question: 017 How can we make chemical and biochemical production processes more sustainable, more efficient, and cleaner?

The chemical industry is confronted with the challenge of reducing its CO2 emission. The goals formulated at the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris imply emission reductions of 40%-50% in 2030, and over 90% in 2050 compared to the 1990 levels. These required reductions are greater than predicted in any of the realistic scenario studies. For the 2050 goals, it is still technologically far from clear, how these can be reached. New, game changing technologies that enable electrification of chemical processes presently based on use of heating by fossil fuel are high on the wish list. In this respect, high temperature electric heating without CO2-emission remains an unresolved challenge. It would enable direct deployment of sustainable energy for heating, effectively addressing half of present-day industrial CO2 emissions. Furthermore, reduction of the CO2 footprint in the raw material input streams is desirable. This requires the development of alternative chemical reaction schemes that replace fossil streams by renewable inputs, such as from product recycling. Obviously, energy efficiency of these new schemes is of paramount importance.

Heating by electric discharges offers unique opportunities in terms of heating and cooling rates, temperature control, scalability and compatibility with sustainable energy production. In effect, it carries the potential to address both aforementioned aspects, i.e. electrification and at the same time valorization of recycle streams. A program is envisaged that ranges from fundamental research to develop routes towards ultimate efficiency and selectivity by control of chemical kinetics, to process engineering that translates the fundamental concepts into demonstrator designs, to implementation studies that include life cycle analysis, techno-economic and societal acceptance studies.


catalysis, Circularity, Electrification, low carbon hydrogen, methane valorisation, plasma, recycling, sustainable process industry

Other organisations



Organisation Maastricht University (UM)
Name Prof. dr. ir. G.J. (Gerard) van Rooij