What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes?

De Luna, P., Hahn, C., Higgins, D., Jaffer, S., Jaramillo, T., Sargent, E. What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes? Science, 364 (6438), DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3506 (2019).


Scientific Achievement

We provide a technoeconomic and carbon emission analysis of possible products, offering targets that would need to be met for economically compelling industrial implementation to be achieved.

Significance and Impact

We quantitatively show what it would take for CO2 to displace fossil fuel sources as the chemical supply for small-molecule chemical feedstocks.

Reprinted from De Luna, P., Hahn, C., Higgins, D., Jaffer, S., Jaramillo, T., Sargent, E. What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes? Science, 364 (6438),  DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3506  (2019).   The graphs show technoeconomic analyses of hydrogen, carbon monoxide,  ethanol, and ethylene costs as a function of electrolyzer energy  conversion efficiency and electricity costs.  The area above the white dashed line in lighter color indicates profitable production costs based on average global prices.

Reprinted from De Luna, P., Hahn, C., Higgins, D., Jaffer, S., Jaramillo, T., Sargent, E. What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes? Science, 364 (6438), DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3506 (2019).

The graphs show technoeconomic analyses of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, ethanol, and ethylene costs as a function of electrolyzer energy conversion efficiency and electricity costs. The area above the white dashed line in lighter color indicates profitable production costs based on average global prices.

Reprinted from De Luna, P., Hahn, C., Higgins, D., Jaffer, S., Jaramillo, T., Sargent, E. What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes? Science, 364 (6438),  DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3506  (2019).   Reduction of CO2 using renewably sourced electricity could transform waste CO2 emissions into commodity chemical feedstocks or fuels.

Reprinted from De Luna, P., Hahn, C., Higgins, D., Jaffer, S., Jaramillo, T., Sargent, E. What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes? Science, 364 (6438), DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3506 (2019).

Reduction of CO2 using renewably sourced electricity could transform waste CO2 emissions into commodity chemical feedstocks or fuels.

Reprinted from De Luna, P., Hahn, C., Higgins, D., Jaffer, S., Jaramillo, T., Sargent, E. What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes? Science, 364 (6438),  DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3506  (2019).   (   A   ) Market size and total emissions reductions of ethylene (58), ethanol (102), carbon monoxide (103), and formic acid (104). (   B    to    E   )  Carbon emissions assessment of (B) formic acid, (C) carbon monoxide,  (D) ethylene, and (E) ethanol. We assume a plant capacity of 500 MW,  global warming potential (GWP) of formic acid and carbon monoxide = 1 kg  CO2/kg product, and GWP of ethylene and ethanol = 5.75 kg CO2/kg product. Emissions reductions are calculated as a product of global production and GWP.

Reprinted from De Luna, P., Hahn, C., Higgins, D., Jaffer, S., Jaramillo, T., Sargent, E. What would it take for renewably powered electrosynthesis to displace petrochemical processes? Science, 364 (6438), DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3506 (2019).

(A) Market size and total emissions reductions of ethylene (58), ethanol (102), carbon monoxide (103), and formic acid (104). (B to E) Carbon emissions assessment of (B) formic acid, (C) carbon monoxide, (D) ethylene, and (E) ethanol. We assume a plant capacity of 500 MW, global warming potential (GWP) of formic acid and carbon monoxide = 1 kg CO2/kg product, and GWP of ethylene and ethanol = 5.75 kg CO2/kg product. Emissions reductions are calculated as a product of global production and GWP.