Turn2X, a German cleantech company founded in 2022, has developed an advanced reactor that converts carbon dioxide and hydrogen to methane with high efficiency. Trun2X uses recycled carbon dioxide from the air and green hydrogen through the water electrolysis using renewable energy. The modular design of Turn2X’s methanation reactor makes it simple to scale up and maintain. The company has a pilot plant in Falkenhagen and plans to scale up and build more production plants.
Challenges: carbon-neutral fuel
Since the early 1900s, carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels in the atmosphere have increased by 50% due to human activities. When fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas are burned for energy production, transportation, and industrial processes, they release CO₂ into the air. This excess CO₂ is a greenhouse gas that traps heat and raises the temperature of the oceans and air. CO₂ emissions play a crucial role in driving climate change.
There are technologies like Direct Air Capture (DAC), enhanced weathering, and Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement that can capture and remove CO₂ from the atmosphere. When CO₂ is captured and used to produce hydrocarbon fuels, then burning these fuels in industrial processes, airplanes, and ships doesn’t add to carbon emissions. This means that these hydrocarbon fuels are carbon-neutral. The carbon dioxide hydration requires hydrogen (H₂) feedstock.
Green hydrogen can be produced on-site through water electrolysis using renewable energy sources like wind and solar. In the past two decades, the levelized cost of renewable electricity has reduced a lot. This makes it possible to make green hydrogen at a low levelized cost by electrolyzing water. Carbon capture and green hydrogen are now less expensive, which means that cheap carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels can be made.
Turn2X has developed an advanced reactor that converts carbon dioxide and hydrogen to methane. The reactor contains stacks of multi-tube reactors that are stacked atop one another. The reactor is modular, scalable, and simple to maintain with this design. Each multi-tube reactor has inner and outer jackets which are connected to one another by reaction tubes. Catalyst bed is located in the reaction tubes for efficient methanation reaction. Significantly, this design allows an efficient heat exchange between the reaction tubes and coolant flow, resulting in an efficient methanation process.
How Turn2X converts carbon dioxide to methane
Carbon dioxide (CO₂) and hydrogen (H₂) react to produce methane (CH₄) via an exothermic reaction:
CO₂ + 4H₂ ⇆ CH₄ + 2H₂O ∆H = -165 kJ/mol
Therefore, an efficient removal of the reaction heat is necessary for an efficient and controllable methanation process.
To fulfill this requirement effectively, Turn2X has developed an advanced reactor consisting of stacks of multi-tube reactors, as depicted in the diagram below.
Multi-tube reactor stacks are arranged inside the reactor chamber. Each stack has several multi-tube reactors stacked atop one another. The stack is connected to the outer casing of the reactor via connection attachments. As shown in the diagram below, each multi-tube reactor has inner and outer jackets that are arranged concentrically around each other. The inner and outer jackets are connected by the reaction tubes, which contain the catalyst bed.
The CO₂ and H₂ reaction gasses are introduced to the reactor chamber. A cylindrical installation directs the gas flow. The reaction gas enters the reaction tubes of the multi-tube reactors through the outer jacket. At 200-300 ºC, a methanation reaction occurs in the nickel oxide (NiO) catalyst bed in the reaction tubes. The methane (CH₄) product is collected in the inner jacket of the multi-tube reactors and extracted through the the bottom gas outlet.
Coolant enters the multi-tube reactor stack on the lower side of the reactor and exits on the upper side. Coolant flows through the space between the inner and outer jackets of the multi-tube reactors. It absorbs and removes reaction heat released by the reaction tubes. Thus, the methanation reaction can be controlled and efficient.
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Turn2X Technology Applications
Turn2X’s technology uses recycled CO₂ as the raw material for methanation. CO₂ can be captured from the air and industrial exhaust. This avoids the costly underground sequestration of CO₂.
Green hydrogen application
Turn2X’s technology also uses green hydrogen as the raw material of methanation. Green hydrogen can be produced via water electrolysis powered by renewable energy.
Turn2X produces carbon-neutral methane from recycled CO₂ and green hydrogen. This helps reduce carbon emissions.
Turn2X has a pilot plant in Falkenhagen, Germany, which went operational in 2019 and produced carbon-neutral methane from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Turn2X plans to scale up its plant in 2024. The company aims to build new production plants in Spain, Italy, and Norway.
Turn2X has raised a total of €4.3M in funding over a Seed round raised on Jun 30, 2023.
Turn2X is funded by 3 investors:
Philip Kessler is CEO.