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MEthane activation via integrated MEmbrane REactors (MEMERE) responds to the EU Horizon 2020 call SPIRE-05-2015 and is a research and innovation project aiming at methane activation towards C2+ . The focus of the project is on the air separation through novel MIEC membranes integrated within a reactor operated at high temperature for OCM allowing integration of different process steps in a single multifunctional unit and achieving much higher yields compared with conventional reactor.
About the project
The key objective of the MEMERE project is the design, scale-up and validation of a novel membrane reactor for the direct conversion of methane into ethylene with integrated air separation. The focus of the project will be on the air separation through novel MIEC membranes integrated within a reactor operated at high temperature for OCM allowing integration of different process steps in a single multifunctional unit and achieving significantly higher yields in comparison with the conventional reactor technologies, combined with improved energy efficiency. The results of MEMERE will contribute to the competitiveness of the European process industry in a field (ethylene production) that is an important part of the chemical sector.
To achieve this MEMERE aims at developing novel, cheap yet more resistant oxygen selective membranes for efficient air separation and distributive oxygen feeding to the reactor(target module costs < 5000 €/m2). The objective is to give a robust proof of concept and validation of the technology (TRL 5) of the new technology by designing, building, operating and validating a prototype module based on the OCM technology that will be integrated in a mini-plant built in containers. MEMERE technology will deliver direct conversion of methane to C2+ with a reduced energy penalty in a much more effective way (target C2 yields >30%) as compared to currently available techniques contributing to the implementation of the Roadmap and Implementation Plan for process intensification of the SET-Plan. Additionally, as air separation is integrated in an efficient way in the reactor, the MEMERE technology can also be used at small-to-medium scales to convert methane produced in remote areas where conventional technologies cannot be exploited today.
The MEMERE project structure is subdivided in work packages (see the simplified PERT below) following the focus on the development of novel catalysts, supported membranes for O2separation and membrane reactors for methane conversion to C2. Furthermore, the project will give a robust proof of concept, validation and assessment of the novel membrane reactor technology.
Therefore, the work structure is based on the following work packages:
The combination of all the WPs will thus contribute to solve all the technical challenges described before and to achieve the scientific objectives of the project.
The consortium of MEMERE has been chosen based upon proven experience on OCM, catalysis, membrane development and production skills. As all partners have had fruitful collaborations in business life and development projects in the past, this consortium is best suited to develop technical solutions for the set forth challenges. The industrial partners within the consortium have no potential conflicts on IPR or business interests. In fact they supplement each other to bring the technology of MEMERE successfully to the market.
The MEMERE consortium consists of 11 European organizations from 8 countries (Netherlands, Germany, Spain, UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland). The call for proposals explicitly encouraged the participation of innovative SMEs. In the MEMERE consortium innovative SMEs represent 45% of the participants, while the total industrial participation is around 64% of the Institutions.
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) (https://www.tue.nl/) is a research university specializing in engineering science & technology. Our education, research and knowledge valorization contribute to:
– science for society: solving the major societal issues and boosting prosperity and welfare by focusing on the Strategic Areas of Energy, Health and Smart Mobility
– science for industry: the development of technological innovation in cooperation with industry
– science for science: progress in engineering sciences through excellence in key research cores and innovation in education
The research group Chemical Process Intensification (SPI) is part of the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the Eindhoven University of Technology. The main objective of the research group is the development of novel integrated reactor concepts based on improved fundamental knowledge using validated advanced (multi-phase) reactor models. This is achieved by employing a combination of state-of-the-art numerical models (at different levels of detail using the multi-level modeling approach), advanced (non-invasive) experimental techniques and experimental demonstration of novel reactor concepts (proof of concept).
Role in MEMERE:
Project coordinator, lab scale reactor development, modeling.
Fundación TECNALIA Research and Innovation (www.tecnalia.com) is the largest private non-profit applied research centre in Spain and the fifth in Europe, employing 1,378 people (164 PhDs) and with income of 102 Million € in 2013. The whole team at TECNALIA has one GOAL: to transform knowledge into GDP, meaning wealth to improve people’s quality of life by generating business opportunities for industry. TECNALIA is committed to generate major impacts in economic terms, by means of innovation and technological development, addressed by 6 business divisions, covering economic sectors of Industry and Transport, Information and Communication Technologies, Building, Energy and Environment, Innovation Systems and Health and Quality of Life. Furthermore TECNALIA created TECNALIA VENTURES in 2012 an independent TTO (Technology Transfer office) designed for exploitation and transfer of research results. TECNALIA has created 30 spin-off companies of different levels of maturity and development (until the end of 2013) and has managed for a group of sponsors a Venture-Capital fund. TECNALIA has been granted over 250 patents and promoted more than 30 spin-off companies.
TECNALIA is a key agent in the ERA - European Research Area, holding position 12th among RECs and 26th overall in EC’s 6th FP7 Monitoring Report 2012. He has participated in 377 FP7 projects, coordinating 81 of them. In H2020 TECNALIA participates in around 53 projects coordinating 6 of them.
The activities under the present proposal will be carried out by the Materials for Energy and Environment Dept. of the Energy and Environment Division. It is constituted by 38 scientists and technicians (including 12 PhD and 10 PhD students). During the last years the M4E Dept. has been involved in the development of materials and membranes for gas separation applications such as pre- and post- combustion carbon dioxide capture, natural gas purification, air separation and olefin/paraffin separation. The group has applied its background in materials, surface engineering and industrial processes to the development of gas separation membranes and the design and development of membrane modules and membrane reactors. The membrane group works with polymeric, inorganic (metallic and carbon) membranes (i.e. Pd-based thin film membranes by electroless plating and/or PVD, pore fill Pd membranes, Carbon Molecular Sieve membranes) and mixed matrix membranes.
Membrane development, Technical Manager.
Berlin University of Technology (TU Berlin) is a technical university covering both applied science & engineering fields (https://www.tu-berlin.de). There is an already estbalished cooperation framework in TU Berlin concerning the activities related to the catalyst and membrane development, synthesis, modification and testing as well as reactor and process engineering mainly in an interdisciplinary research group known as UniCat (Unifying Concepts In Catalysis http://www.unicat.tu-berlin.de/). The resulted more than seven years practical experiences in these areas and especially in catalyst preparation and characterisation, miniplant design-construction-analysis and techno-economic analysis of OCM process-scale individual and integrated systems will be provided and supported by TU Berlin. Especially the unique OCM miniplant in which several different types of reactors including fixed-bed reactor, porous packed-bed membrane reactor, catalytic membrane reactor, fluidized-bed and fluidized-bed membrane reactor, as well as the network of membrane reactors and integrated reactors is utilized for testing the catalyst and membranes in the context of UNICAT and MEMERE project. Detailed information about UNICAT OCM miniplant can be found here: http://www.unicat.tu-berlin.de/index.php?id=870
Catalyst and membrane reactor testing, modeling, Dissemination Manager.
The Flemish institute for technological research (VITO) (https://vito.be/en) is a leading independent European research and technology organisation and consulting centre that develops innovative products and processes and delivers client-oriented research projects, building on its decades-long experience of multidisciplinary research. VITO’s highly qualified staff draw on a wide range of expertise and are actively engaged in numerous national and international collaborations in research areas pertaining to - among other things - sustainable development and clean technologies. VITO plays a vital economic and social role acting as a conduit between stakeholders from business, government and the research community. More specifically, VITO’s research and industrial consultancy is directed towards solving problems and technology transfer related to energy efficiency, new materials, environmental protection, resource scarcity and food secturity. VITO employs 750 staff with an annual turnover of €140 million (2014).
VITO’s long-established KMP group (part of the Sustainable Materials Department) has gained international recognition as an important research facility for Ceramic Materials and Powder Metallurgy. With a well-connected team of experienced researchers, and state-of-the-art laboratories, KMP has unrivalled experience of developing innovative materials and technologies from the initial stages of materials preparation, through advanced shaping processes to materials characterisation. The KMP team have delivered proven results in the field of materials shaping technology, including the production of microspheres by droplet coagulation; spray drying of oxygen carriers; powder processing for technical ceramics; coating; biomedical scaffolds; 3D-structured catalysts for chemical process intensification; and mixed conductor membranes for gas separation. In-house research techniques include a wide range of comprehensive analytical tools for powder characterisation; rheology; dilatometry; thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis; and scanning electron and optical microscopy.
Membrane development, structured catalyst development.
Johnson Matthey (http://www.matthey.com/johnson-matthey-catalysts) is a UK based speciality chemicals company focused on its core skills in catalysis, precious metals, fine chemicals and process technology. The company employs around 12000 people worldwide located in over 30 countries; around 10% of those work in an R&D function. Johnson Matthey's principal activities are the manufacture of autocatalysts, heavy duty diesel catalysts and pollution control systems, catalysts and components for fuel cells, catalysts and technologies for chemical processes, fine chemicals, chemical catalysts and active pharmaceutical ingredients and the marketing, refining, and fabrication of precious metals. More than half of JM’s products have a direct environmental benefit, a figure that is set to increase as a key part of the company’s growth strategy is to focus on emerging environmental opportunities. Johnson Matthey Process Technologies is one of five divisions within Johnson Matthey group, and a key part of the company's strategy for future growth. The division is a global supplier of catalysts, licensed technologies and other services to the petrochemical, syngas, oil refining and gas processing industries. Matthey’s participation in this project will be through the Technology Centre (JMTC) based at Sonning Common in the UK. This central facility acts as a focal point for the development of new technologies into emerging market applications.
Johnson Matthey will supply the benchmark oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) catalysts for lab scale and pilot scale reactors. JMTC is equipped with a high throughput reactor for rapid catalyst screening, as well as experience from previous OCM projects (OCMOL) to find the most suitable catalysts for the OCM reaction. As the project progresses, Johnson Matthey will work with several partners on the environmental and economic assessments of the developed OCM technology.
Catalyst development, Exploitation Manager.
Finden Ltd (http://www.finden.co.uk/) is an experienced specialist analytical company that develops and uses novel chemical analytical methods for tackling complex real world materials problems. We provide analytical solutions to obtain the necessary insight into the behaviour of materials and processes to enable improvement in your industrial processes and treatments. Our core business involves:
Our customers are a mix of technology start-ups, universities and publicly traded companies.
Operando experiments of catalyst and membrane reactors
Rauschert group (http://rauschert.com/en/) is an independent, family owned company with more 110 years of experience in the manufacture of both technical ceramic and plastic components for industrial customers. The Rauschert group operates 12 factories worldwide, with app. 1,200 employees.
We are one of the top ten manufacturers in the technical ceramics industry worldwide, focusing on innovative products in niche markets. With a unique set of technical capabilities we are able to offer tailor made solutions for our customers’ problems. As a global network of professionals, we are ambitious to build a world-class organization.
Rauschert Heinersdorf-Pressig GmbH (RHP) based in north of Bavaria (Germany), who participates in the MEMERE-project has a long term experience and expertise in manufacturing of porous ceramics made of various ceramic materials.
The role of RHP will be the development and manufacturing of ceramic tabular supports for oxygen separating membranes.
HyGear (www.hygear.nl) is a SME based in Arnhem, The Netherlands, with focus on development and manufacturing of small scale gas processing plants and purification systems, such as fuel processors for fuel cells and on-site hydrogen generators (Hy.GENTM) for fuelling stations. HyGear’s major strengths as a partner in international cooperative projects are its engineering skills, prototyping capabilities, flexibility and possibility to deal with changes and finally the fact that HyGear’s mission is to move hydrogen related technologies closer to market entry. With natural gas based on-site Hy.GENTM HyGear proved to be successful; several new technologies are under development. The process used in the on-site hydrogen generators is the same as in large-scale plants – steam methane reforming in combination with pressure swing adsorption. The advantage of the products is saving of compression energy (electrical) and transportation energy compared to trucked-in hydrogen from large plants. The cost and energy savings are up to 70% compared to traditional hydrogen supply. HyGear has also been active in metal hydride storage for stationary hydrogen supply and fuel cell systems. For both application areas on-board hydrogen storage is vital.
As commercial entity interested in the valorization of the technology, HyGear is mainly involved in the upscaling of the OCM technology. It will also be active in the LCA with a focus on the economic assessment and business plan of the OCM membrane reactor system.
HyGear is the leader of two Work Packages: WP5 Prototype design and build and WP6 Prototype testing and validation. Furthermore, HyGear is responsible for the oxygen enrichment system feeding the OCM membrane reactor.
HyGear has 2000 m2 of testing facilities with catalysis and adsorbents laboratory and reactor test sites. Rapid prototyping shop, flexible assembly lines and remote monitoring facilities.
Prototype design and construction
MARION TECHNOLOGIES (http://www.mariontechnologies.com/nanomateriaux/index.php) is essentially dedicated to formulation, development and « custom-made » production of nano-structured materials and ceramic powders for industrial use. Materials synthesized by “soft chemistry” point out better original and technical properties than the same materials synthesized by classical manufacturing processes. MARION TECHNOLOGIES is in charge of providing, for a specific application, a global response to a “Material” problem. The company carries out the process implementation, the development and the scaling-up. MARION TECHNOLOGIES currently has a minimum production capacity of 40 tons.
Powders and suggested materials are specifically optimized for each application, especially ceramic powders, from simple oxides to the most complex multi-elements. There are many applications: electronic ceramics, coatings, catalysis, energy storage, loads for paintings, cosmetics.
Besides, MARION TECHNOLOGIES also has a wide range of facilities in its own Analysis Laboratory: X-Ray diffractometer, BET specific surface analyser, Inductive Coupled Plasma (ICP-AES), Laser Granulometer, Nanosizer.
We manufacture powders for public and private entities.
Powder development for both catalysts and membranes.
Quantis (http://www.quantis-intl.com/en/) is a leading sustainability consultancy specialized in supporting companies to measure, understand and manage the environmental and cost performance of their products, services and operations. Quantis employs 25 people, amongst which several are internationally renowned experts in the LCA field. Quantis offers cutting-edge services in environmental footprinting, eco-design, sustainable supply chains as well as environmental communication. Fuelled by its close ties with the scientific community and its strategic research collaborations, Quantis has a strong track record in applying its expertise to support clients in transforming LCA results into decisions and action plans.
Quantis has a uniquely broad and detailed set of expertise in LCA, including the development of multiple Life Cycle Impact Assessment methods and models (IMPACT 2002+, USEtox™ model, UNEP-SETAC toxicity model, the LCIA-ILCD European Method, IMPACT World+) with focused applications in innovative technologies.
Role of Quantis in MEMERE
Within the MEMERE project, Quantis will assess the environmental and cost performance of the investigated novel technologies, compared to reference conventional technologies, by means of an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC). The LCA work in this project shall follow the main guidelines of the ISO series of norms 14040-4 and the ILCD Handbook.
Ciaotech s.r.l. (100% PNO Group B.V.) - PNO (http://www.pnoconsultants.it/)
CiaoTech S.r.l. is a private company, part of the PNO Group, Europe’s largest independent intermediary providing support services to private and public organizations in Innovation processes, Technology Transfer, IT solutions and funding for R&D&I. Each year PNO provides end-to-end coaching of hundreds of innovation organisations in order to achieve funding and exploit results. PNO’s service is technology based and its people are mainly from scientific/technology backgrounds. PNO supports over 2.000 clients throughout Europe, annually developing over 120 European consortia and funding proposals and fostering their successful implementation in many technology domains, involving both small and medium sized and multinational industries, as well as Universities and Research institutes, amongst which European and international leaders.
PNO co-managed the process of developing a Public Private Partnership and the SPIRE 2030 Innovation Roadmap (www.spire2030.eu) for the sustainable process industry, as input to HORIZON 2020. Moreover, PNO is key advisor to the European Technology Platform (ETP) SusChem and the European Council for the Chemical Industry (CEFIC) to support the development of medium to long term research and innovation agenda for resource efficiency.
In this context PNO has been the architect of the EU DG Enterprise funded eco-Innovation platform project on bio-based products, BIOCHEM, that aims to support the European Lead Market Initiative on bio-based products, identify and support new business opportunities through business plan development, partnering, LCA, training and public and private funding.
Business model and business plan; support exploitation plan and activities; support dissemination, with special focus on industrial stakeholders.
Have a look at MEMERE project publications here.
18 December 2015
MEMERE public presentation
12 July 2016
MEMERE poster for Dutch membrane day
10 November 2016
Dr. Fausto Gallucci
Chemical Process Intensification (SPI)
Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
Eindhoven University of Technology
P.O. Box 513, STW 0.38
5600 MB Eindhoven
T +31 40 247 3675F.Gallucci@tue.nl