The project is an integrated research and innovation plan. Its highlight is a CCUS demonstrator with a CO2 flow of up to 1 ton per day (TPD). At the same time, critical technologies, i.e., direct air capture (DAC) and the conversion of CO2 to value-added chemicals, will be advanced.
The demonstration will be built near the EPFL Valais campus at the industrial site (waste incineration plant of Enevi) in Uvrier. Notably, in 2024, it is planned to heat EPFL Valais I17 building via the district heating network of Enevi. By capturing CO2 from the waste incineration plant at a rate of 1 TPD, we will reduce the CO2 footprint of the EPFL campus in alignment with the EPFL 2030 Climate & Sustainability Strategy.
The project is built on five key pillars of CCUS, including point source capture, atmospheric CO2 capture, short-term and long-term CO2 storage, CO2 conversion into energy carriers and value-added chemicals, and the enablers of this transition. We are developing layers of technology, including optimizing and validating promising proof-of-concept technologies at a technology readiness level (TRL) of 2/3 through fundamental research and accelerating scale-up of TRL 4/5 technologies to promote promising CCUS both at the early and the late stages of development, in line with the needs for a carbon-based circular economy.
The project will be implemented via eight work packages. WP1 (post-combustion capture), WP2 (CO2 conversion to methane), and WP3 (CO2 storage) will construct a large demonstrator for the acceleration of relatively mature CCUS technology for large-scale deployment (TRL 7). WP4 (DAC) and WP5 (CO2 refinery) advance these critical technologies for net zero and carbon-based economy. WP6 integrates the energy and CO2 flow between the process, stitching the technical WPs together into a single integrated CCUS demonstrator to yield a joint high energy-efficiency demonstrator with a closed carbon cycle. WP7 develops and adapts policy instruments to address societal impact, acceptability, and market and governance aspects. Finally, WP8 will train EPFL students on CCUS technologies and will give them hands-on experience and training through direct involvement in the CCUS project, e.g., by integrating MAKE project on CCUS (EPFL Carbon Team).
Our technology goals are the following:
WP1: Membranes based on atom-thick graphene selective layer will have their production scaled by a continuous roll-to-roll process.
WP2: Solid-oxide electrolyzer (SOE) converting steam to H2 will be integrated into a methanator to demonstrator high CO2 to CH4 conversion efficiency with 100 kWel capacity.
WP3: A unique meter-scale geological CO2 storage (GCS) testbed will be implemented to accelerate a safe implementation of GCS for permanent large-scale storage.
WP4: Atmospheric CO2 will be captured by developing high-working-capacity porous sorbents.
WP5: Utilization of CO2 into ethylene will be demonstrated.
WP6: Assessment of the systemic life cycle sustainability impact of the demonstrated technologies and of the conditions for their full-scale deployment for the energy transition.
WP7: A configurable financing model, combining various financial and governance frameworks and scenarios for CCUS, will be developed to analyze the economic consequences of the project technologies.
WP8: Will train the next generation of environmentally-conscious scientists equipped to design and implement CCUS technology.