Synhelion and Wood collaborate on a milestone in solar technology

Swiss clean energy company Synhelion recently announced a major milestone by becoming the first company in the world to successfully produce syngas on an industrial scale using only solar heat as an energy source, through its innovative solar technology.

In May 2021, Wood and Synhelion announced their partnership to provide solar-based synthetic fuels to the market. Synhelion’s solar thermal process for producing synthetic fuels uses high-temperature solar heat to produce syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that is a stepping stone to cleaner solar fuels and energy production.

3D solar tower and field of mirrors

As part of the collaboration, the companies have been working together to design, build, install and commission an industrial-scale hydrogen and syngas plant at a solar test facility in Jülich, Germany. Image supplied by Synhelion

By combining Synhelion’s solar technologies with Wood’s proprietary hydrogen reforming reactor, where syngas is produced, companies are accelerating the path to affordable and scalable syngas production while finding sustainable solutions to address the crisis. climate.

Brian McCarthy, Vice President of Technology and Products at Wood, said: “Innovative and innovative technology developments like this are key to achieving global decarbonisation goals and reducing the carbon intensity of hard-to-reduce sectors. The production of syngas on an industrial scale is a fantastic milestone for Synhelion, as well as a clear step forward towards the production of clean, efficient and sustainable alternative fuels.

“Wood is proud to supply our gas-fired reactor technology that can increase the capacity of existing hydrogen production assets while driving the lowest carbon-intensive production possible – key immediate needs in the transition to a hydrogen market. clean hydrogen”

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What is a solar fuel?

Current technologies create syngas using water and hydrocarbon feedstocks and require a large amount of energy that is typically provided by natural gas or other fossil fuel combustion sources. Synhelion has created a process to create carbon neutral synthetic fuels through the power of the sun, an abundant renewable source. This means cleaner, more sustainable production that can reduce CO2 emissions from hard-to-reduce sectors like aviation.

What will be the role of solar fuel in achieving net zero?

Syngas is a crucial component in a number of processes to produce hydrogen, chemicals and various transportation fuels, including non-traditional pathways for conventional gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The transportation industry is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for about 21% of global carbon emissions.1.

By harnessing solar energy, the life cycle CO2 emissions involved in the production and end use of these products can be significantly reduced. Since solar fuels are compatible with conventional planes, ships, heavy trucks and cars, there is no need for modifications to the furnaces or engines that consume these fuels, making them a lower carbon solution that can lead to a cleaner environment. future for transportation.

1Net Zero by 2050 – Analysis – IEA

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