The 4th International Conference on New Energy and Future Energy Systems
Invited Speaker--Dr.-Ing. Jakob Albert

Dr.-Ing. Jakob Albert
Head of Research Group "Biomass & Sustainable Production of Platform Chemicals", Institute of Chemical Reaction Engineering, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

Speech Title: Biogenic formic acid as a carrier molecule for renewable energy

Abstract: As an important platform chemical, formic acid (FA) plays a major role in the chemical and agricultural industry. Moreover, biogenic FA could play an important role in a future energy system. FA is a colorless and highly pungent liquid at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. It is miscible with water and most polar organic solvents.
So far, FA is exclusively produced from fossil raw materials using either carbonylation of methanol or acidolysis of formats. In 2011, our group developed an alternative process route named "OxFA process". This approach is a selective catalytic oxidation of biomass to FA using molecular oxygen as oxidant and water as solvent. The only two products that are formed at full conversion are FA and CO2 This biomass oxidation process is mildly exothermic and operates under mild temperature conditions of typically below 100 °C using molecular oxygen or synthetic air as environmental benign oxidants. As water is applied as solvent, biomass of different origin, composition and humidity can be applied without drying.
Specifically, by applying the OxFA process to waste biomasses, e.g. fermentation residues from biogas plants, a source of a biogenic energy carrier and a base chemical opened up that seemed not possible in the near past. This particular application could be an important contribution the energy system in rural areas by converting these waste biomasses on-site and using the energy by converting the FA to hydrogen and thus to electrical energy.

Acknowledgements: Peter Wasserscheid is gratefully acknowledged for mentoring and support.
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