16-Jul-2021 - Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum

CO2-neutral synthetic fuels and products for everyone

INERATEC receives EU funding of 2.5 million euros for its alternative technology to fossil fuels and chemicals

With the support of Steinbeis 2i GmbH, INERATEC has submitted a successful application for the EIC Accelerator program. The goal of the funded project IMPOWER2X is to scale, multiply and implement our Power-to-X technology to make it available faster and at lower cost. Because CO2-neutral efuels and e-products will make a significant contribution to a CO2-neutral world.

Our dependence on fossil oil causes massive CO2 emissions. If we want to be in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, huge efforts have to be made and new paths have to be taken to move us towards a CO2-neutral world. Renewable energies and e-mobility are part of the solutions that will drive a sustainable future. Climate-neutral fuels also contribute to this effort.

The start-up INERATEC is working on new solutions in this field, building power-to-X plants that produce synthetic fuels, also known as e-fuels, and synthetic chemicals from renewable hydrogen. These fuels are climate neutral and compatible with existing infrastructure and vehicles. With the synthetic fuels, INERATEC aims to defossilize these sectors.

"We recycle CO2 to produce alternatives to fossil fuels and chemicals. In ten years, we want more than 2% of the European fuel market to be covered by e-fuels and e-products. INERATEC will be one of the market leaders for e-fuels and e-products," explains co-founder and managing director Philipp Engelkamp.

Steinbeis 2i finds financing for growth and scaling

"We offered INERATEC the opportunity to present itself to investors and industry representatives as part of the European accelerator program "DeepTech4Good". Afterwards, we accompanied the company with personal coaching and specifically looked for funding opportunities for scaling ", says Samantha Michaux, Senior Project Manager at Steinbeis 2i GmbH, who has been supporting the company since 2018.

The process culminated in a successful application with the support of Steinbeis 2i GmbH in the Accelerator Program of the European Innovation Council. In May 2021, the start-up received funding of nearly 2.5 million euros to launch scalable series production. Thanks to this funding from the Accelerator Program, INERATEC will make another important contribution to a CO2-neutral future. The EU is funding the scaling, multiplication and implementation of industrial-scale pilot plants for the production of e-fuels.

Funded by the Ministry of Economics, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg, Steinbeis 2i GmbH offers consulting and coaching on the EU funding program "EIC Accelerator". The program supports disruptive innovation projects of small and medium-sized enterprises up to a funding volume of 2.5 million euros per project plus 15 million euros of possible investment participation.

"Our IMPOWER2X project comes at exactly the right time. With further scaling, multiplication and implementation, we will be able to deliver PtX technology faster and at lower cost. We will contribute to making mobility and the chemical industry more sustainable with e-fuels and e-products," said CEO Philipp Engelkamp.

Storing and transporting renewable energy

As a disruptive technology, the innovative reactors are characterized by microstructured inner surfaces. They offer high load flexibility as well as fast start-up and shut-down times. Therefore, the reactors are perfectly suited for fluctuating renewable energies, e.g. wind or solar. This reactor concept enables a cost-effective modular multiplication approach in addition to a technology scales-up, i.e. standardized modules are multiplied to achieve higher capacities.

In addition, the plants offer a solution to the problem of long-term storage of renewable energy. By converting it into synthetic fuels and gases, renewable electricity can not only be stored for the long term but can also be easily transported. Using a modular approach, CO2 and renewable hydrogen will be converted into transportable synthetic hydrocarbons. These e-fuels and e-products are then transported to be used worldwide in the aviation, shipping, automotive and chemical industries.

INERATEC pursues two business models. One is the sale of chemical plant units. Secondly, the business model of selling e-fuels and e-products is currently being introduced. This involves long-term contracts with input suppliers (e.g. CO2, renewable electricity) and product offtakers, for example from the mobility sector.

The focus is primarily on aviation, where there are currently no alternatives to e-kerosene. INERATEC is planning to build a power-to-liquid plant in Frankfurt am Main at the Industrial Park Höchst site and is in exchange with the Hessian Competence Center for Climate and Noise Protection in Aviation (CENA), among others. Synthetic waxes offer potential for defossilization in the chemical industry. With the funding, INERATEC aims to continue scaling up, replicating and implementing the plants and have three more industrial power-to-liquid plants installed at German sites by 2022.

"Our goal is to make synthetic, CO2-neutral fuels available to everyone at gas stations. INERATEC is taking a first step towards the broad availability with a pioneering power-to-liquid plant that will produce up to 4.6 million liters of synthetic fuels per year from up to 1,000 tons of biogenic CO2 at Industrial Park Höchst, Frankfurt am Main, starting in 2022. More plants will follow," said Managing Director Philipp Engelkamp, with a view to the next few years.

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