Prof. Sven Rau
Sven Rau studied Chemistry at Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and at Dublin City University in Ireland. He received his PhD in 2000 and later, in 2007, his habilitation from FSU Jena. He became a professor at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2008. Since 2011 he is a full professor at Ulm University and is spokesperson of the collaborative research centre 234 – CataLight since 2018.
Sven's research interests include artificial photosynthesis and photodynamic therapy. At the centre of this are photoactive assemblies based on transition metal complexes. The Rau group has a strong expertise in designing and synthesising photoactive assemblies and investigates their performance in light-driven catalysis or their photochemical and photophysical behaviour in different environments.
Dr. Gabriele Colombo
Casale SA, CH
Technology Engineer in Gas Technologies, R&D Division
Decarbonization of Hydrogen and Ammonia Production Processes in Industry
Hydrogen is a key feedstock for the chemical industry, where it is used in large amounts in petrochemical refining processes and in the production of methanol and ammonia. Ammonia represents the backbone of the fertilizers product tree, where ammonium nitrate and urea are the most traded derivatives.
The current production of hydrogen is located at the points of use and relies almost entirely on fossil feedstock, for the large majority natural gas. The state-of-the-art process utilizes the strongly endothermic methane steam reforming reaction, yielding a mixture of mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide called synthesis gas. The carbon monoxide is further converted to hydrogen by water gas shift reactions and the resulting CO2 is removed from the product gas and vented to the atmosphere. As a result, hydrogen production is an energy intensive process that accounts for 2% of the total global primary energy demand, generating correspondingly significant CO2 emissions (10 kgCO2/kgH2).
In addition to current uses, that will remain necessary in the chemical industry, hydrogen is expected to be needed for the energy system of the future as a carbon-free energy carrier. The pre-requisite for such use is of course a production route with no CO2 emissions, or at least strongly decreased emissions with respect to steam reforming.
Mature technologies are already available to produce low-carbon hydrogen through either water electrolysis (green hydrogen) or steam reforming followed by CO2 capture and permanent underground sequestration (blue hydrogen/CCS). However, green hydrogen is currently produced at a cost about 3–8 times larger than with methane reforming, and scale-up of water electrolyzers is still under way. Blue hydrogen is already costcompetitive but constrained by the availability of CO2 sequestration capacity and CO2 transport infrastructure. New, more cost-efficient routes of low-carbon hydrogen production are therefore still desirable as successors of water electrolysis and CCS, to bring forward the development of the hydrogen
Prof. Theodor Agapie
Professor of Chemistry
Prof. Jenny Y. Yang
University of California, Irvine, USA
Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Aaron Appel
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,USA
Scientist and Team Leader for Molecular Catalysis