Evonik has signed an agreement to develop, scale up and produce proprietary fixed bed catalysts for mobile applications of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies’ proprietary liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology based on benzyl toluene (BT).
The safe, cost-efficient and flexible process chemically binds hydrogen synthesized by sustainable energy to the LOHC-BT, which then is transported to the off-taker site where the hydrogen is released for industrial or consumer use – or in the mobile application released on board to power propulsion units. Packaging films
“We are committed to bringing our expertise in catalysis to jointly develop processes with the Hydrogenious team, that will help to transform the industry from fossil-based to sustainable feedstock,” said Michael Frey, Head of Product Line Polyolefin and Continuous Process Catalysts, at Evonik.
“When transporting hydrogen over long distances, liquid organic carriers play a particularly important role. To overcome catalytical challenges associated with the use of onboard applications, customization – based on extensive and proven experience – is required,” he added. Packaging films
Hydrogenious’ LOHC process uses benzyl toluene as carrier material, boasting competitive safety and economic advantages. The thermal oil – which is loaded with hydrogen – is hardly flammable and non-explosive, with a risk potential comparable to diesel fuel. It can be stored at ambient temperatures and pressure, has a competitive storage density level, and is reusable as a hydrogen carrier hundreds of times.
“The flexibility and scalability of our LOHC technology accelerates the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy because we can leverage the existing liquid fuel infrastructure,” said Dr Caspar Paetz, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies.
“We are happy to work with Evonik to further improve our technology – their expertise in tailoring catalysts to specific needs is an essential part of the development process,” he added.
Catalysts for pilot plants and commercial units are expected to be available from 2026 onwards. Packaging films
Novel packaging films and textiles with tailored end of life and performance based on bio-based copolymers and coatings
Novel bio-based food packaging supports home composting and recycling
Innovative formulations have fostered a circular economy for polylactic acid, a bioplastic made from plant starch that was challenged by end-of-life issues.
Plastic packaging, largely for foods and beverages, has become ubiquitous. It is low-cost and lightweight, with essential barrier properties that protect products meant for human consumption. About a third of plastics are produced for packaging and approximately 85 % of this ends up in landfills or as unregulated waste. Polylactic acid (PLA), a bio-based and biodegradable plastic, has relieved the food packaging sector’s dependence on fossil fuel raw materials and requires less energy to produce. However, it cannot be recycled with other plastics and is degradable only under harsh industrial conditions. With funding from the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking, a public-private partnership between the EU and industry, the BIOnTop project aimed to address these end-of-life (EoL) challenges and foster a circular economy for sustainable PLA. Packaging films
Conventional barriers in plastic and textile packaging
Food packaging plastics are often multi-layer, multi-material structures that are difficult to process and recycle at EoL. PLA is a bio-based plastic made from fermented sugars or plant starch. Although compostable under industrial conditions, it can take several weeks or more to decompose, with significant energy and water input. Most PLA ends up in landfill where it can take hundreds of years to decompose. According to Rafael Alonso of project coordinating entity AIMPLAS: “When it comes to textiles like tea bags, most coatings are not bio-based. As with multi-material plastic packaging, they are different from the fibres they coat, again making organic recycling extremely difficult.”
PLA-based compounds with technical and environmental appeal
The project combined several technologies to ensure properties required for packaging while enabling EoL options that are currently not possible for available materials, under controlled waste management scenarios. The team used sustainably sourced feedstocks, additives and fillers to formulate new PLA-based materials from close to 100 % bio-based feedstock. These reduce the carbon footprint and open the door to better EoL recycling opportunities including more eco-friendly mechanical recycling and industrial composting as well as home composting. Packaging films
“BIOnTop developed novel tailor-made biocomposites and copolymers integrating bio-based diacids with lactic acid, enabling a breakthrough in their biodegradation behaviour in mild conditions. We also enhanced the barrier properties of delivered biopackaging trays, films and derived packaging using removable protein-based coatings and a novel fatty acid grafting technology to decrease permeability and compete with fossil fuel-based packaging,” Alonso explains.
China and India struggle to curb fossil fuels: Kemp
China and India are burning record amounts of fossil fuels this year, even as they also install record renewable power generation capacity, highlighting the slow pace and enormous inertia to be overcome in the energy transition.
Both countries are experiencing rapid growth in energy use for services such as air conditioning, heating, cooking, lighting, power and transport as they try to raise living standards closer to those in the advanced economies.
Growing demand for energy services is so vast fossil fuels and renewable energy sources are acting as complements rather than substitutes, ensuring consumption from both is increasing simultaneously. Packaging films
In effect, both countries are pursuing an “all of the above” approach to economic development and energy security, similar to the one advocated by then-U.S. President Barack Obama in his state-of-the-union address in 2014.
GROWING ENERGY DEMAND
In every historical case, the transition from a pre-modern agricultural economy to a modern urban and industrial one has been accompanied by a huge increase in the consumption of energy.
Increased consumption provides more labour saving, higher wages, more comfort, more entertainment and more opportunity for travel to visit family and see the world.
If they follow the usual pattern, both China and India are likely to consume a lot more energy services in the next few decades as their populations aspire to reach the same living standards as North America and Europe. Packaging films
Chartbook: China and energy consumption
In 2022, the populations of China (1.43 billion) and India (1.42 billion) were each similar to the total for countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (1.38 billion).
But total primary energy consumption in China (159 exajoules) and India (36 exajoules) was far lower than in the OECD (234 exajoules).²
Each person in China consumed only 66% of the energy as their counterparts in the OECD and in India the figure was just 15%.
Even that overstates the consumption of energy services locally since both countries and especially China export a high proportion of their energy-intensive manufactured output to the OECD. Packaging films
Continued modernisation means both countries will use a lot more energy – making an “all of the above” strategy imperative for policymakers.
THE NEED FOR ALL SOURCES
In the OECD, total energy consumption has been essentially flat since 2007, so growing production from renewables and especially gas has displaced coal and to a lesser extent oil.
Renewables (and gas) have been substitutes for fossil fuels such as coal and oil enabling a significant reduction in greenhouse emissions. Packaging films
But total energy consumption has continued to grow rapidly in China (by an average of 3.1% per year in the last decade) and India (3.8% per year).
Renewables (and gas) have served as complements to other fossil fuels – ensuring energy remains affordable and reliable even as consumption increases significantly.
China and India’s current trajectory for energy consumption looks a lot like the United States or Western Europe between the 1950s and 1970s, a period of rapid growth in economic output, living standards and energy use.
In the Euro-Atlantic economies, rapid growth in total energy demand created a need for more energy from all sources; consumption from older sources continued to rise in absolute terms even as its share was reduced relatively. Packaging films