The SOMMER project kicks-off this month

  • Energy and environment
  • Energy storage

SOMMER is a Horizon Europe funded project that stands for “Solar-Based Membrane Reactor For Syngas Production“. The kick-off meeting was held in Cologne on November the 23rd, 2023.

SOMMER will develop and demonstrate a novel carbon-neutral pathway for syngas production by integrating solar energy directly into a catalytic membrane reactor for the splitting of H2O and CO2 (e.g. captured from high carbon emitting industries or by direct air capture). This will allow SOMMER to overcome the fossil-based energy requirements to produce syngas and to consume CO2 instead of natural gas as feedstock. Syngas, the mixture of H2 and CO, is a crucial intermediate product in the chemical industry. Thus, SOMMER will consider the entire value-chain from CO2 provision from a cement plant to syngas formation and further processing syngas to valuable and shippable products such as DME or methanol.

The core of the SOMMER technology lies in the optimized energy integration of an emerging single-step CO2 and H2O thermochemical conversion process supported by highly selective catalysts and a dual-phase composite membrane, and a concentrated solar-thermal plant to supply the thermal energy demand.

The main outcomes of SOMMER involve the experimental demonstration and evaluation of the innovative solar-powered membrane technology, and the development of high performance and cost-effective membranes as key components, thereby bringing the technology to the next level.

SOMMER will advance membrane manufacturing via slip-casting, as a more mature approach, and via additive manufacturing to optimize the effective membrane surface area in the reactor. In addition, the identification of technological, ecological, and economical potential for a flexible and highly efficient solar syngas production will contribute to the development of a detailed roadmap and provide the basis for the pre-commercialization through follow-up R&D development activities.

The project has a total budget of 4.7M€ and will run for 4 years. The consortium is formed by 7 European partners including DLR (coordinator), Hte company, CSIC, Morgan Advanced Materials HW, Titan Cement Company, and IREC, while BASF is an associated partner.

The role of IREC in this project is related to the fabrication by ceramic 3D printing of membrane reactors with complex geometries with optimised parameters by CFD modelling. The participation of IREC on the design, fabrication and validation of the innovative solar membrane reactor will be led by Marc Torrell from the Nanoionics and Fuel Cells group.

Link to cordis:

Funded by the European Union (GA No. 101118293). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.