From harmful waste gas to resource

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The students of the HTL Kramsach, glass and chemistry, are fully committed. The
The students of the HTL Kramsach, glass and chemistry, are fully committed. The majority of the students find it highly motivating to develop a project for real needs in industry and to contribute to mitigating climate change. (Copyright PH Tirol/Roner)

As part of a Sparkling Science project at the University of Leoben, Tyrolean students are developing a reactor to convert CO2 into methanol.

Since March 2023, students at HTL Kramsach have been working on a reactor designed to convert the greenhouse gas CO2 into green methanol. They are thus part of a larger research project led by Christoph Rameshan from the Department of Physical Chemistry at the University of Leoben in collaboration with the PH Tirol and Tyrolean schools. The aim of this project is to sustainably produce chemical feedstocks, such as methanol or so-called e-fuels, by converting harmful CO2 . The reactor will be completed by the fall. E-fuels are fuels that are produced from CO2 , green hydrogen and with the help of renewable energies,

Together with HTL students from the 10th school level and Citizen Scientists involved, work is being done on establishing a closed CO2 cycle. The project aims to give as many people as possible an active role on the way to a carbon neutral future.

In his statement, Rameshan emphasizes: "In order to achieve the EU’s ambitious climate targets - i.e. a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 - it is necessary to actively reduce CO2 emissions. By recycling CO2 from exhaust gas streams, a significant contribution can be made to start directly where the CO2 would otherwise escape into the atmosphere." Based on the model processes developed together with the students at the HTL Kramsach, Glass and Chemistry, further pilot plants are to be implemented in local industry in the future. The interest from industry is enormous. There is already a lot of rethinking here, only the solutions are still missing. The prevailing opinion is usually: This does not work or is not profitable. Here we would like to make a big contribution to enlightenment. That’s what makes our project so important," says project manager Christoph Rameshan.

A second important goal of the project is to create public awareness for the CO2 problem: To this end, the HTL Bau und Design Innsbruck is working as another project partner on the development of informative graphics as well as the visualization of research results. In addition, a workshop is currently being held at the University of Leoben for interested students from all over Austria, in which concrete problems are being worked out.