The research and training program of CO2Refinery covers a wide range of methods and integrates multiple disciplines required to implement a fully functional facility for refining and upgrading CO2 on a technical center scale. The future “one carbon engineers” work together on the development of technologies to efficiently utilize CO2 as a carbon source to make a broad variety of products using chemical and biological catalysts.

One Carbon Engineers

The image shows a schematic interpretation of the factors required to educate one-carbon-engineers, including scientific excellence (infrastructure and top quality research at TU Wien, international short term scientific mission), interdisciplinary education (ring lecture, student seminar, summer school, lecture pool, soft skill training), and supervison and mentoring (thesis advisory committee, mentoring, balanced faculty, lab rotations).

The main aim of this doctoral college (DK) is to train “one carbon engineers”, which have a unique skillset in converting CO2 and other one carbon molecules like methanol and carbon monoxide into value-added products. The TUW-DK CO2Refinery will contribute by intensive joint research to the development of new processes and high-quality products to use CO2 directly as carbon source.

Training Program

The image represents the main components of the PhD training program, including a summer school, a ring lecture, a tailored lecture catalogue, lab rotations, a journal club as well as the Austrian Engineering Symposium.

The PhD students of this Doctoral College are in the center of attention and their training and scientific advancement is the key to a successful implementation of this program. Research training will be obtained through work embedded into high-quality scientific research environments provided by supervisors that are internationally recognized experts in their fields and the close support through adjunct faculty members.

"Technikum" Approach

The picture shows the principle of the Technikum approach pursued within CO2Refinery, which involves an incremental increase in TRL from the proof of principle, the lab scale up to the Technikum scale, which eventually leads to an industrial implementation. CO2Refinery accelerates the development time.

Fundamental research concepts are translated into technically sound and viable solutions for a technical center scale. This requires a tight collaboration between the different research areas and working groups which will foster an intensive scientific exchange in the faculty ("learning by doing", using a “Technikum” approach).

In addition to synthesis of products from CO2, CO2Refinery focuses on activation of CO2 for utilization as a carbon source in synthesis processes. Moreover, using renewable resources such as biomass and energy, energy storage with CO2 as the scaffold are investigated. The strategy of CO2Refinery is complemented by research on systems engineering, modelling, and analysis to provide the framework of the individual unit operations. Additionally, life cycle analysis is used as a powerful tool to evaluate performance of the refinery on an economic scale.

Members of the TUW-DK are trained interdisciplinarily to obtain a unique skillset. Graduates from the TUW-DK CO2Refinery are envisioned to work at the forefront of groundbreaking research, but also to implement the concepts and ideas of a CO2 refinery in industry.

The image shows the flowchart of the projects included in CO2Refinery. 10 individual projects are subdivided into 3 research areas, including Area 1: Activation of CO2 and carbon/energy storage, Area 2: Upgrading of CO2 into value-added products, and Area 3: Systems engineering, modeling and analysis. Furthermore, the product streams and interactions between areas and individual projects are shown, as well as the eventual outcome in order to provide a basis for platform chemicals, animal feed, and energy carriers. A detailed description of the 10 individual projects can be found on the subpage "PhD projects".