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As a society, we currently face two major challenges: securing our future energy supply by transferring from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources and reducing emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2. Only in this way can we achieve the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement; limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C in the 21st century and achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. The FOTON project addresses both challenges.

In the INTERREG project FOTON, 9 project partners have the ambition to develop high-tech systems and materials for sunlight-driven sustainable processes that contribute to a climate-neutral industry. The direct use of sunlight as an energy source for chemical processes has a number of advantages compared to the conventional use of sustainably generated electricity. First, the high energy efficiency when using sunlight directly: there is no energy loss when converting sunlight into electricity, or less energy loss if the electricity is generated in the chemical reactor itself. Transport of electricity is not necessary and direct use is made of sunlight for the local production of green hydrogen and methanol. This decentralized production prevents high costs associated with infrastructure.

Three pilot demonstrators show that sunlight can be used as a sustainable energy source for the production of green methanol and green hydrogen in a technologically efficient, energy-efficient and financially feasible way.

The research within FOTON forms the basis for the future translation into an industrial process and offers commercial opportunities for manufacturers of materials and equipment and chemical companies in the region.

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