Paul Wurth (SMS group), Axens and IFPEN managers and project teams on the day of the agreement signature; Credit: Axens/Paul Wurth (SMS group)/IFPEN

On Wednesday 30 August 2023, Axens, SMS group subsidiary Paul Wurth (headquartered in Luxembourg) and IFP Energies nouvelles announced that they have signed a co-development agreement for the optimisation of the Reverse Water Gas Shift technology (RWGS) and its integration into e-fuel projects.

The parties will cooperate based on their specific backgrounds, know-how and expertise. Axens is the licensor of the Gasel® technology, an efficient Fischer-Tropsch process which converts syngas into liquid hydrocarbons, such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). Axens also brings to the collaboration its expertise of scaling up technologies from pilot to commercial scale integration and optimisation of technologies suites. 

Paul Wurth, along with its mother company SMS group, is a leading international technology partner, plant builder and equipment developer, investing in projects for the conversion of CO2 and H2 to e-fuel. Its ambition is to bring its high temperature experience on equipment, internals and material selection to the RWGS technology development and its application to e-fuel projects.

IFPEN is a major research and innovation player in the fields of energy, transport and environment. It is known in the field of catalytic process development and has studied high-temperature processes for syngas production. This know-how led to the development of a proprietary RWGS technology and will be used to optimise the reaction conditions and performances and to design the RWGS reactor technology.

The parties will collaborate to define synergies to speed-up the improved RWGS technology industrialisation and maturity level, to optimise its operating cost and output. This is considered key to bringing to the market a commercial e-fuel scheme to efficiently produce synthetic fuel to support the global demand of SAF worldwide.

Jacinthe Frecon, Process and Equipment Innovation Director at Axens, said: "Adding RWGS to Axens portfolio of technologies will enable us to propose an integrated e-fuel offer from CO2 Capture, via our DMX™ technology, to the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and we are looking forward to industrial applications in the coming months. We are excited to embark on this journey towards decarbonisation with Paul Wurth and IFPEN." 

Ludivine Piezanowski, Lead Engineer Business Development at Paul Wurth (SMS group), added: "With this collaboration, two different industries are joining forces. We are bringing together our complementary know-how to develop and industrialise a key unit (RWGS) to generate syngas for the production of e-fuels. We are very excited to work with IFPEN and Axens, two experienced and renowned companies in their industry, striving towards more sustainability. Together, I am convinced that we can contribute to setting up an innovative pathway for the e-fuel market."

António Pires da Cruz, E-Fuels Programme Manager at IFPEN, noted: "At IFPEN, we are fully committed to attaining the very ambitious targets necessary to decarbonise transport. Innovation is our backbone. For SAF production, our research drove us to proposing an integrated offer, coupling mature technologies such as Axens CO2 capture DMX™ and fuel synthesis Fischer-Tropsch Gasel™ with cutting edge RWGS. This will now benefit from co-development with Paul Wurth's equipment to upscale the full process to an industrial level."