Conference Report 2020 (en)
The 8th International Conference on "Fuel Science – From Production to Propulsion" organized by FSC was held from June 23 to 25 as an online conference since face-to-face meetings were unfortunately not possible this year due to the current situation of the spread of COVID-19.Copyright: FSC
More than 300 participants from all over the world took the opportunity to discuss the topics of synthesis, production, combustion and socio-economic aspects of fuels based on renewable resources. Besides well-established fuels based on Biomass, the reoccurring field of fuels derived from carbon dioxide as well as from renewable electricity and of course the combination of both, the bio-hybrid fuels, were presented by international speakers. The program also involved a poster session, which had to take place virtually this year. The digital realization worked quite well, and we think about transferring some of the experiences we made to our conference next year. But of course, we hope to welcome you back to Aachen in person again to catch up the networking we missed out so much this year as well as to enjoy the nice weather Aachen is so famous for.
1st Day, Tuesday, June 23Copyright: FSC
After the welcome and introduction by Stefan Pischinger and RWTH’s rector Ulrich Rüdiger, the first Keynote Session started with a presentation by Sophie Biré from Total about the company’s view on bio- and e-fuels as key aspects for a sustainable mobility. Total presented a smart combination of electrification, biofuels, natural gas and hydrogen to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. The upcoming diversification of the energy sources for mobility is a big chance but also a big challenge for all stakeholders. The second keynote was given by Benedikt Stefánsson, who dialed in from Iceland to present the synthesis of E-Methanol by Carbon Recycling International. CRI built and operates the 1st CO2-to-Methanol plant in industrial scale since 2012 and spreads their technology for "Emissions-to-Liquids" all over the world. During the day many interesting presentations within the field of "System Perspective" followed. In the late afternoon, respectively early morning for the speakers, a session on "Future Energy Systems" was held by our partner university the University of Alberta, Canada. This session was introduced by the Keynote Session by Amit Kumar from the University of Alberta followed by lectures from Bob Koch, Dave Bressler and Dominic Sauvageau. They proposed future pathways for production of regenerative hydrogen from biomass refineries in Alberta. Koch presented the importance of integrated research for a co-optimization of alternative fuels and engines as well as an integrated control system for operating those. Bressler focused on the improvisation of techniques tuning agricultural debris into usable fuels. Sauvageau highlighted the possibility of bioconversion of waste methane into useful biofuels. On that basis they reinforced the urge of support by political policies and the price tag we put on energy to make it attractive. The day ended with the Poster Party, where the participants had the opportunity to discuss the posters in separate video chats with the authors.
2nd Day, Wednesday, June 24Copyright: FSC
The second morning started with a Keynote session dedicated to pathways to produce renewable fuels. Bert Weckhuysen from Utrecht University showed how to derive hydrogen or methane with renewable electricity with usage of metal catalysts for an electrocatalytically reduction of carbon dioxide. Next to these topics, Keynotes were held by Korneel Rabaey from Ghent University about "Biotechnological Upgrading of C1 Compounds – from Fuel to Food" und and Jan Wery from FeedstocksUnited with the topic "Trioxane Rather Than Other One-Carbon Compounds as Feedstock in Fermentations". After a short break the conference went on in two parallel sessions: "Fuel Synthesis" and "Fuel Combustion".
In the afternoon, the lectures on "Fuel Synthesis" and "Fuel Combustion" continued. After that a session regarding "Bio-hybrid Fuels" that builds the aim of the Fuel Science Center was held. The lectures showed insights into the current bio-hybrid fuel candidates, 1,3-dioxolane, 1,3-dioxane and Diethoxymethan, as well as one of the combustion concepts which is investigated at the FSC. This session was concluded by the Keynote of Gregg Beckham about "Performance-Advantaged Bioproducts from Lignin and Carbohydrates" where he explained his studies about deriving useful and high-value materials from biomass and waste plastics. Due to the cancellation of the conference dinner, we hope that everyone enjoyed a delightful beer at home, and we look forward to next year’s conference dinner with interesting talks and delicious food.
3rd Day, Thursday, June 25Copyright: FSC
The last day started with a Keynote Session held by Marcus Aldén from Lund University. His presentation was entitled "Development and Application of Laser Diagnostic Techniques for Studies of Energy Conversion Processes". He presented the possibilities of laser diagnostics for combustion characterization and the importance to face real-world applications. A further Keynote lecture was given by Henry Curran from NUI Galway about "Exploring the foundations of chemical kinetic models: developing a core C0-C5 mechanism". He explained how to derive detailed kinetic mechanism for hydrocarbon fuels. After this, Stefan Pischinger gave an overview over the highlights from last year and the awards that were won by FSC members. Subsequently, the status presentations of FSC were given. Finally, the poster prizes were awarded. Anika Linzenich, Chair of Communication Science, convinced with her poster on "Environmentally friendly but uncomfortable to use? Benefit and barrier perceptions of alternative fuels" (co-authors: Katrin Arning, Martina Ziefle) and was awarded with the Best Poster Award. The presentation price of this year’s conference was won by Jan Wiesenthal, Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, for his presentation about "Versatile Catalyst Systems and Flexible Reaction Pathways for the adaptable synthesis of bio-hybrid fuels". The whole FSC-Team congratulates the winners!
Time to conclude
Taking a look back, the 8th International Conference doesn’t fall short in comparison with the previous conferences, even though it had to be held as an online conference. The organizers thank everyone who was part of the event and we are already looking forward to our 9th International Conference, taking place from June 22 to 24, 2021 in Aachen. Once again, researchers who are interested in an interdisciplinary perspective on the development of novel biofuels and other alternative fuels are invited to take part. Vital discussions, diverse networking opportunities and a lot of valuable input are the main characteristics of FSC's International Conference, and we will be happy to share all these benefits with you again next year in hope to catch up on the missed networking event and conference dinner.