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Carbon monoxide

Produce your own carbon monoxideTailored to your business - eCOs™

Topsoe’s carbon monoxide generator – eCOs™ allows safe, efficient and reliable on-demand CO production at your own site where the gas is needed with purities as high as 99.999 vol%.

The eCOs™ technology provides increased efficiency and reliable supply by offering specialty chemicals producers, pharmaceutical companies, gas distributors and phosgene manufacturers a solution that drives their industry to continued growth.


Benefits include

  • Easy to operate for non-chemical operators
  • Production on-site and on-demand
  • Multiple sizes and purity options up to 99.999% - Grade 5.0
  • Attractive lease model - only pay per use
  • Fully replaces tube trailer or cylinder supply
  • Eliminates transportation and storage of toxic gas
  • No hazardous handling of gas during cylinder or trailer exchange

FAQ — Topsoe’s eCOs™ unit

What is an eCOs™ unit?

The name eCOs™ stands for “electrolytic carbon monoxide solution”, and the heart of an eCOs™ unit is a solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC). At elevated temperatures, this cell efficiently reduces CO2 to CO through the electrochemical process of electrolysis.

An eCOs™ unit is the ideal solution for any carbon monoxide user, who today is relying on having their CO trucked or shipped onto the production site. The carbon monoxide generator allows for plant capacities that match the demand for typical cylinder or tube trailer users. The modular containerized design allows for a compact design and a foot print that in many cases is comparable to the tube trailer loading bay. The eCOs™ unit is delivered as a stand-alone unit with power, CO2 and product gas connections.

How is the unit operated?

The eCOs™ unit is fully automated and easy to operate. The user-friendly interface with a computer connected to the unit allows production changes, starting and stopping by the click of a button - the solution does not require any dedicated personnel. The interface also allows for scripting or tie-in to existing control infrastructure.

What are safety measures in an eCOs™ unit?

Due to the inherent nature of the electrolysis technology, production will stop immediately when power is cut. Very little carbon monoxide is stored in the eCOs™ unit at any given point in time, so once the production is stopped, the unit is quickly vented and safe to enter. In the unlikely event of CO leakage inside the eCOs™ unit, sensors (hardwired) will detect the leak and immediately cut the power to the carbon monoxide production (electrolysis stacks).

What is CO2 consumption and energy duty for conversion of CO2 to CO?

The total energy consumption on an eCOs™ unit is 6-8 kWh per Nm3 CO produced. On the process side of the SOEC, where CO2 is converted into a mixture of CO and CO2, purified and recycled, 1 Nm3 of CO2 produces 1 Nm3 of CO. On the oxygen side of the SOEC, a flushing gas is needed. If process air is used as flushing gas, there is no additional CO2 usage. If process air is not available or if higher purity CO is required, up to two Nm3 of CO2 per Nm3 of CO produced is consumed as flushing gas.

What are the CO2 feedstock requirements?

The unit is designed to operate on food or beverage grade CO2. Additional water in the CO2 feed can be tolerated, but will increase the amount of H2 in the product gas. Any CO2 source can in principle be used, but evaluation might be required for specific impurities. Topsoe can facilitate specialized CO2 purification solutions.

What is the carbon monoxide purity?

Standard unit layout offers 99.0 vol% pure CO, with major impurity being CO2. CH4, O and H2O contaminants typically below 5ppm. With special modifications, eCOs™ units can deliver purities as high as 99.999 vol% (Grade 5.0).

How does the conversion of CO2 to CO work?

The SOEC is an energy conversion technology that can be operated to store or convert electricity and carbon dioxide as carbon monoxide and oxygen, with high efficiency and high reaction rates. The SOEC consists of three parts: an electrolyte, an anode, and a cathode that are built of various ceramic (or solid oxide) materials. A cathode of an electrochemical cell is the electrode where reduction reaction occurs, and an anode is where oxidation reaction occurs. Using external electricity, SOECs are able to electrochemically convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide at the fuel electrode (cathode). At the same time, pure oxygen can be obtained at the oxygen electrode (anode). The two electrolysis products, carbon monoxide and oxygen, are formed on each side of the cell.

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Sundus Cordelia Ramli

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