Potential market

SECTION I: The product

1a The innovation potential of this product is related to: 

  • Technology-driven innovation (under the influence of the development of science – the market is not ready for the product)
  • Market-driven innovation (as a result of market surveys, the market expects the product)
  • Replacement of existing product
  • Product related to cost reduction
  • Radical new product
  • Other, what…
The innovation potential of this product is related to market-driven innovation and cost reduction.
- Market-driven innovation: nowadays, there is a growing awareness that energy must be produced with significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrogen is often referred to as a potential pollution-free energy carrier and Sorption Enhanced steam Reforming (SER) of natural gas is considered to be the most promising technology for H2 production. Therefore, it is a major challenge to develop materials with high CO2 sorption capacity and long life time in SER conditions, resulting in high conversion of natural gas to hydrogen. The proposed product meets this challenge and gets in this market offering innovative technology that panders to the market demand for high efficiency and low cost regarding CO2 removal. 

- Product-related to cost reduction: The SER concept combines both reforming reaction and in situ CO2 separation in order to increase the efficiency of the conventional Steam Reforming process. The development of a sorbent material, like CaO-Ca12Al14O33 (85-15 wt%), with constant capture and regeneration ability is the key point for the economical and waste management efficiency of the process.


1b What added value for end-users does the product hold?
• higher quality
• Better technical characteristics
• Other …
The added value of the proposed material can be found in the specific properties and the advantages of using CaO-Ca12Al14O33 (85-15 wt%) in SER process. More specifically, the new material : 

- exhibits high CO2 sorption capacity and long life-time in SER process . The active component of the material is CaO, while Ca12Al14O33 provides a stable framework inhibiting sintering and deactivation of CaO. The new material shows a low tortuosity in its pore system resulting in a decreased resistance in CO2 access to the active sites.

- has a wide range of applications, since it presents long life time for high temperature processes

- results in the economic performance of the SER system. The highly exothermic CO2 sorption reaction can in situ supply the endothermic reforming reaction demands without considering the heat transfer barriers. Moreover, CaO is a low cost and abundant material, because it can be derived from a range of naturally occurring precursors. At the same time, with the use of CaO-Ca12Al14O33, the necessity of downstream purification steps decreases due to the low CO2 content (3-4%) at the reformer exit.

1c What is the Unique Sales Proposition of the potential product?
Various materials have been proposed as CO2 sorbents in SER process. However, they dont present stability and/or  high sorption capacity. 

Unique Sales Proposition:

“The new material is suitable for an efficient SER process, exhibiting constant high CO2 capture and regeneration ability, resulting in the economical and waste management efficiency of the process”

SECTION 2: The Market


2a What is the target market for the product?  

National ¨

European ¨

Global x

Please describe the characteristics of your target market.

The product is addressed to the global market of petrochemical industry, which employs natural gas as raw material to produce hydrogen, among other products. About 3000 petrochemical plants with 9000 personnel in 4500 locations, are  operative. The largest units are located in Japan, China, India, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, UK, France, Germany, Italy and USA. By 2018, 60 percent of the petrochemical growth is likely to take place in Asia, with China accounting for about one-third of the growth.


2b How the product is characterized from the following options? Number of companies producing similar products in the field. 

• Base – applied by all companies in the industry

• Leading – applied by a single or limited number of competitive companies

• Key –at a development stage, but has already proven its potential

This innovative sorbent material is a key product. It is currently at a development stage, but has already proven its high potential for industrial application. There is no company that produces the same product. However, there are various competing products, destined for SER process. The competition is between about 260 companies, operating worldwide. From comparative analysis of the competing products, it is clear that the proposed material offers higher performance and lower energy cost.


2c What type of market demand will be satisfied? 

• Existing demand – the market is already developed

• hidden (latent) demand – the market has yet to be developed

The product is addressed to an existing market demand, which belongs to the industrial world. In detail, petrochemical plants across the globe are in great need of a new sorbent material for the efficient and economical removal of CO2 via the Steam Reforming process.

2d What is the current stage of the product’s market life cycle? 

• Implementation, implementation in production (leading to a radically new product offers)

• Growth (rapid spread within the industry or outside it)

• maturity (parameters of the technical characteristics of manufactured products reached their maximum, higher-grade products can be manufactured on the basis of technological substitution)

The proposed material is considered to be in the implementation phase of the product’s market life cycle, since it exhibits innovative technology in this field. It is to be noted that global hydrogen production via Steam Reforming of natural gas has been monotonically increasing over the last years and thus the need for an efficient CO2 sorbent material becomes a key environmental issue.

2e Strategic partnerships (existing or potential).
Potential partnerships could be mainly established on the basis of targeted communication of the proposed product to the market, and more specifically, with international petrochemical companies.

SECTION 3: The Competition

3a What is the competition within your target market?
Studies for the improvement of the structure of the adsorbent materials are offered by a limited number of research teams worldwide. Yet, most of these research teams conduct these studies for scientific purposes within the framework of a research program and not as a commercialized service. 

Moreover, there are not companies that produce the same product, but only companies that produce alternative products for CO2 adsorption. These companies are distributed worldwide, and make similar products, such as lithium oxides, calcium oxides, dolomites, limestones, etc. The competition has reached high levels and tends to grow because of the urgent need for the industrial application of an efficient SER system, which will produce high quality ‘green’ fuel (hydrogen) with low energy cost and CO2 emissions.

3b What competitive advantages will the introduction of the new product ensue? 

• lower prices based on lower production costs

• product differentiation (uniqueness of the product proposal)

The proposed material provided by the Laboratory of Petrochemical Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering, A.U.Th. has a number of advantages in relation to its competitors. The introduction of the new product will ensue cost leadership due to technological choices made, that involve also a meaningful differentiation of the product.


3c Potential products relate to the following price range: 

• High price range

• Average price range

• Low price range

Low – Average price range. Considering products of the same power band, the material provides higher CO2 sorption capacity and longer life time and will be priced according to the client’s specific needs.


3d Potential products will be marketed: 

• To regulated markets (e.g. heat supply, water supply, universal telecommunication services, agricultural products, fishing industry, architectural services)

• To markets operating on the principle of free negotiation between agents on the market

The product is addressed to markets operating on the principle of free negotiation between agents.


SECTION 4: Indicators


Estimated cost of the new products 5000 E/tn
Expected market volume (potential / maximum number of users) 3000
Expected sales volume 180
Expected market share of the company (proportion between sales and total company sales in the relevant market) 6%

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The present industrial production of hydrogen, based on fossil fuels, contributes in green-house gas ( CO2) emissions and in wasteful energy consumption. Research has been recently focused to an alternative concept, which combines both reforming reaction and in situ CO2 separation in order to increase the efficiency of the current process. Such process is known as Sorption Enhanced Reforming (SER). The presence of a CO2 sorbent material in the reformer reactor boosts the feedstock (natural gas) conversion and leads to higher product quality. Development of a sorbent material with constant capture and regeneration ability is the key point for the economical and waste management efficiency of the process.

The scientific result focuses on the development of a CaO-based CO2 sorbent with high sorption capacity and long life-time for high temperature applications, such as SER. The optimum CO2 sorbent was found to be CaO-Ca12Al14O33 (85-15 wt%). The active component of the material is CaO while Ca12Al14O33 provides a stable framework inhibiting deactivation of CaO.

A Scanning Electron Microscopy, SEM, study of CaO-Ca12Al14O33 (85:15) revealed that this sorbent material can be visualized as consisting of a number of small grains (Fig 1). The macropores surrounding these grains facilitate the gas diffusion to the various grains.

Fig 1. SEM micrograph of the CO2 sorbent material CaO-Ca12Al14O33 (85:15)


X-ray Diffraction, XRD, was also employed to study the crystal phases which are present in this new sorbent material. The XRD pattern is shown in Figure 2. All characteristic peaks of CaO (2θ = 32.2, 37.35, 53.85, 64.15, 67.3) and Ca12Al14O33 (2θ = 33.41, 41.21, 55.22, 57.52) were clearly detected. The absenceof any other Ca-Al mixed phases or hydrated mixed structures proved the formation of the desired CaO-Ca12Al14O33.

Fig 2. XRD pattern of the CO2 sorbent material CaO-Ca12Al14O33 (85:15)

The concept of Sorption Enhanced Reforming,SER, is based on Le Chatelier’s principle, according to which the conversion of reactants to products and the rate of the forward reaction in an equilibrium controlled reaction can be increased by selectively removing some of the reaction products from the reaction zone.

In SER this principle is applied by using a CO2 sorbent (e.g. CaO) (reaction 3) in order to shift reaction (2) and consequently reaction (1) to hydrogen production side. As the sorbent is effectively consumed in reaction 3, the process is inherently dynamic in operation, requiring a regeneration step. In addition, the sorbent must maintain its activity through many cycles for the process to be economically viable.


CH4 + H2O -> CO + 3H2     ΔH298K  = 206,2kJ / mol (1)

CO + H2O – >CO2 + H2    ΔH298K = – 41,2 kJ / mol (2)

CaO + CO2 -> CaCO3   ΔH298K =- 178 kJ / mol  (3)

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