Decarbonisation Technology - May 2023 Issue


CO 2 -to-methanol

• Established technology and well-understood chemistry • Abundant sources of fossil or renewable feedstock (coal, natural gas, biomass)

• Utilises captured CO 2 as a feedstock, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions • Can be coupled with renewable energy sources • Technology has less Opex by less boiling water consumption due to lower heat generation in the reactor • Single reactor which reduces Capex compared to more complex syngas systems. • Less by-products also requiring less Capex and Opex for distillation of the methanol product • Efforts of many laboratories to improve of CO 2 to methanol catalysts, which will allow to have a higher conversion per step and with less recycle of the unconverted gas • Capex reduction is the use of CO 2 recovery from combined cycled of natural gas, or other flue gas sources • Requires efficient CO 2 capture and purification technologies • Catalyst development is still ongoing • Can be energy-intensive depending on the hydrogen source • Potential to produce methanol from waste CO 2 sources • Increased demand for carbon-neutral fuels and chemicals • Integration with carbon utilisation and recycling technologies • High capital costs for CO 2 capture and utilisation infrastructure • Dependence on government policies and incentives to support development • Uncertain market demand for carbon- neutral methanol products



• Feedstocks can be carbon-intensive • Process requires large amounts of energy • CO 2 emissions from process


• Integration with carbon capture and storage technologies • Utilisation of renewable energy sources for hydrogen production • Development of more efficient catalysts and reactor designs • Competition from other methanol production methods (e.g. bio-based) • Uncertain regulatory landscape and carbon pricing policies • Potential for hydrogen supply constraints


Table 2 (Wu-Sun & Kung, 1994), (IRENA and the Methanol Institute, 2021)

use CO 2 emissions from a local cement factory as feedstock, and the methanol will be sold to local customers for use as a fuel and chemical feedstock. The company estimates that the plant will cost around €20 million ($23 million) to build and will produce methanol at around €500-600 ($580-700) per ton. • LanzaTech in the US has developed a CO 2 -to-ethanol conversion process that uses waste gases from industrial processes as a feedstock. The company estimates that its process can produce ethanol at around $1.50

CO 2 -to-methanol conversion process that uses a copper-based catalyst and a novel reactor design to improve the efficiency of the conversion process. The researchers estimate that their process can produce methanol at around $500-$600 per ton, which is higher than the current market price for methanol but lower than the estimated production cost for previous CO 2 -to-methanol conversion processes. • In Sweden, Carbon Clean Solutions is building a commercial-scale CO 2 -to-methanol plant with a capacity of 5,000 tons per year. The plant will


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