Danielle Bochove wrote an article for Bloomberg titled A Green Methanol Pioneer Finally Has a Market (January 24, 2023).

« The accelerating climate crisis and heightened concerns about energy security have created a surge in interest in green methanol, which is made by synthesizing green hydrogen—hydrogen created using renewable electricity—with renewable or recycled carbon dioxide. If the CO2 comes from biogenic sources, like agriculture or forestry waste, the resulting product is called biomethanol. If it’s captured from other industrial processes or even directly from the air, e-methanol is produced. Both are considered green. »

« By 2027, the production of e-methanol and biomethanol is poised to reach more than 8 million metric tons per year, according to the Washington, DC-based Methanol Institute trade group. »

« diesel is the main reason shipping accounts for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Methanol can lower that footprint by up to 95%, according to the Methanol Institute, if it’s green methanol that’s made using clean inputs. Today, methanol is typically made using fossil fuels—predominantly natural gas. »

« Large ships are too heavy, and travel too far, to run on batteries »

« One hurdle for e-methanol is cost. Depending how it’s produced, it can be three to four times more expensive than diesel-based marine fuels »

« Green methanol has some physical advantages over other e-fuels that could be considered for shipping, including hydrogen and ammonia. Unlike hydrogen, it’s liquid at ambient temperatures and pressure, making it easier to ship and more efficient to store. While ammonia can also be made from green hydrogen—e-ammonia—it’s highly toxic and requires upgrades to store safely. In contrast, methanol is biodegradable and can be handled much like gasoline, requiring fewer retrofits or infrastructure changes and making it much safer if it spills, says Greg Dolan, chief executive officer of the Methanol Institute. »

« As part of Maersk’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2040, it plans to introduce 19 container ships by 2025 capable of running on e-methanol as well as biodiesel (a supply hedge)… Last October, Shanghai-based Cosco disclosed that it had ordered a dozen methanol-burning ships. »

« The developments are good news for CRI and its growing list of competitors, including Orsted and European Energy, both based in Denmark…  CRI, based in Kopavogur, a town near Reykjavik, says it has 180 active inquiries from companies and governments interested in producing sustainable e-methanol. “We have technology that has been deployed, and is ready to be deployed, en masse,” Chief Commercial Officer Kristjana Kristjansdottir said… In 2006, the founders of Carbon Recycling International Ltd. [CRI] saw an opportunity to use Iceland’s abundant geothermal power, fed by the underground rivers of magma that heat the Arctic nation’s groundwater, to create “electrified” methanol, a green alternative to fossil fuel. … The facility, opened in 2012, was the first in the world to produce e-methanol; CRI used renewable geothermal power from Svartsengi to separate hydrogen from water and combined it with recycled carbon dioxide captured from the geothermal plant to make the fuel. By 2015, annual e-methanol production reached 4,000 metric tons (1.1 million gallons). The operation helped prove the technology but not at a big enough scale to be profitable in what was still a nascent market. In 2019, CRI shuttered the plant to focus on pilot projects elsewhere. »

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