Hydrogenics Corporation will supply a 1MW electrolyzer and provide engineering expertise to a consortium of companies working on the European project MefCO2 (methanol fuel from CO2) in Germany. The application will take excess electricity from intermittent renewable energy sources, generate green hydrogen, and then create methanol using a low-carbon footprint production plant and carbon dioxide emissions from an existing coal-fired power plant in Essen, Germany owned by STEAG Gmbh, which operates a number of regional power plants and distributed energy facilities.
CO2 will be captured from the flue gases in a special downstream flue gas scrubber (Post-Combustion Capture, PCC). The Hydrogenics electrolyzer will produce 200 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour. The hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide will then be catalytically converted into methanol, with a daily yield of approximately one ton of methanol using approximately 1.4 tonnes of CO2.
Although a tried-and-tested process, direct methanol synthesis has not as yet been used in combination with a utility power plant and under load-flexible operations, notes project partner Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe (MHPSE). MHPSE is acting as the system integrator.
There is no difficulty to up-scaling the system, MHPSE said. Installations of up to 200 MW can be implemented relatively rapidly and efficiently operated. This kind of large-scale installation would produce up to 180,000 tons of methanol a year and thus stop emissions of up to 260,000 tons of CO2.
This project will use our most advanced PEM technology, developed specifically for utility-scale Power-to-Gas applications, and turn carbon dioxide into energy. Methanol production from green hydrogen represents a very promising way to decarbonize parts of the traditional fuel industry as well as chemical sector. Hydrogenics looks forward to the results of this energy storage demonstration project to further broaden the market for our electrolyzer technology in the production of renewable fuels.—Daryl Wilson, CEO of Hydrogenics
The MefCO2 consortium consists of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Europe; the Laboratory of Catalysis and Reaction Engineering of the National Institute of Chemistry Slovenia; the Cardiff Catalysis Institute; Carbon Recycling International; the University of Genoa; the University of Duisburg Essen; i-Deals; and Hydrogenics.
The project has a budget of €11 million (US$12.4 million) and is partially funded by a grant from the EU Horizon2020 research program managed by the Spire public-private partnership. The project will last three to four years and involves the design, building and testing of systems to demonstrate the utilization of surplus and intermittent renewable energy sources and waste CO2 for the production of methanol.