BASF and bse Engineering sign development agreement to transform CO2 and renewable electricity into methanol; power-to-methanol
BASF and bse Engineering have signed an exclusive joint development agreement for BASF to provide custom-made catalysts for a new chemical energy storage process. This process will enable the economically viable transformation of excess power and off-gas carbon dioxide into methanol in small-scale, decentralized production units.
In addition to being used as a fuel or chemical feedstock, methanol, the simplest alcohol, can serve as long-term chemical energy storage. It offers energy densities of 4.4 kWh/l—almost six times that of hydrogen—and 5.5 kWh/kg—about 20 times the specific energy of advanced Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes. Put another way, 1 cubic meter (264 gallons) of methanol offers equivalent energy storage to 222 BMW i3 EVs, each with a 21.6 kWh battery.
|Source: bse Engineering. Click to enlarge.
Renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power plants generate excess current at times when it is not needed. This excess current can often not be reasonably used, but effective usage of this excess is a factor in making power production from renewable energy sources economically viable. The new process developed by bse Engineering enables the sustainable use of current and CO2 with small-scale, decentralized production units built where the two components are generated, i.e. near power plants using renewable sources of energy as well as large-scale industrial plants producing CO2.
In the process, excess electricity is used to produce hydrogen through discontinuous electrolysis. In a second step, methanol is produced via the catalytic, exothermic reaction of CO2 and H2.
BASF’s catalysts will be used for the methanol synthesis step. These catalysts have been further tuned and adapted for this specific process to enable the efficient production of methanol.
After four years of developing the global process concept, we are now ready to enter the licensing phase of this process, with construction of the first plants starting soon. The implementation of these projects is ensured with international branch leaders of the respective process units and part-services over a reliable consortium consisting of Aker Solutions ASA, Sulzer Chemtech AG, InfraServ GmbH & Co. Knapsack KG, led by bse Engineering. We are very proud to work on the key technology catalysts with an experienced and innovative industry leader like BASF to make our vision a reality.—Christian Schweitzer, Managing Director of bse Engineering
bse engineering was part of the German project Bio-M to produced methanol from CO2 and green hydrogen produced via renewable energy. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Bio-M ran from 1 October 2015 to 30 June 2017.
bse Engineering envisions the first rollout of a 10 MW power-to-methanol plant in 2019/20.