Project AIR—an industrial concept to produce methanol from a large variety of recovered end-of-life streams and hydrogen from electrolysis—has been awarded approximately €30 million by the Swedish Energy Agency, and is now applying for EU Innovation Fund to realize the project.
The project is being carried out by the Swedish chemical group Perstorp in cooperation with partners Uniper (Germany) and Fortum (Finland), and the aim is to reduce carbon emissions by up to half million tons annually.
Project AIR will demonstrate a highly innovate, integrated process concept for low-carbon, renewable and circular methanol production within the European energy-intensive chemical sector. Methanol is one of the most important raw materials for the chemical industry, and up until now, no competitive sources of sustainable methanol exist on the market.
The plan is to create the first-of-a-kind, large-scale, commercial, sustainable methanol plant that uses a Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) process for converting CO2, residue streams, renewable hydrogen and biomethane to methanol. The renewable hydrogen will be produced in a new electrolysis plant, which will be the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis unit installed for production in the chemical sector.
In March earlier this year, Project Air was approved for the next level of evaluation within the frame of the EU Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest funding programs for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies.
Project AIR aims to substitute all the 200,000 tons of fossil methanol that Perstorp uses annually in Europe as a raw material for chemical products. The project would support companies downstream in the value chains in their efforts towards renewable/circular materials, reduced carbon footprints, and in their ability to offer sustainable, affordable products.
If completed, Project AIR will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 500,000 tons annually. The goal is to start producing sustainable methanol in 2025. A final decision on what projects will be funded by the EU Innovation Fund is expected later this year.