Enerkem, a producer of bio-methanol from mixed waste at commercial scale, and Dimeta, a joint venture between the two of the largest off-grid energy suppliers, are initiating feasibility studies for the development of two large-scale projects that will convert waste into renewable and recycled carbon dimethyl ether (DME).
DME is a clean-burning fuel that can support decarbonization of the off-grid energy sector, including heating, cooking, transport and industrial applications. As DME is chemically similar to Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), it can be blended with it up to 20% and dropped-in to existing LPG supply chains, providing a seamless pathway to reducing emissions from the more than 200 million tonnes of LPG used for energy each year globally.
The projects are expected to be located in Northwest Europe and in the Gulf Coast of the United States, with each project anticipated to produce approximately 165,000 tonnes of renewable and recycled carbon DME per year from mixed residual waste.
The impact of the DME produced from the two projects combined would be the equivalent of significantly reducing the carbon footprint of more than one million LPG-heated homes, when it is blended in with LPG.
In recent months, Dimeta and Enerkem successfully completed pre-feasibility studies for these projects and are now moving into the feasibility phase—targeting the start of Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) next year.
In addition to its commercial demonstration scale facility in operation in Alberta, Canada, Enerkem is currently involved in the development and building of new commercial scale waste-to-methanol facilities in both Canada and Europe. Enerkem will use the design and development of these facilities as the basis for the design of these new projects, combined with an additional methanol-to-DME synthesis step integrated at the end of the process.
The two DME projects with Enerkem build upon the announcement of the first of a kind waste-to-DME plant spearheaded by Dimeta in the United Kingdom, which is set to be operational in 2025. The projects with Enerkem are a key part of achieving Dimeta’s goal of creating more than 300,000 tonnes of sustainable DME production capacity by 2027.
Established in February 2022, Dimeta is a joint venture between SHV Energy and UGI International, developed to further the production and use of renewable & recycled carbon dimethyl ether (DME) a low-carbon sustainable liquid gas. The organization has a goal to create 300,000 tonnes of renewable & recycled carbon DME production capacity by 2027.
In 2022, Dimeta announced its first commercial production plant in the United Kingdom, which will be operational in 2025 and produce more than 50,000 tonnes of sustainable DME made from waste. Subsequent plants are in development in Europe and the United States.
Founded in 2000, Enerkem develops and commercializes its gasification technology transforming non-recyclable waste into biofuels, low-carbon fuels and circular chemicals for hard-to-abate sectors, including sustainable aviation and marine fuels. A large-scale facility based on Enerkem’s waste-to-methanol platform is under construction in Québec, Canada, and is scheduled to start operations in 2025. In Tarragona, Spain, Enerkem’s technology is at the heart of the Ecoplanta project which will produce biomethanol and circular methanol from non-recyclable waste.