Converting Non-Recyclable Waste into Methanol

Converting Non-Recyclable Waste into Methanol


A consortium of companies including Air Liquide, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, Enerkem, and the Port of Rotterdam has signed a project development agreement covering initial investments in an advanced waste-to-chemistry facility in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The facility will be the first of its kind in Europe to provide a sustainable alternative solution for non-recyclable wastes, converting waste plastics and other mixed wastes into syngas and then into clean methanol for use in the chemical industry and for the transportation sector. Today, methanol is generally produced from natural gas or coal.

The facility will convert up to 360,000 tons of waste into 220,000 tons (270 million liters) of ‘green’ methanol per annum. As an equivalent, this represents the total annual waste of more than 700,000 households and represents a CO2 emission savings of about 300,000 tonnes. This is twice the input capacity of Enerkem’s commercial-scale plant in Edmonton, Canada.

The initial investments will cover detailed engineering, the setup up of a joint venture, and completing the permitting process. It will be worth €9 million. The consortium aims to take the final investment decision (FID) for the estimated €200-million project later in 2018.

The plant will benefit from the infrastructure available within the Port of Rotterdam, as well as synergies with Air Liquide for supplying the required oxygen and together with AkzoNobel, the raw material hydrogen. AkzoNobel also acts as a customer for the methanol.


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