New milestone in sustainable methanol production in the port of Antwerp

New milestone in sustainable methanol production in the port of Antwerp

Consortium of 7 players established to build 'power-to-methanol' demonstration plant

This week, the port of Antwerp is taking another important step forward in the transition to alternative energy sources and a sustainable, low-carbon circular port. ENGIE, Fluxys, Indaver, INOVYN, Oiltanking, Port of Antwerp and the PMV – investment company of the Flemish Government - have established a consortium for the sustainable production of methanol, an  essential raw material used by industry in the Port. Construction of a demonstration plant at the INOVYN site in Antwerp is scheduled to start by 2022, with the aim of producing 8000 tonnes of sustainable methanol annually, thus avoiding at least an equivalent volume of CO2 emissions.

Scoop for Belgium: production of sustainable methanol

Methanol is an essential multi-purpose raw material for the chemical industry, with many applications in wider industry as well. This key raw material is indispensable to the daily operation of the port of Antwerp as the largest European integrated energy and chemical cluster in the region. Currently, methanol is produced using fossil raw materials. The 'power-to-methanol' project aims to replace this with sustainably produced methanol, a first for Belgium. This methanol will be produced from captured CO2 and sustainably generated hydrogen. The carbon dioxide is captured by means of Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU), through which CO2 emissions are partially recovered and then combined with hydrogen generated on the basis of green energy produced from renewable electricity.

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Strong consortium with international players and the Flemish Government

This week, a formal consortium called 'Power-to-Methanol Antwerp BV' was set up. In this important next phase of the project, the consortium will be working on all the necessary steps to prepare for the expected construction of the demonstration plant.

Each partner brings its own expertise to the project. For example, ENGIE has its knowledge of the electricity market; Oiltanking provides advice on the logistical aspects of methanol production and storage; and Indaver provides expertise on CO2 capture. Fluxys brings infrastructure experience and specific expertise with regard to the certification of green gases. The Flemish Environmental Holding Company (Vlaamse Milieu Holding) will provide part of the financing, while Port of Antwerp bridges the gap between private companies and the Belgian Government. As well as providing a site for the demonstration plant, INOVYN (subsidiary of INEOS) contributes to the project with the supply of hydrogen along with its chemical and electrolysis expertise.

Demonstration plant, good for 8000 tonnes less CO2 emissions

In the subsequent phase, due to start in 2022, a demonstration plant will be built on the INOVYN site at Lillo. The plant is expected to be operational in the same year.

The demonstration plant could produce up to 8000 tonnes of sustainable methanol. Future development could see increased volumes made available for wider industry use, including as a sustainable fuel for water and road transport. For every tonne of produced methanol at least an equivalent volume of CO2 emissions can be avoided.

Port alderman Annick De Ridder declared: "Our future prosperity will be sustainable, or there will be no prosperity. Innovation is key to tackling climate change. In Flanders we have a tradition of innovative entrepreneurship and as Port of Antwerp we play a pioneering role in serving as a testbed for technological and sustainable innovation. We combine this innovation with our strengths as a multi-industry port platform to promote promising applications such as CCU and hydrogen. In the meantime it gives a strong signal that Port of Antwerp is keeping to its transition agenda and working hard towards it, even during the Covid-19 crisis."
Hilde Crevits, Flemish minister for the Economy, Innovation, Employment, Social Economy and Agriculture: "Innovation is essential for the transition to a sustainable, circular economy. But collaboration is also crucial. The consortium demonstrates that by combining the know-how and expertise of different partners we can get a whole lot moving. As the Flemish minister for Innovation I can only be proud of this achievement. In this way we are putting Flanders on the map as a region that is going ahead fully with alternative sources of energy. I am glad to support this initiative through the Flemish Environmental Holding Company."
A spokesperson for the industrial partners commented: "The formal continuation of the ‘power-to-methanol’ project in the Port of Antwerp confirms the conviction of this group of cross-industrial players to pursue our cooperation. The project shows in a very practical and innovative way the importance of industrial symbiosis as part of the energy transition pathway. The different partners have the ambition to advance the energy transition and to strengthen their presence in the Port of Antwerp not only for the business of today but also for that of tomorrow."
Fact sheet - Partners Power-to-Methanol - UK.pdf 733 KB

 

About Port of Antwerp

As Europe's second-largest port, the Port of Antwerp is a major lifeline for the Belgian economy: more than 300 line services to over 800 destinations ensure global connectivity. The Port of Antwerp annually handles around 238 million tonnes of international maritime freight, and is home to Europe's largest integrated chemical cluster. The Port of Antwerp accounts, directly and indirectly, for a total of around 143.000 jobs and more than €20 billion added value.  

True to its mission 'a home port vital for a sustainable future’, Antwerp Port Authority aims to flexibly respond to a rapidly evolving maritime market, allowing the port to continue playing its role as a leading world port. The emphasis in this respect is on cooperation, adaptability, a strong focus on innovation and digitisation, and on sustainable added value, as well as on responsibility towards society. 

Antwerp Port Authority is a limited liability company of public law, with the City of Antwerp as sole shareholder. It employs over 1.600 people. Port alderman Annick De Ridder is chairman of the Board of Directors and Jacques Vandermeiren is CEO and President of the Executive Committee, which is responsible for the day-to-day management. www.portofantwerp.com  

The telephone number +32 492 15 41 39 is only for press inquiries. For other questions you can mail to communicatie@portofantwerp.com

Port of Antwerp
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