Companies based at the Port of Antwerp consume methanol, a multi-purpose raw material that can be used in both the chemical sector and in industrial applications, on a daily basis. Methanol is usually still made from fossil-based raw materials, but the new consortium aims to change this. With their ‘power-to-methanol’ project, they seek to produce methanol in a sustainable way by reusing CO2 in combination with sustainably produced hydrogen. The demo plant, the first in Belgium to be constructed for this purpose, would be able to produce around 8,000 tons of methanol annually.
To prepare for construction, seven organizations have formed a partnership under the moniker ‘Power-to-Methanol Antwerp’. The partners, ENGIE, Oiltanking, Indaver, Fluxys, De Vlaamse Milieuholding, Port of Antwerp and INOVYN, combine their expertise for this new project. “By pooling the knowledge of different partners, we can achieve many things. We are putting Flanders on the map as a region that is fully committed to using alternative energy sources,” explains Hilde Crevits, minister of Economy, Innovation, Employment, Social Economy and Agriculture in Flanders.
Construction is planned to start in 2022 and the plant should be up and running by the end of that year. In addition to the needs of industrial players at the port, the plant may meet local demand for methanol as well. For every ton of methanol produced by the plant, one ton of CO2 emissions can be avoided. “Innovation is key to tackling climate challenges,” says port alderman Annick De Ridder. “The Port of Antwerp plays a pioneering role as a testing ground for technological and sustainable innovation.”