The world’s first 100,000-ton low-carbon green methanol plant developed by Chinese automaker Geely and resource company Henan Shuncheng Group was officially put into operation on February 21.
Methanol is a low-carbon, oxygenated, renewable fuel with high combustion efficiency. It is liquid at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure, which makes storage, transportation, and usage safer and more convenient than other forms of clean energy. “Green methanol”, or renewable methanol, is methanol manufactured using low carbon emissions from sustainable or renewable resources at scale.
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of methanol. According to Geely, if one-third of the country’s vehicles use green methanol fuel, 80 million tons of oil imports can be reduced and 132 million tons of carbon dioxide can be recovered. As early as 2012, China started piloting methanol-powered vehicles. At present, there are nearly 30,000 methanol-fueled vehicles in China, with a total operating mileage of nearly 10 billion kilometers.
Located in Anyang City, Henan Province, the methanol plant utilizes hydrogen and carbon dioxide to synthesize 110,000 tons of methanol every year, which is equivalent to the environmental impact of 160,000 mu (106 square kilometers) of forest planting area.
The plant uses an emissions-to-liquids (ETL) technology from Icelandic company Carbon Recycling International (CRI). It also implements a carbon dioxide capture and purification process that can recover carbon dioxide from industrial gas exhaust.
Eric Li, the chairman of Geely, believes that carbon dioxide, wind energy, and solar energy will be used in the future to synthesize green methanol on a large scale, which will open new paths for global energy revolution and carbon neutrality.
In addition, Shuncheng Group purchased 300 heavy-duty trucks from Geely for use as logistical vehicles. The methanol used in these vehicles comes from the new plant. It is estimated that the annual diesel consumption will be reduced by 15,000 tons, the carbon emission will be reduced by 45,000 tons, and the annual fuel cost will be saved by about 30 million yuan ($4.4 million).