Process development and policy implications for large scale deployment of solar-driven electrolysis-based renewable methanol production

Abiha Abbas, Kinza Qadeer, Amer Al-Hinai*, Muhammad Hazim Tarar, Muhammad Abdul Qyyum, Ala'a H. Al-Muhtaseb, Rashid Al Abri, Moonyong Lee, Rofice Dickson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using fossil fuels to meet energy demands has led to immense CO2 emissions, resulting in global warming. Efforts to capture CO2 and find renewable energy fuels have been a rapidly evolving field of science. Methanol has been widely investigated as a promising renewable fuel. In this study, three cases of renewable methanol production were evaluated to investigate the possibility of using methanol as a way of mitigating CO2 and simultaneously reducing the dependence on depleting fossil fuel resources. A rigorous techno-economic analysis of the three cases was performed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and risk involved in the production of renewable methanol by considering the market price of non-renewable methanol as a benchmark. Overall, the results indicate that considering the current market price ($ 560 per Mt) of methanol, renewable methanol production is not cost-effective. Risk analysis results further indicate that the economic risk associated with the investigated designs is between 96-100%. However, a comparison based on environmental performance reveals that the base and integrated designs are 17.5-51.3% better than the non-renewable methanol. In contrast, a 100% renewable design produces zero direct emissions. Hydrogen production price and plant scale are identified as the two crucial parameters for determining the feasibility of the process. Although the production of renewable methanol involves high risk, policy implications are discussed in this regard to pave the way for future improvements.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGreen Chemistry
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution

Cite this