Johnson Matthey has teamed up with waste-to-chemical technologies company MyRechemical to commercially develop waste-to-methanol technology, with the aim of contributing to sustainability.
Methanol is an important intermediate used in many products such as resins, plastics, insulation, and fibres. It can also be used as a transport fuel and is a potential enabler for decarbonisation. Currently, methanol is typically produced using natural gas.
The partnership will see MyRechemical integrate waste-to-chemical technology with Johnson Matthey’s proven syngas-to-methanol technology. MyRechemical is a subsidiary of green chemistry and technologies company NextChem.
The overall process will involve gasification of waste followed by conversion of resulting synthesis gas into methanol. The feedstock for MyRechemical’s technology is typically municipal solid waste (MSW), refuse derived fuel (RDF), or non-recyclable plastic waste (PW), although biomass can also be used. The waste is fed to a high temperature gasifier, where the gasification process is carried out in a pure oxygen atmosphere. The syngas generated is then cooled, compressed, purified to remove catalyst poisons, and shifted to produce syngas that is suitable for methanol production.
Methanol synthesis would be via Johnson Matthey’s methanol loop. Methanol is produced via exothermic reactions that have a limited conversion rate, requiring several passes through the reactor to generate sufficient methanol. The crude methanol produced would be distilled to provide the required grade of methanol.
Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Maire Tecnimont Group and NextChem, explained that “circular methanol…can be used in better performing, low-carbon fuels for sustainable mobility, for example for the shipping sector, and as a more sustainable product for the chemical industry.
“There is a wide and promising market for such a product, aimed at driving the industry towards the use of more sustainable feedstocks, avoiding the consumption of natural resources. This technology, which is immediately applicable, provides a concrete answer to these needs.”
John Gordon, Managing Director of Johnson Matthey, added that “alternative feedstocks such as municipal waste will play a key role in meeting net zero carbon emissions targets”.
NextChem is a subsidiary of Maire Tecnimont Group.
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