CRI Touts Carbon Capture Breakthrough At Carbon-Dioxide-To-Methanol Plant

Nov. 1, 2022
Commercial scale carbon-dioxide-to-methanol plant starts production in Anyang, Henan Province, China.

Carbon Recycling International (CRI) says the commercial scale CO2-to-methanol plant has started production in Anyang, Henan Province, China, reportedly the first of its type in the world to produce methanol at this scale from captured waste carbon dioxide and hydrogen gases, according to the company. The start-up marks the end of a two-year project and months-long commissioning phase. Following sign-off by the CRI’s technical service team, plant operations are now in the hands of Shunli, the project company (majority-owned by the Henan Shuncheng Group).

The plant's production process is based on emissions-to-liquids (ETL) technology developed by CRI and first demonstrated in Iceland. The new facility reportedly can capture 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is equivalent to taking more than 60,000 cars off the road. The captured carbon dioxide is then reacted with the recovered hydrogen in CRI’s proprietary ETL reactor system with the capacity to produce 110,000 tons of methanol per year, according to the company.

This flagship plant represents “the achievement of an important milestone in the ongoing development of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technology as well as the progression in industry towards a circular carbon economy,” according to CRI. At the heart of the process is CRI’s bespoke reactor that uses specialized catalysts to convert the carbon and hydrogen feed gases into low carbon-intensity methanol. The entire unit weighs around 84 tons or the weight of a fully-loaded Boeing 737, according to the company. The reactor is mounted in a dedicated steel frame and connected to a specialized gas compressor and a distillation column that is just under 70 meters tall.

The ETL process uses emissions that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere, producing liquid methanol from carbon dioxide that is recovered from existing lime production emissions and hydrogen that is recovered from coke-oven gas. Methanol production and use has grown rapidly in China in recent years and this new production method offers an alternative to the traditional coal-based methanol currently manufactured in China, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality, according to CRI.

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