Internal Condensation Reactor

Sumitomo Chemical Begins Operations at CO2-to-Methanol Plant

Dec. 12, 2023
The company is developing a carbon capture and utilization technology that uses CO2 to produce methanol.

Sumitomo Chemical said Dec. 12 it has completed the construction of a pilot plant in Niihama City, Japan, that will convert CO2 to methanol. The company has begun operations at the facility, which will use carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technology. Sumitomo expects to start commercial production by 2028 and to license the technology to other companies in the coming decade.

Sumitomo Chemical is developing several new CCU processes, including a technology that uses CO2 to produce methanol for use in a wide range of products. Conventional CO2-to-methanol conversion processes have faced challenges, including low yield due to the reversible nature of the reaction and catalyst degradation caused by byproduct water.

Sumitomo Chemical said it has resolved these issues through joint development with Shimane University using an internal condensation reactor (ICR). The ICR enables the condensation and separation of methanol and water within the reactor, which is impossible with conventional technologies, according to Sumitomo Chemical. This helps to improve yield, downsize equipment, and achieve higher energy efficiency, while it is also expected to prevent catalyst degradation, the company said.

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