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Seven partners, ENGIE, Fluxys, Indaver, INOVYN, Oiltanking, Port of Antwerp and the Flemish Environmental Holding (VMH), have set up a consortium for the production of sustainable methanol, an essential and multi-usable basic raw material for the chemical sector. At the end of 2022, a pilot installation at chemical company INOVYN is scheduled to be launched to produce 8,000 tonnes of sustainable methanol annually on the basis of captured CO2 and hydrogen. In this way, at least as many tonnes of CO2 emissions can be avoided. The project is a first for our country.

Methanol is an essential multi-purpose raw material for the chemical sector and also has many other industrial applications. At present, methanol is produced from fossil raw materials. The ‘power-to-methanol’ project sets the production of methanol on a new track and is therefore a first for Belgium. The aim is to produce sustainable methanol by reusing captured CO2 in combination with sustainably produced hydrogen.

A consortium with international players and the government of Flanders must take the necessary preparatory steps to build a demo installation by 2022. INOVYN, a subsidiary of chemical company INEOS, is making a site available in the port of Antwerp and offering expertise on electrolysers and the operation of chemical installations. Sector companies Oiltanking and Indaver are providing expertise on the logistical aspects of methanol production and the storage and capture of CO2, respectively.

8,000 tonnes fewer CO2 emissions
If everything goes according to plan, construction of the demo installation on the INOVYN site can start in 2022. This pilot plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2022 and will be able to produce approximately 8,000 tonnes of sustainable methanol annually. This will enable the installation to meet part of the local demand for methanol as a basic molecule for chemistry. Moreover, in the future, methanol can also be used as a sustainable fuel with minimal emissions of harmful substances, for example for tugboats and for normal road traffic. In this way, at least as many tonnes of CO2 emissions can be avoided per tonne of methanol produced.

1 million euros of Flemish support
Due to the high degree of innovation, the complexity and size of the project, there is a need for preparatory studies to map out the economic and technical feasibility of the installation in detail and to prepare and then implement the planned investment to best effect. At the proposal of the Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits, the government of Flanders has decided to financially support this study with an amount of 1,074,480 euros, or 50% of the project budget for the current study phase.