TotalEnergies Collaborates in German Methanol Project

28.06.2021 - TotalEnergies has launched the e-CO2Met project that aims to produce methanol from green hydrogen. The French group is working on the project in Leuna, Germany, with electrolyzer manufacturer Sunfire, the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS.

The partners aim to test the combination of three processes: the use of CO2 from Total’s refinery in Leuna; the use of green hydrogen produced by high-temperature electrolysis; and subsequent methanol synthesis on the Hy2Chem scaling platform. TotalEnergies currently produces around 700,000 t/y methanol at Leuna from fossil-based raw materials.

The pilot plant in the new Fraunhofer Hydrogen Lab in the Leuna Chemical Park is the first project of the Hy2Chem scaling platform funded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt through the European Regional Development Fund.

“With the Hy2Chem platform, we can test the use of regeneratively produced hydrogen for the production of feedstock chemicals and fuels in sustainable synthesis processes on a large scale for the first time – even under the conditions of a fluctuating hydrogen stream,” explained Ulrike Junghans, who is coordinating the project at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes.

A core part of e-CO2Met is the 1 MW electrolyzer from Sunfire, which is said to have an efficiency of more than 80% for producing green hydrogen from renewable electricity and water vapor – far higher than conventional electrolyzers. As a result, the system requires significantly less electricity to produce 1kg of hydrogen.

In the next step, the green hydrogen obtained from electrolysis and highly concentrated CO2 from the refinery’s production processes will be converted into green methanol.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist