Celanese secures low carbon CCU methanol certification

US-based specialty material solutions provider Celanese has been recognised for its low-carbon methanol after it showcased a greater than 70% reduction in carbon footprint compared to fossil-based methanol production.

The company was recognised by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) for its use of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) to produce low-carbon methanol as part of its Fairway Methanol joint venture with Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Granted under the ISCC Carbon Footprint Certification system, the newly certified methanol is produced using CO2 industrial emissions that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere.

Low carbon hydrogen is then combined with the CO2 to convert it into a methanol building block used for downstream production.

“We’re proud to be the first to receive ISCC CFC certification for CCU materials, which allows us to strengthen our ability to offer customers a wider range of lower-carbon footprint products,” said Kevin Norfleet, global sustainability director, acetyls at Celanese.

According to the company, the ISCC CFC system verifies CO2 capture and tracks sustainable feedstocks in the CCU process.

Jan Henke, Director ISCC and MEO Carbon Solutions said that the award comes on the back of an increased interest by companies to certify the carbon footprint of their products.

“For us, the integration of CCU and CCS into the new certification is only the start. Step-by-step, we will optimise the scheme together with our stakeholders and take into account existing standards,” he added.

Three main technologies are used for the conversion of CO2 to methanol: direct CO2 hydrogenation, dry reforming and tri-reforming of methane.

CO2 hydrogenation to methanol involves combining CO2 and hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst at high temperature and pressure.

The catalyst helps the conversion of the gases into methanol through a series of chemical reactions. At first the CO2 and hydrogen molecules adsorb onto the catalyst surface before undergoing transformation in carbon monoxide and water, eventually forming methanol.

Green methanol can be produced when the hydrogen is generated using renewable energy through electrolysis. 

Methanol is increasingly being looked at as a way to reduce the emissions potential of transport fuel, especially in the maritime sector.

Using methanol produced either from biomass or captured carbon and hydrogen from renewable power, can reduce CO2 emissions from container ships by 60% to 95% compared with conventional fuels, the Methanol Institute said.

Driven by its use in construction and manufacturing, global methanol demand stands at around 100m tonnes per year.

A 16,000 TEU container ship consumes 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes annually, according to the Methanol Institute. Newly released data on the methanol market reveals that global methanol consumption is expected to reach $77.6bn by the end of 2032.

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