- Publication date
- 1 January 2016
- Joint Research Centre
The report assesses the technological, economic and environmental performance of methanol and formic acid production processes based on captured carbon dioxide, and in particular their CO2 balance and economic competitiveness against benchmark conventional synthesis processes using fossil fuels as raw materials.The boundaries of the study include hydrogen production via an electrolyser, CO2 purification, CO2 compression and the carbon dioxide utilisation (CDU) plant itself. The technologies are modelled at the commercial scale of the existing fossil fuel plants.Overall, depending on the specific conditions of each case and in particular the source of feedstock CO2 and H2, amount and price of electricity and the price of the product; the CDU plant may be profitable and contribute at different levels to the decrease of CO2 emissions. The capacity of the CDU plant depends on the available renewable electricity that is used to power it, rather than on the demand of the product. It can be highlighted that:
- The CDU processes need to be integrated with renewables to provide electricity and steam.
- These processes generate less CO2 emissions and save fossil fuel when compared to their equivalent conventional processes.
- Lower electricity and steam prices and higher prices for the tonne of product are desirable to have processes with positive net present value.
- The demand for methanol and formic acid could increase notably, if methanol is widely used in the transport sector, and if the hydrogen economy develops.
- R & D is crucial to decrease the operational costs.