Energy Technologies

Tecnologie per l'industria e l'agricoltura

Status Title Autors Info
Status Title Autors Info
5 Combined Heat and Power Antonio Di Nardo, Marco Cavana, Pierluigi Leone
5 Decarbonization of the Cement Production Stefano Stendardo, Pierluigi Leone, Sonja Sechi
5 Decarbonization of Iron and Steel Production Stefano Stendardo, Pierluigi Leone, Sonja Sechi
5 Decarbonization of Glass Production Pierluigi Leone, Sonja Sechi, Massimo Maffucci
5 Bio-methanol Production Donatella Barisano, Elena Rozzi, Andrea Lanzini
5 Bio-ethylene Production Vittoria Fatta, Isabella Debari, Elena Rozzi, Andrea Lanzini

   Bio-methanol Production

Autors:   Donatella Barisano, Elena Rozzi, Andrea Lanzini

Technologies for industry and agriculture

Methanol is a basic product in the chemical industry used in the production of other chemical basics such as formaldehyde, acetic acid, ethylene, propylene. From the latter, it is then possible to obtain consumer products such as polymers, synthetic fibers, adhesives, paints, and others. It is also used in the production of biodiesel, anti-knock (MTBE, TAME), mixed with gasoline (M10, M15, M85), as a solvent and antifreeze.

World production of methanol exceeded 100 million tons (100 Mt/a) in 2020. Methanol is currently produced largely from natural gas (80%) and other fossil sources, but production from biomass (bio-methanol) is attracting increasing interest for limiting global warming and increasing sustainability. Bio-methanol can be produced from virgin biomass, agricultural or industrial residues (e.g. glycerol), but also from the CO2 produced by fossil fuels combustion.

The research on the production of renewable methanol is motivated by the desire to achieve the decarbonisation objectives of those sectors in which the electrification or use of H2 is currently limited - such as transport, road or sea (to be used as it is or in the form of dimethyl ether), or in the chemical industry as a raw material.

The production from biomass is based on the gasification of the raw material that is transformed into a gas (syngas) consisting of CO and H2, known as syngas. After purification and H2 enrichment, the syngas is converted into bio-methanol. The hydrogen for enrichment can be obtained through water-gas shift process or from external inputs (e.g. electrolytic H2). The former method is characterized by a limited overall efficiency, the latter by high costs.

The production of bio-methanol is still limited, with a potential capacity of around 1600 000 t/y (2000 million liters) produced mostly in the Netherlands.

In Italy, the consumption of methanol is 450-500 kt/y, almost all imported (90%) from non-EU countries and produced from natural gas. It is used in the production of formaldehyde (70%), acetic acid, MTBE, and biodiesel

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