Categories: EuropePublished On: 27.03.2019331 words1.7 min read

Port of Antwerp is starting the year with an ambitious new project. By bringing various players in the port area together for sustainable production of methanol – an important raw material in the port – it is taking the next step in the transition to alternative energy sources and a carbon-neutral port.

Innovation will be key to the success and economic feasibility of this project, by combining different activities already present within the port platform such as electricity generation, the fuel industry and the chemical industry. The project is complex and challenging, but will be a “first” for Belgium.

Essential for the port

Methanol is an important raw material with multiple uses in the chemical industry, and also has many applications outside of it. With such a large chemical industry inside the port area, this substance is essential for the day-to-day operation of the port. Methanol is the starting point for all sorts of chemical processes used on a daily basis by the industrial players in the port. The port of Antwerp uses around 300,000 tonnes of methanol annually for chemical processes and fuel production: everything from insulation panels to fuel additives.

From fossil sources to sustainably produced fuel

However, methanol is currently obtained from fossil sources that can ultimately run out. By helping to introduce a new production process Port of Antwerp is now taking practical steps towards making the port more sustainable.

“In practical terms we will produce methanol from waste CO2 and sustainably generated hydrogen,”explains Didier Van Osselaer, project manager at Port of Antwerp. “The waste CO2 will be collected by a new process called Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU) in which at least some of the CO2 emissions are recovered. This CO2 is then combined with hydrogen generated on a sustainable basis using green energy in a new electrolysis plant. These two processes – CCU and electrolysis – together form the perfect basis for producing sustainable methanol.”

Smaller footprint, less emissions . . . . . . 

. . . . . .continue reading the article on the Port of Antwerp website