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Comment Sustainability

Johnson Matthey technology selected for climate-neutral methanol project in Chile

By Mary Page Bailey |

Johnson Matthey plc (JM; London) announced an agreement to supply cutting-edge technologies, equipment and advisory services to the world’s first methanol plant to harness energy from the wind, the Haru Oni project in Patagonia, Chile.

The Haru Oni project, which is being developed by Siemens Energy in partnership with Johnson Matthey and several other major corporations, including Porsche, will become the world’s first integrated and commercial large-scale plant to produce climate neutral e-methanol and e-gasoline. Advancing the production of e-fuels is an important step in the energy transition, as e-fuels offer similar performance to gasoline and diesel but are produced using renewable energy.

As a solutions provider for syngas decarbonisation, JM will license methanol technology and supply the engineering, catalyst and equipment for the ground breaking project. The JM designed unit will take atmospheric carbon dioxide as feedstock for the conversion to e-methanol. This carbon dioxide will be recovered by direct air capture and combined with green hydrogen (produced from water proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis). Using JM’s latest innovative catalyst, the pilot unit will further demonstrate JM’s lead in the area of green chemicals and fuels, and commitment to decarbonisation and sustainability.

In Haru Oni’s initial pilot phase, the unit will be capable of producing around 900,000 litres per year of e-methanol as early as 2022. In two further phases, capacity is then to be increased to about 55 million litres of e-fuels a year by 2024, and around 550 million litres of e-fuels by 2026, sufficient for about 220,000 gasoline vehicles at 50 litres use per week.

“We are very excited to be collaborating again with Siemens Energy for this pioneering project to convert wind energy into clean, green, net-zero chemicals and fuels for a cleaner, healthier world. It is the culmination of two years’ work, and testament to their confidence in JM’s engineering expertise and ability to successfully design and help deliver methanol plants at all scales and feedstocks”, said John Gordon, Managing Director, Johnson Matthey. “We are looking forward to this first phase of the project concluding successfully and collaborating on the next ambitious phases.”

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