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Vast secures approvals for solar methanol project

Manufacturing News

Vast Renewables and German energy company Mabanaft GmbH & Co. KG have received planning consent for Solar Methanol 1 (SM1), a concentrated solar thermal (CSP) powered reference plant that will produce green fuels for export.

In April Vast executed engineering contracts to complete Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for the plant, which designed to produce up to 7,500 tonnes of green methanol per annum to help decarbonise the global maritime industry.

Backed by $65 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), SM1 will utilise Vast’s proprietary 30 MW / 288 MWh CSP v3.0 equipment to generate clean, low-cost, dispatchable power with over eight hours of thermal energy storage.

CEO of Vast Craig Wood said: “Planning consent is an important milestone for this major project for Port Augusta and South Australia. SM1 will produce low-cost green fuels, which can play an important role in decarbonising the global maritime industry.

“The combination of technologies can be scaled rapidly, acting as a catalyst for a green fuels industry in Australia and around the world.”

Methanol derived from green hydrogen is already being used to power major container vessels.

The plant is will utilise a Leilac calcination plant from fellow Australian technology company Calix to capture carbon dioxide unavoidably produced in the making of cement and lime, an electrolysis plant to produce hydrogen, and a methanol plant.

Calix CEO and Managing Director Phil Hodgson said: “Capturing and using unavoidable emissions from cement and lime is an exciting option to help decarbonise multiple hard-to-abate industries.

“It is pleasing to see this innovative and collaborative project achieve another important milestone, bringing a world’s first solar methanol plant one step closer to being realised.”

The project supports South Australia’s push to develop a domestic hydrogen industry and, if successful, could create an important pathway for scalable green fuel production that is not dependent on limited biomass resources.

Additional funding of up to EUR 12.4 million has been granted to project partner Mabanaft by Projektträger Jülich (PtJ).

The funding is part of HyGATE, a collaboration between the Australian and German governments to support real-world pilot, trial and demonstration projects along the hydrogen supply chain.

Senior Vice President New Energy, Supply & Infrastructure at Mabanaft Volker Ebeling said: “After evaluating the effectiveness, we expect larger scale projects to be developed that would serve other markets, including Europe.”

Further reading:
Vast begins engineering design of concentrated solar power plant

Picture: Vast Solar/SM1

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