This report details the mid-term progress to develop a novel transportable system to generate renewable methanol from waste biomass, which can then be used as a hydrogen carrier and as a fuel in a range of applications including engines.
This project seeks to develop and demonstrate a miniaturised process technology for renewable methanol synthesis from biomass pyrolysis syngas. While methanol is suitable as liquid fuel for spark-ignition engines, methanol can also be used as a hydrogen carrier by conversion to dimethyl- ether (DME) suitable for compression-ignition engines. This project will reveal the reaction mechanisms of methanol synthesis and the limiting effect of heat-transport at very small scales. Building on our previous achievements in biomass pyrolysis, the technical development will focus on (1) developing robust catalysts and innovative reactors for methanol synthesis with high activity and durability; and (2) integrating biomass pyrolysis and methanol synthesis into a single, optimised process. The technology demonstration will be performed using a laboratory-scale process embracing biomass pyrolysis and methanol synthesis, proving the feasibility and flexibility of renewable methanol synthesis and allowing a techno-enviro-economic evaluation of renewable methanol production.