Carbon emission is an important element in global climate change and other environment-related discussions. Every government and private enterprise is working towards reducing the amount of carbon dioxide being let off in the atmosphere. Iceland has consistently supported green energy initiatives and it comes as no surprise that a project for carbon recycling in Iceland has gone on stream last year. The technology involves capturing CO2 emissions from a thermal power plant and convert it to methanol by using hydrogen gas produced through electrolysis.
The Details of the Project
The project for carbon recycling in Iceland is being carried on by Carbon Recycling International, an Icelandic firm. This company has its headquarters in the country’s capital city Reykjavik and was established in 2016. They included their objective in the company’s name itself, carbon recycling, and have been working on the technology ever since. The carbon emissions from a geothermal power plant are used in this process to produce methanol.
The project by Carbon Recycling International is designed to produce 5 million liters of renewable methanol every year at full production capacity utilization. This would result in twin benefit since the methanol produced by this process will go towards meeting the fuel requirements for automobiles in Iceland. The liquid methanol produced here has to be blended with biodiesel or gasoline. It is understood that the vehicles need not make any internal alterations to start using this clean fuel.
The company may consider exporting this renewable methanol to some of the neighboring countries if it proves economical to transport it. Already the Icelandic company has successfully taken its technology for manufacturing renewable methanol from CO2 to some overseas locations like Germany and China. The scope for further expansion in Iceland and in other parts of the world exists.
Brief Description of the Process
The production of methanol involves capturing the carbon dioxide molecules from flue gas released from a geothermal power plant nearby. The power plant would have, in the normal course, released CO2 into the atmosphere. The carbon dioxide molecules are then put through a purification process. This is to prepare it for the next stage which is the downstream synthesis to obtain methanol.
The next critical stage is the catalytic reaction between hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Hydrogen, as mentioned, is produced through the electrolysis of water. The gases are compressed during the process. The end result of this process is the formation of methanol. Any water remaining in the liquid ethanol is removed and the liquid is purified before being pumped out. This process of carbon recycling in Iceland makes captive use of steam from the geothermal system itself.
This is a unique initiative aimed at promoting a reduction in carbon emissions. Instead of investing in technology to neutralize the effect of the CO2 released by the geothermal plants, here, there is the production of methanol. This serves the twin purpose of fuel-grade methanol for use in running the automobiles as well as to help the poor and underprivileged. The economic benefit here is the availability of liquid methanol results in better management of the fuels.
There are economic benefits too through these effects for carbon recycling in Iceland. The methanol so produced will save millions of dollars in foreign exchange since Iceland is a net importer of crude and other fuels. The current level of use of methanol as an auto fuel may be limited through blending with biodiesel or other regular fuels. However, parallel efforts are being made to increase this to even 100% in some special category vehicles. The last is not heard on these developments. All signs point to positive developments only in this sector.
If you require any kind of help in Iceland, contact Swapp Agency.