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Circle K Danmark announces green e-methanol off-take deal with REintegrate

Circle K Danmark, the Danish arm of global fuel retailer and forecourt convenience store Circle K, has announced that it buy some 50 million litres of green e-methanol from compatriot Power-to-X (PtX) technology developer and electro-fuel (e-fuel) producer REintegrate ApS.

Circle K Danmark is one of Denmark’s leading fuel suppliers with over 100 years of experience in the retail industry. Circle K has over 270 stations with an associated store, many of which are open 24 hours a day. In addition, 180 unmanned stations (INGO and 1-2-3) as well as 30 truck sites (photo courtesy Circle K Danmark).

According to Circle K, the 5-year fuel purchase agreement is an important step towards ensuring that Danish road transportation can reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint, and will mean that the Danes will be able to fill the green fuel in the tank already from 2022.

We have not yet started to solve the challenge of heavy transport. In 2030, we will also still have more than 2.8 million cars on Danish roads that are not electric cars. Therefore, we also need to invest in technologies that can reduce emissions from the traditional internal combustion engine if we are to achieve our climate goals. We do not yet have electric cars for everyone and no solution for heavy transport, but now we have the opportunity to actually make our existing cars, buses and trucks greener. The most important thing, however, is that by this agreement we help to create a demand that makes it possible to start production, said Peter Rasmussen, director of fuel at Circle K.

Denmark an e-methanol forerunner

The production of e-methanol takes place through a process where green electricity is used to produce hydrogen, which through a catalytic reaction with CO2 to form methanol. The green CO2 can come from different sources such as from biogas upgrading to biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG).

REintegrate’s first demo plant was built in collaboration with Aalborg University, while preparations are currently underway to build a large-scale demonstration plant in Skive. In the long term, the ambition is to establish more facilities across the country including the Port of Aalborg which is already something of a methanol industry value-chain hub.

From a climate perspective, the advantage of e-methanol is that renewable electricity, for example, wind turbines or solar cells can be stored as a liquid fuel instead. The fuel is produced when there are peaks in the production of green electricity, for example when it is very windy and the prices of electricity are therefore low.

Although there are conversion losses in the power-to-liquids (PtL) process, the power grid stabilization, load balancing, and energy storage services make it possible to increase efficiency in relation to the overall use of renewable energy.

In total, the agreement with Circle K Danmark is expected to reduce Danish transport CO2 emissions by 65 000 tonnes over the six-year period. REintegreate however sees even greater potential for reducing the transport sector’s CO2 emissions by investing in e-methanol.

We expect to be able to produce around 500 million liters of e-methanol in 2030. This corresponds to 30 percent of the total petrol consumption in Denmark and an annual reduction of 600 000 tonnes of CO2. It also corresponds to a displacement of approximately 4 percent of the CO2 reduction that Denmark currently needs to find by 2030, said Lars Udby, CEO of REintegrate.

Develop a green Danish e-methanol market

Globally, Circle K has selected Denmark as the first test country for alternative green fuels. But according to Circle K, politicians are dragging their feet. In Denmark, the potential for producing more e-methanol is still limited by EU blending regulations, and the expansion of renewable energy.

Denmark has been chosen as a pioneer country because we have assessed that we have good opportunities to become a future market for e-methanol. But the market is not created by itself, and politicians have hesitated for a very long time. Therefore, we are now taking matters into our own hands and making a significant investment in an area that we believe is part of the future of a green transport sector in Denmark. If we are to boost the supply of e-methanol, we also need to show that demand is present. That is what we do with this agreement, said Peter Rasmussen.

The off-take agreement is part of Circle K’s ambition that fuels from their filling stations will by 2030 emit 30 percent less CO2 than today. For a start, e-methanol will be blended into the existing fuel pool, which overall will mean a smaller CO2 footprint per car.

The long-term goal is to have filling stations where it is possible to fill the tank with a fuel like M100, as pure green liquid electricity.

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