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Key tech suppliers selected for Bell Bay Powerfuels project

Key tech suppliers selected for Bell Bay Powerfuels project
An artist's rendering of the planned ABEL Energy Bell Bay Powerfuels Project in Bell Bay, Tasmania (TAS), Australia (image courtesy ABEL Energy).

US-headed SunGas Renewables, Inc.(SunGas), a spin-out of GTI Energy, and provider of technology and equipment systems for large-scale production of renewable fuels, has announced that it has been selected by Australian green hydrogen and methanol project developer, ABEL Energy Pty Ltd, to supply green methanol for a new AU$1.4 billion facility in Northern Tasmania (TAS), Australia.

Johnson Matthey, a leading methanol synthesis technology and catalyst supplier, was also selected to supply key technologies for the project.

Australia’s largest green methanol project

The ABEL Energy Bell Bay Powerfuels Project is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of green methanol per year.

This amount is three times Australia’s current methanol consumption and is the shipping fuel equivalent of removing 540,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere annually.

We’re very proud and excited to have Johnson Matthey and SunGas Renewables agree to take a role in our Bell Bay Powerfuels Project. We really do feel we have brought the very best technologies in the world to Tasmania, and we’re grateful to JM and SunGas for their enthusiastic support of our project, said Rhys Tucker, Chief Technology Officer at ABEL Energy.

The project requires 240 MW of electrolysis to produce green hydrogen, and robust methanol synthesis and biomass gasification technologies.

SunGas Renewables’ state-of-the-art renewable syngas generation unit, the SunGas System 1000, is specifically designed to convert sustainably sourced wood fiber into renewable syngas.

It is this renewable syngas that is used to make renewable biofuels for facilities like Bell Bay.

SunGas has been working closely with ABEL Energy to optimize the integration and deployment of the SunGas System 1000 gasifier for the project. It’s been a wonderful collaboration with ABEL’s engineering team, and we’re very excited about seeing this great project come to fruition, said Robert Rigdon, CEO of SunGas Renewables.

Optimized methanol synthesis loop

Johnson Matthey has optimized the design of the methanol synthesis loop and combined it with its highly robust methanol synthesis catalyst.

The process combines efficient technology with cutting-edge catalysts and absorbents to maximize plant performance and reduce operating costs.

The addition of green hydrogen increases methanol production and leads to increased carbon utilization efficiency.

Green Methanol is emerging as a key route to decarbonizing the shipping industry. This exciting project will use our world-leading technology for green methanol production, building off our deep experience and decades-worth references in methanol. We look forward to working with ABEL Energy and SunGas Renewables on the development of this project and scaling up green methanol as an important decarbonization pathway, said Alberto Giovanzana, Managing Director – CT Licensing, Johnson Matthey.

SunGas Renewables worked closely with ABEL Energy and Johnson Matthey on design and optimization studies to fully integrate these leading technologies into the proposed facility.

The Bell Bay Powerfuels Project is expected to commence in 2027.

Green methanol for shipping

The surge in demand for green methanol follows a host of new orders by most of the world’s major container shipping companies, including Danish multinational A.P. Moller – Maersk, for new ships to be fueled by this sustainable clean-burning fuel.

In July 2023, SunGas Renewables announced the formation of Beaver Lake Renewable Energy, LLC, a new green methanol production facility in Central Louisiana (LA) in the United States which will exclusively produce 400,000 tonnes of green methanol per year to fuel Maersk’s fleet of methanol-powered container vessels.

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