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Project AIR secures EUR 30 million grant from the Swedish Energy Agency

Sweden-headed specialty chemicals major Perstorp Group (Perstorp) has announced that its Project AIR – carbon capture and utilization (CCU) project to produce sustainable methanol from renewable hydrogen and biomethane (aka renewable natural gas - RNG) – has been awarded almost SEK 295 million (≈ EUR 30 million) in grant support from the Swedish Energy Agency. The project is to be implemented at Perstorp's Stenungsund facility in collaboration with Uniper SE, Fortum AB, and Nature Energy A/S.

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Perstorp Group’s Project AIR aims to cut carbon emission by half-million tonnes per annum by producing sustainable methanol derived from captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, renewable hydrogen, and biomethane at its facility in Stenungsund, Sweden. The project has been selected to apply for EIF funding and has been awarded an approximately EUR 30 million grant from the Swedish Energy Agency (photo courtesy Perstorp).

Project AIR aims to demonstrate a highly innovative, integrated process concept for low-carbon, renewable, and circular methanol production within the European energy-intensive chemical sector. Methanol is one of the most important raw materials for the chemical industry, and up until now, no competitive sources of sustainable methanol exist on the market.

The plan is to create the first-of-a-kind, large-scale, commercial, sustainable methanol plant that uses a Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) process for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) residue streams, renewable hydrogen, and biomethane to methanol.

The renewable hydrogen will be produced in a new electrolysis plant, which will be the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis unit installed for production in the chemical sector.

In March this year, Project AIR was approved for the next level of evaluation within the frame of the EU Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest funding programs for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies. And last week the Swedish Energy Agency awarded the project a grant of almost SEK 295 million (≈ EUR 30 million) under its Industry Step (Industriklivet) support program.

It is directly crucial for climate change and the goal of reaching a circular climate-neutral welfare society that we accelerate the use of new innovative green technology on an industrial scale. That is why this investment is strategically important, said Robert Andrén, Director-General of the Swedish Energy Agency.

Project AIR aims to substitute all of the 200 000 tonnes of fossil methanol that Perstorp uses annually in Europe as a raw material for chemical products. The project would support companies downstream in the value chains in their efforts towards renewable/circular materials, reduced carbon footprints, and in their ability to offer sustainable, affordable products.

This is a very encouraging message from the Energy Agency, that acknowledges the importance of this project. It gives us further hope as we are now in the process of submitting our second application to the EU Innovation Fund. In Project AIR, we have a very strong concept that, fully developed, will be of interest to all chemical industries around the world in the transition to becoming climate neutral. I am proud of what we have achieved so far together with our partners, said Jan Secher, President and CEO of Perstorp.

If completed, Project AIR could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 500 000 tonnes annually. The goal is to start producing sustainable methanol in 2025. A final decision on what projects will be funded by the EU Innovation Fund is expected later this year.

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