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Project AIR selected to apply for EIF funding

By using captured carbon dioxide (CO2) and other residual materials, specialty chemicals major Perstorp Group, together with energy majors Fortum and Uniper Sweden, want to produce hydrogen for sustainable methanol on a large scale. Project AIR, as the project is called, is now one step closer to realization as the European Innovation Fund (EIF) has invited the consortium to apply in the second round of evaluation.

Perstorp has revealed its Project AIR plans 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. The project has been selected to apply for EIF funding (photo courtesy Perstorp).

Project AIR is a unique, large-scale carbon capture and utilization (CCU) project that aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 500 000 tonnes annually by building the world’s largest carbon capture plant at Perstorp’s facility in Stenungsund, Sweden.

Combined with a new water electrolysis plant and biomethane, the CCU plant will produce 200 000 tonnes per annum of sustainable methanol, a key base chemical for a number of industries and products.

Selected to apply for funding support

To finance Project AIR, Perstorp, Fortum, and Uniper had applied for support in the European Innovation Fund’s (EIF) First Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects that closed on October 29, 2020.

The EIF is a European Commission (EC) initiative to reduce CO2 emissions from various sectors in Europe, and the fund has earmarked some EUR 1 billion for investments in innovations in carbon capture, renewable energy, energy storage, and energy-intensive industries.

A total of 311 applications were received by EIF, and following a review of the admissibility and eligibility of all submissions, eligible submissions were evaluated against the award criteria by external evaluators.

Of these, a total of 70 proposals have been invited to submit a full application for the second stage by June 23, 2021. The Project AIR proposal is one of the 70 selected and invited by EIF to apply.

This is a very gratifying message that is also proof of the potential and climate benefit that hydrogen has when it comes to the transformation of Swedish industry. Uniper has a long tradition of the entire value chain in the production, trade, and distribution of energy. A business model that we are now developing and applying in the hydrogen area as well. Uniper is a market-leading player in hydrogen in Europe, and our ambition is to take a leading position in Sweden as well, says Johan Svenningsson, CEO of Uniper Sweden.

According to Uniper, the project received the highest possible score in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions and innovation.

The proposed large-scale sustainable production of methanol demonstrates for the first time increased flexibility and efficiency in using different raw materials (e.g. biomethane, tail gas, CO2 effluent streams). In addition, it also uses recycled carbon sources together with captured CO2 for methanol circular production. Furthermore, the proposed plant will use wastewater instead of municipal water as a feedstock in the electrolysis station. The wastewater as a feedstock is not used in any other commercial electrolyzers. The proposal represents breakthrough innovation. Moreover, the integration processes, manufacturing, control, and operations of the project have not been demonstrated elsewhere; this is a first of a kind and is a breakthrough. This is excellent, the EIF stated in its evaluation.

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