Chilean firm, Mabanaft sign MoU for green-methanol-to-fuel project

Author: Al Greenwood

2021/01/15

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chilean firm Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mabanaft, in which it will supply the German oil-trading company with gasoline that it will produce from green methanol, the two companies said on Friday.

If the project goes forward, Mabanaft could buy up to 500m litres/year of gasoline, the two companies said.

HIF is building the project in Chile's Magallanes Region, in the southernmost part of the country, the two companies said. The region has some of the best wind resources in the world, which will provide the project with renewable energy.

HIF intends to move forward with construction of the project's first commercial-scale unit in 2022, the companies said.

Under the project, HIF will use wind energy to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis, the companies said.

In a separate announcement, Siemens said it is providing the proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) electrolyser.

HIF also plans to extract carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

The companies did not explain how the project would extract the CO2. However, current technology uses ethanolamines.

The CO2 and hydrogen would be combined to produce methanol, the two companies said. The methanol would then be converted into gasoline.

The conversion reaction will rely on ExxonMobil's methanol-to-gasoline process technology, said Porsche, one of the participants in the project.

Earlier in December 2020, HIF said it has received financial support from the German government for its pilot plant, called Haru Oni. Others participating include Porsche, Siemens Energy, Enel Green Power, ExxonMobil and Chile's National Oil Company (ENAP).

Siemens said the pilot plant will produce 750,000 litres/year of methanol by 2022. Some of that methanol will be used to produce 130,000 litres/year of gasoline.

By 2024, gasoline capacity should reach 55m litres/year, Siemens said. By 2026, it should exceed 550m litres/year.

HIF is part of the Chilean power company AME.

The following shows a diagram of the project.

Source: Siemens