Wacker Chemie AG and fuel-cell specialists SFC Energy AG have signed a letter of intent on the distribution of renewable methanol. The two companies announced this today. The letter states that, starting in 2025, WACKER plans to supply SFC Energy with up to 2,000 metric tons of methanol from the RHYME Bavaria project planned for its Burghausen site. SFC Energy intends to offer this methanol as a fuel with a particularly low environmental impact for use in its customers’ methanol fuel cells. These cells are used in private, commercial and governmental applications as a decentralized power supply.
The planned RHYME Bavaria project includes the construction of a 20-megawatt electrolysis plant. This plant is intended to use renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen, which, together with CO2 from existing production processes, will then be converted to methanol in a synthesis plant. The expected capacity of the synthesis plant is 15,000 metric tons per year.
“As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of fuel cells, we’re helping our customers in their efforts to achieve net zero. Fuel cell technology ensures that environmentally sound fuels like renewable methanol from the RHYME Bavaria project or green hydrogen can be reliably converted to clean electricity,” says Peter Podesser, CEO of SFC Energy. “If we are to transition sustainably to a climate neutral industrial society, support from programs like the National Hydrogen Strategy and the EU’s Green Deal is essential. Working with WACKER means more than just having an extraordinarily strong partner at our side with the technology we need and with industry expertise – WACKER also shares our vision of a climate neutral industrial society.”
“Our partnership with SFC Energy is further evidence of the broad range of potential of RHYME Bavaria going forward,” underscored WACKER President & CEO Christian Hartel. “We are convinced that green hydrogen and renewable methanol are essential building blocks for transforming chemical processes towards net zero – whether they’re used as raw materials, reducing agents or fuels. Currently, however, this kind of plant complex doesn’t yet pay for itself. Consequently, the grants we have applied for at the European and national levels are an essential prerequisite to make RHYME Bavaria a reality.”
Hydrogen and methanol are both key starting materials for chemical products such as silicones. For WACKER, the project represents a first step toward defossilizing chemical processes. Compared with current production methods, the new processes could cut CO2 emissions by as much as 100 percent. Capital expenditures for the plant complex are on the order of roughly €100 million. The planning phase for the facilities can start once the requested funding has been approved. The plant could then begin operations in 2025.
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