Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Methanol-Managing greenhouse gas emissions in the production chain by optimizing the resource base

Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Finland

Topical Section: Bioenergy and Biofuels

The growing demand for methanol as fuel and global competition for resources are key drivers behind the need to find new routes for the production of bulk chemicals such as methanol. Widening the resource base is also linked to the increasing concentrations of methane in the atmosphere. Furthermore, managing greenhouse gas emissions is vital in developing new technologies. This paper compares production routes for methanol based on a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA). The LCA is limited to the impact categories of global warming potential (GWP100) and energy use. The highest GWP100 value of 2.97 kg CO2eq/kg CH3OH is for methanol from coal, and the lowest, negative emission of 0.99 kg CO2eq/kg CH3OH is for methanol in co-production with renewable corn ethanol. A comparison of production routes is performed using the carbon dioxide equivalent abatement cost, and the production cost of methanol. The best performing technology on both production cost and GWP100 is methanol produced by gasification from wood biomass. The factors affecting the results are addressed. >
  Article Metrics

Keywords methanol; greenhouse gases; resource base; renewable resources; circular economy

Citation: Raili Kajaste, Markku Hurme, Pekka Oinas. Methanol-Managing greenhouse gas emissions in the production chain by optimizing the resource base. AIMS Energy, 2018, 6(6): 1074-1102. doi: 10.3934/energy.2018.6.1074


  • 1. Räuchle K, Plass L, Wernicke HJ, et al. (2016) Methanol for renewable energy storage and utilization. Energ Technol 4: 193–200.    
  • 2. Su LW, Li XR, Sun ZY (2013) Flow chart of methanol in China. Renew Sust Energ Rev 28: 541–550.    
  • 3. MCGroup (2018) Methanol: 2018 World Market Outlook and Forecast up to 2027. Available from: https://mcgroup.co.uk/researches/methanol.
  • 4. IHS. Methanol, Marc Alvarado, February 2016. Available from: http://www.methanol.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Marc-Alvarado-Global-Methanol-February-2016-IMPCA-for-upload-to-website.pdf.
  • 5. Brynolf S, Fridell E, Andersson K (2014) Environmental assessment of marine fuels: Liquefied natural gas, liquefied biogas, methanol and bio-methanol. J Clean Prod 74: 86–95.    
  • 6. Pontzen F, Liebner W, Gronemann V, et al. (2011) CO2-based methanol and DME-Efficient technologies for industrial scale production. Catal Today 171: 242–250.    
  • 7. Bermúdez JM, Ferrera-Lorenzo N, Luque S, et al. (2013) New process for producing methanol from coke oven gas by means of CO2 reforming. Comparison with conventional process. Fuel Process Technol 115: 215–221.
  • 8. Saunois M, Jackson RB, Bousquet P, et al. (2016) The growing role of methane in anthropogenic climate change. Environ Res Lett 11: 1–5.
  • 9. Riaz A, Zahedi G, Klemes JJ (2013) A review of cleaner production methods for the manufacture of methanol. J Clean Prod 57: 19–37.    
  • 10. Anicic B, Trop P, Goricanec D (2014) Comparison between two methods of methanol production from carbon dioxide. Energy 77: 279–289.    
  • 11. Tidona B, Koppold C, Bansode A, et al. (2013) CO2 hydrogenation to methanol at pressures up to 950 bar. J Supercrit Fluid 78: 70–77.    
  • 12. Narvaez A, Chadwick D, Kershenbaum L (2014) Small-medium scale polygeneration systems: Methanol and power production. Appl Energy 113: 1109–1117.    
  • 13. Soltanieh M, Azar KM, Saber M (2012) Development of a zero emission integrated system for co-production of electricity and methanol through renewable hydrogen and CO2 capture. Int J Greenhouse Gas Control 7: 145–152.    
  • 14. Zhang Y, Cruz J, Zhang S, et al. (2013) Process simulation and optimization of methanol production coupled to tri-reforming process. Int J Hydrogen Energ 38: 13617–13630.    
  • 15. Minutillo M, Perna A (2010) A novel approach for treatment of CO2 from fossil fired power plants. Part B: The energy suitability of integrated tri-reforming power plants (ITRPPs) for methanol production. Int J Hydrogen Energ 35: 7012–7020.
  • 16. Matzen M, Demirel Y (2016) Methanol and dimethyl ether from renewable hydrogen and carbon dioxide: Alternative fuels production and life-cycle assessment. J Clean Prod 139: 1068–1077.    
  • 17. Meerman JC, Ramírez A, Turkenburg WC, et al. (2011) Performance of simulated flexible integrated gasification polygeneration facilities. Part A: A technical-energetic assessment. Renew Sust Energ Rev 15: 2563–2587.
  • 18. Van Rens G, Huisman G, De Lathouder H, et al. (2011) Performance and exergy analysis of biomass-to-fuel plants producing methanol, dimethylether or hydrogen. Biomass Bioenerg 35: S145–S154.    
  • 19. Melin K, Kohl T, Koskinen J, et al. (2015) Performance of biofuel process utilising separate lignin and carbohydrate processing. Bioresource Technol 192: 397–409.    
  • 20. Melin K, Kohl T, Koskinen J, et al. (2016) Enhanced biofuel processes utilizing separate lignin and carbohydrate processing of lignocellulose. Biofuels 7: 31–54.
  • 21. Trop P, Anicic B, Goricanec D (2014) Production of methanol from a mixture of torrefied biomass and coal. Energy 77: 125–132.    
  • 22. Holmgren KM, Berntsson T, Andersson E, et al. (2012) System aspects of biomass gasification with methanol synthesis-process concepts and energy analysis. Energy 45: 817–828.    
  • 23. Holmgren KM, Andersson E, Berntsson T, et al. (2014) Gasification-based methanol production from biomass in industrial clusters: Characterisation of energy balances and greenhouse gas emissions. Energy 69: 622–637.    
  • 24. Andersson J, Lundgren J, Marklund M (2014) Methanol production via pressurized entrained flow biomass gasification-Techno-economic comparison of integrated vs. stand-alone production. Biomass Bioenerg 64: 256–268.    
  • 25. Ortiz FJG, Serrera A, Galera S, et al. (2013) Methanol synthesis from syngas obtained by supercritical water reforming of glycerol. Fuel 105: 739–751.    
  • 26. Bludowsky T, Agar DW (2009) Thermally integrated bio-syngas-production for biorefineries. Chem Eng Res Des 87: 1328–1339.    
  • 27. Boretti A (2013) Renewable hydrogen to recycle CO2 to methanol. Int J Hydrogen Energ 38: 1806–1812.    
  • 28. Trudewind CA, Schreiber A, Haumann D (2014) Photocatalytic methanol and methane production using captured CO2 from coal-fired power plants. Part I-a Life Cycle Assessment. J Clean Prod 70: 27–37.
  • 29. Bai Z, Liu Q, Lei J, et al. (2015)>A polygeneration system for the methanol production and the power generation with the solar-biomass thermal gasification. Energ Convers Manage 102: 190–201.
  • 30. Bertau H, Offermanns H, Plass L, et al. (2014) Methanol: The Basic Chemical and Energy Feedstock of the Future. Heidelberg: Springer.
  • 31. ISO (2006a) Environmental Management-Life Cycle Assessment-Principles and Framework. ISO 14040:2006. ISO/IEC.
  • 32. ISO (2006b) Environmental Management-Life Cycle Assessment-Requirements and Guidelines. ISO 14044:2006. ISO/IEC.
  • 33. Cherubini F, Jungmeier G (2010) LCA of a biorefinery concept producing bio-ethanol, bioenergy, and chemicals from switchgrass. Int J Life Cycle Assess 15: 53–66.    
  • 34. Kajaste R (2014) Chemicals from biomass-managing greenhouse gas emissions in biorefinery production chains-a review. J Clean Prod 75: 1–10.    
  • 35. Matzen M, Alhajji M, Demirel Y (2015) Chemical storage of wind energy by renewable methanol production: Feasibility analysis using a multi-criteria decision matrix. Energy 93: 343–353.    
  • 36. Minutillo A, Perna A (2009) A novel approach for treatment of CO2 from fossil fired power plants, Part A: The integrated systems ITRPP. Int J Hydrogen Energ 34: 4014–4020.    
  • 37. Barkley ZR, Lauvaux T, Davis KJ, et al. (2017) Quantifying methane emissions from natural gas production in north-eastern Pennsylvania. Atmos Chem Phys 17: 13941–13966.    
  • 38. Moro A, Lonza L (2017) Electricity carbon intensity in European Member States: Impacts on GHG emissions of electric vehicles. Transport Res D-Tr E 64: 5–14.
  • 39. Moretti C, Moro A, Edwards R, et al. (2017) Analysis of standard and innovative methods for allocating upstream and refinery GHG emissions to oil products. Appl Energy 206: 372–381.    
  • 40. Zhang C, Jun KW, Gao R, et al. (2017) Carbon dioxide utilization in a gas-to-methanol process combined with CO2/Steam-mixed reforming: Techno-economic analysis. Fuel 190: 303–311.    
  • 41. Di X, Liping L, Weifeng S, et al. (2017) Life cycle sustainability assessment of chemical processes: A vector based three-dimensional algorithm coupled with AHP. Ind Eng Chem Res 56: 11216–11227.    
  • 42. Van-Dal ÉS, Bouallou C (2013) Design and simulation of a methanol production plant from CO2 hydrogenation. J Clean Prod 57: 38–45.    
  • 43. Dumont MN, von der Assen N, Sternberg A, et al. (2012) Assessing the environmental potential of carbon dioxide utilization: A graphical targeting approach. Comput Aided Chem Eng 31: 1407–1411.    
  • 44. Yu Y, Jing L, Weifeng S, et al. (2018) High-efficiency utilization of CO2 in the methanol production by a novel parallel-series system combining steam and dry methane reforming. Energy 158: 820–829.    


Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

© 2018 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved