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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 Biofuel

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. >
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