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Sumitomo SHI FW Joins Portuguese Renewable Methanol Initiative

Finland-based Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) has entered into an agreement with Portugal’s Capwatt to provide Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) services for a syngas production plant, a critical component of the Mangualde Renewable Methanol project in Portugal.

The project aims to establish a biorefinery capable of producing 80,000 tons of renewable methanol annually, utilizing locally sourced biomass residues and renewable electricity from a nearby photovoltaic (PV) solar park. At the heart of the plant will be an advanced SFW gasification unit, designed to convert biogenic residues into syngas, which will then be combined with green hydrogen from electrolysis in the methanol synthesis process.

Renewable methanol, a versatile platform chemical, is poised to become a cornerstone of future carbon management solutions for the transport and chemical industries. Its applications range from serving as sustainable shipping fuel to being converted into sustainable aviation fuel, plastics, and other essential chemicals. With global net-zero targets driving the demand for renewable methanol, production is projected to rise from zero today to an estimated 400 million tons per year by 2050.

Frank Ligthart, Vice President of Circular Carbon at SFW, commented, “We are thrilled by Capwatt’s confidence in our gasification technology, a testament to over 40 years of dedicated development. SFW has proven this technology in biomass-to-liquids applications, and we eagerly anticipate supporting Capwatt in building the first industrial renewable methanol plant in Portugal.”

Jorge Matos, COO of Renewable Fuels at Capwatt, added, “The commencement of the FEED marks a significant milestone towards our final investment decision. The Mangualde plant will produce enough renewable methanol to fuel two large container ships, highlighting the immense potential with 8,000 such ships globally. Capwatt’s vision extends beyond this single project; we aim to establish a network of renewable methanol plants.”

SFW’s comprehensive scope includes the oxy-steam fluidized bed gasifier, syngas cooler, hot gas filter, tar reformer, and final syngas scrubber. The FEED is expected to be completed in 2024, with the project set to commence in Q2/2025. The plant is anticipated to begin renewable methanol production by the end of 2026, marking a significant leap forward in the quest for sustainable transportation fuels.

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