Renewable, low-carbon liquid fuels
Blue Fuel Methanol, DME, and GasolineBlue Fuel Energy is in the permitting stage of its project to produce renewable, low-carbon transportation fuels — Blue Fuel Methanol, DME, and Gasoline — using the abundance of renewable energy (hydro- and wind-generated electricity) and concentrated carbon dioxide emissions (from natural gas processing) available in northeastern BC. The Blue Fuel process will convert this renewable energy into fuels that will be, in essence, liquid electricity. Target markets for these fuels are BC and California, jurisdictions with a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS). Output will be methanol, DME, or gasoline; given the likely adoption of the Open Fuel Standard (OFS) in the near future, however, Blue Fuel expects methanol to be the output of choice.
Blue Fuel process
- Use renewable electricity to power an array of electrolyzers to produce hydrogen.
- Catalytically combine the hydrogen with carbon dioxide to produce methanol.
- Dehydrate the methanol over a catalyst to create dimethyl ether (DME).
- Dehydrate the DME over a catalyst to produce gasoline using the ExxonMobilMTG process.
All technology for the above steps is mature.
Integration of Blue Fuel and Canadian Methanol
Blue Fuel Energy will integrate its production with conventional methanol production (natural gas-based) of its partner, Canadian Methanol Corporation, which will build a series of such plants and is now in the permitting stage. Sites that will accommodate the integrated Blue Fuel/Canadian Methanol plants, each capable of producing 1.8 million tons of methanol per year, have been selected in northeastern BC. The sites will also be able to accommodate a large number of greenhouses and/or fish ponds that could provide food for the region and beyond. These facilities would take advantage of waste heat that will be available, and be developed in partnership with local First Nations.
Integration of the Blue Fuel and Canadian Methanol processes will result in two streams of methanol, one renewable and one not. The renewable Blue Fuel output will be used as a transportation fuel, initially to enable compliance with the low-carbon fuel standards of BC and California; the Canadian Methanol output will be shipped to China to be converted to olefins, used in the manufacturing of plastics and other products, and thereby sequester the contained carbon dioxide.
Advantages of Blue Fuel and Canadian Methanol integration
- Utilizes the waste oxygen generated through electrolysis in the Blue Fuel process as a feedstock;
- Reduces MegaMethanol CO2 emissions;
- Reduces unit capital costs of both processes, particularly in oxygen production, methanol conversion, distillation, product storage and waste treatment;
- Improves the energy efficiency of both processes through complete energy integration.
Advantages of methanol production for BC
The integrated methanol production process explained above will augment the province’s current plan to become a major LNG exporter and deliver profound benefits for BC. The CO2 emissions-reducing characteristics of the process will help the province develop its natural gas reserves AND meet its GHG emissions reduction targets. Furthermore, Blue Fuel Methanol will provide the province with a domestically produced fuel to meet its LCFS requirements (reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels pool 10% by 2020), while Canadian Methanol output will become a value-added export commodity, generating major capital investment and high-value jobs.