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Capwatt selects Sumitomo SHI FW as gasification technology partner for renewable methanol project

Sumitomo SHI FW (SFW) has signed an agreement with Capwatt to provide front-end engineering design (FEED) services for a state-of-the-art syngas production plant, integral to the groundbreaking Mangualde Renewable Methanol project in Portugal.

This initiative aims to build a cutting-edge biorefinery capable of producing 80,000 tpy of renewable methanol, utilizing locally sourced biomass residues and renewable electricity from a nearby photovoltaic (PV) solar park.

The core of the plant will feature an advanced SFW gasification unit, designed to transform the carbon in biogenic residues into syngas. This syngas will then be combined with green H2 from electrolysis in the methanol synthesis process.

Renewable methanol, a versatile platform chemical, is set to become a cornerstone of future carbon management solutions for both the transport and chemical industries. Its applications are vast, from serving as sustainable shipping fuel to being converted into sustainable aviation fuel, plastics, and other essential chemicals.

As global Net Zero targets drive the demand for renewable methanol, production needs to surge from zero today to an estimated 400 MMtpy by 2050.

"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," said Frank Ligthart, Vice President of Circular Carbon at SFW.

"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," said Jorge Matos, COO of Renewable Fuels at Capwatt.

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.