A group of European and Japanese researchers have been working to develop processes to optimise CO2 hydrogenation in terms of energy efficiency and production cost to produce e-methanol for transport, including ocean shipping.

Under the so-called Laurelin project, backed by the EU and Japan, ten research expert organisations are looking into the microwave heating, plasma induction, and magnetic induction as catalysts to accelerate the chemical reaction of hydrogen with CO2.

The plan is to build a prototype reactor for each solution to ascertain their performance against conventional hydrogenation using heat. The partners said they will continue to fine-tune these novel reactors in the coming weeks by making them operable at higher pressures. 

The project will test more than 100 samples of new catalyst materials and compare them with conventional hydrogenation to help optimise the selectivity and yield of methanol production. 

“Reducing the e-methanol production costs would lead to an increase in the opportunities to use it as fuel. This would directly benefit society thanks to the reduction in GHG emissions and costs, creating further jobs and wealth,” explained Professor Teruoki Tago from the department of chemical science and engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Involving universities, research organisations and SMEs from Belgium, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Spain and the UK, Laurelin is a 48-month project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

Adis Ajdin

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