News | November 14, 2023

ABEL Energy Selects Johnson Matthey's Methanol Technology For Its Flagship Project At Bell Bay In Northern Tasmania

  • ABEL Energy selects Johnson Matthey and Houston-based SunGas Renewables for the design of its flagship A$1.4B green hydrogen and methanol project at Bell Bay, Northern Tasmania.
  • The project is scheduled to commence production by 2027.
  • This is the 9th sustainable technologies project contributing to JM’s milestone of winning more than ten additional large-scale projects across Catalyst Technologies and Hydrogen Technologies by end of 2023/24.

Australian green hydrogen and methanol project developer, ABEL Energy, has confirmed the selection of Johnson Matthey (JM) and SunGas Renewables as the suppliers for two of the key technologies to be deployed for the Bell Bay Powerfuels Project in Northern Tasmania. ABEL Energy has been working closely with JM and SunGas Renewables on the design and optimisation studies to fully integrate these leading technologies into the proposed facility.

The project is scheduled to commence production of 300,000 tonnes per year of green methanol by 2027. This amount is three times Australia’s current methanol consumption and as a shipping fuel equivalent to removing 540,000 tonnes of fossil fuel CO from the atmosphere.

JM is the world’s leading methanol synthesis technology and catalyst supplier. JM has optimised the design of the methanol synthesis loop and combined it with its highly robust methanol synthesis catalyst. The process combines efficient technology with cutting edge catalysts and absorbents to maximise plant performance and reduce operating costs. The addition of green hydrogen increases methanol production and leads to increased carbon utilisation efficiency.

The scale of the Bell Bay project has increased substantially since the release of a Knowledge-Sharing Report by ABEL Energy in June 2022 following a A$1.3M feasibility study partly funded by the Tasmanian Government. The increase in scale is partly in response to an extraordinary surge in forward demand for green methanol as a shipping fuel over the last 12 months.

The project will now require 240MW of electrolysis to produce the green hydrogen required for the project, as well as world-leading methanol synthesis and biomass gasification technologies.

Alberto Giovanzana, Managing Director – CT Licensing at Johnson Matthey, said: “Green Methanol is emerging as a key route to decarbonising the shipping industry. This exciting project will use our world leading technology for green methanol production, building off our deep experience and decades-worth references in methanol. We look forward to working with ABEL Energy and SunGas on the development of this project and scaling up green methanol as an important decarbonisation pathway.”

SunGas Renewables is a subsidiary of US-based GTI International and is a leader in providing biomass gasification technology and equipment systems required for the large-scale production of renewable fuels.

Robert Rigdon, CEO of SunGas Renewables, said: “SunGas has been working closely with ABEL Energy to optimise the integration and deployment of the SunGas System 1,000 gasifier for the project. It’s been a wonderful collaboration with ABEL’s engineering team, and we’re very excited about seeing this great project come to fruition.”

Rhys Tucker, Chief Technology Officer at ABEL Energy, said: “We’re very proud and excited to have Johnson Matthey and SunGas Renewables agree to take a role in our Bell Bay Powerfuels Project. We really do feel we have brought the very best technologies in the world to Tasmania, and we’re grateful to JM and SunGas for their enthusiastic support of our project.”

The surge in demand for green methanol follows a host of new orders by most of the world’s major container shipping companies, led by Danish multinational A.P. Moller – Maersk, for new ships to be fuelled by this sustainable clean-burning fuel.

Source: Johnson Matthey