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LCPI finds that Kalama methanol plant offers prospects of greenhouse gas reduction

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Independent analysis published by the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute (LCPI) finds compelling evidence that the most likely outcome from production of methanol at the Kalama Methanol Manufacturing and Marine Export Facility (KMMEF) in Washington, US is a net global greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction benefit in the short, medium, and long term.

The new analysis examines various scenarios of lifecycle GHG emissions attributable to KMMEF methanol production, and the range of net global GHG change likely to result from methanol or other end-use product displacement.

“Natural gas-based methanol produced at the facility is highly likely to displace coal-based methanol production elsewhere, providing a net annual reduction of 2.3 million – 7.2 million metric t of CO2 through at least 2030, assuming full production capacity,” said Kevin Tempest, R&D Scientist at the LCPI, who served as lead author of the report.

The analysis applied sensitivities to evaluate the range of GHG emissions from supply chain methane leakage in addition to power demand, the combustion of natural gas at the facility, and voluntary mitigation activities.

“While the margin of success narrows under a scenario of pipeline leakage exceeding the expected supply stream, the project is still likely to result in net GHG reduction because of significant elimination of much more carbon intensive coal-based methanol in the marketplace,” added Tempest.

“This highlights the importance of working towards and improving industry best practice of low methane leakage sources of natural gas, while keeping the door open over the long-term for carbon-capture and biogas feedstock approaches. The voluntary mitigation of around 1 million t of GHGs per year can make a very material difference if done with the highest quality approaches.”

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