A Canadian company has patented a process to make ‘green’ methanol.TORONTO, Ontario, CA, 2001-10-11 [SolarAccess.com] Technology Convergence Inc. is planning a 1,000 gallon/day design optimization plant for its new proprietary Green Methanol(TM) process in the Ontario city of Waterloo, which recently granted approval-in-principle to host the plant site. Officials say the process has major cost advantages over current North American producers and reduces emissions of carbon by up to 80 percent over the best current methods. TCI is seeking a partner to speed global commercialization of the new process, says president Michael Green. He claims it is strategically important because it will allow the opening of secure, domestic production facilities for methanol at a time when North America’s supply comes increasingly from large offshore plants with access to low-cost natural gas. He says the technology will allow smaller and environmentally-friendly production facilities to be built close to major customers. The Green Methanol process consumes from 16 to 23 percent less natural gas, says Green. A so-called ‘SuperGreen’ version consumes more than 300 kilograms of CO2 during the process for every 1,000 kilograms of methanol produced. This reduces the consumption of natural gas and increases the ‘green’ aspect by recycling unwanted greenhouse gases into a useful product. The process produces a pure hydrogen stream as a byproduct, and officials say the process is well suited to locations where low-cost electrical power is available. TCI says consumption of both methanol and hydrogen will grow quickly as mobile and stationary fuel cells become widespread, and its technology combines the three commercially proven steps of water electrolysis, partial oxidation and methanol synthesis in a unique process for the production of methanol and by-product hydrogen. TCI’s chief scientist, John Shaw, claims the technical viability of the Green Methanol process has been confirmed in bench scale tests and the company is designing a plant to demonstrate its commercial viability and fine tune the engineering design.