Liquid Electricity: enabling the growth of renewable power generation

Power generation from wind and solar sources is becoming the lowest cost option on a levelized cost basis, for most locations around the world. The capacity of transmission grids to accommodate natural fluctuations in wind and solar energy, is however still limited. As investment in solar and wind generation continues to grow, transmission system operators are therefore increasingly forced to curtail the supply of power from these intermittent sources.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) the share of renewables in global electricity production will only reach 18% in 2040 at current rates, far below the target that must be met in order to achieve net zero global CO2 emissions by mid-century. To bridge the gap, further investment in renewable generation has to be complemented by investment in technologies on the demand side which can absorb fluctuating power supply and offer long-term energy storage capability.  

Carbon Recycling International (CRI) has developed a new and innovative method to store surplus electricity for unlimited periods of time. CRI’s proprietary Emissions-to-Liquids (ETL) technology uses electricity to produce hydrogen which is then synthesized with CO2 and converted into renewable methanol in a single-step  catalytic reaction.  The CRI method represents a pathway for electricity into liquid form, which is both a common chemical feedstock and fuel. The added benefit is a large reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere as renewable methanol replaces the use of fuels and chemicals from natural gas, coal and oil.

Transforming electricity into renewable methanol and thus a valuable chemical and fuel which can be easily stored, transported and used based on current infrastructure and systems, answers one of the key challenges to the continued growth of power generation from renewable sources. The Renewable Methanol Report, published by the Methanol Institute this week provides further insights into the potential for power to methanol technology and how renewable methanol production can help to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable energy system and chemical industry.

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