Our exciting projects
We are entering the methanol production business with the introduction of two exciting new projects. The first project is comprised of the acquisition and relocation of an existing 195,000 metric tonnes per annum (“tpa”) or 58.1 million gallons per year (“gpy”) methanol production facility to natural gas-rich West Virginia.
The facility, known as Liberty One, will commence production in the fourth quarter of 2019 in its new location near Charleston, West Virginia, and market methanol to the northeastern United States. This facility is undergoing major upgrades, repairs, and modifications in its construction phase that will result in increased efficiency and an expected useful life of 30 years. Capacity at start will be 200,000 tpa. The plant can be expanded later to 350,000 tpa.
In addition to the development of the Liberty One plant, we are in the early developmental stages of a 150,000 tpa methanol plant to be known as Liberty Two, also to be located in the Charleston, West Virginia, area. The Liberty Two plant is currently in the deconstruction and engineering phase in central Europe where improvements to its operational efficiencies and methanol productivity are under way.
Methanol production process
Methanol can be obtained from fossil and renewable raw materials. The most relevant though is natural gas.
The feedstock—natural gas—is first preheated for removal of sulfur compounds (desulphurization). Preheated and desulfurized, natural gas is then catalytically reformed to produce synthesis gas (“syngas”) which consists of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen.
In this step, syngas reacts with the help of copper catalyst to produce crude methanol. Crude methanol generally contains water and small quantities of byproducts.
High-purity methanol is typically obtained through a two-column distillation system. The first column removes light ends—typically, impurities more volatile than methanol. The second column separates water and other byproducts such as heavy alcohols. This results in a high-quality methanol product.