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Costs and perspectives of synthetic methane and methanol production using carbon dioxide from biomass-based processes

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2024, 1120484
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d12.0484
Frank Radosits1 , Amela Ajanovic2, Simon Pratschner1
1 TU Wien, Vienna, Austria
2 Technische Universitaet Wien, Vienna, Austria


The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is continuously rising mostly due to the consumption of fossil fuels. Renewable fuels, such as synthetic methane and methanol, for which production hydrogen and carbon dioxide are needed, have the potential to mitigate climate change by substituting fossil-based energy carriers. The core objective of this paper is to investigate the utilization of carbon dioxide from biomass-based processes for the production of e-methane and e-methanol, as well as to analyze their future prospects. Different scenarios including the most relevant impact parameters, such as possible learning rates or number of full load hours, are derived. Finally, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of synthetic methane and methanol are compared with direct hydrogen utilization from an economic and technical point of view. In spite of the possible cost reductions due to technological learning and economies of scale, the production costs of e-methane and e-methanol will remain very high in the main scenario. Therefore, low electricity prices and a high number of full-load hours are key to enhance the economic viability.

Keywords: Synthetic methane, Synthetic methanol, Carbon capture utilization, Hydrogen, Technological learning

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