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Largest Methanol Plant in US Planned

A Dutch fertilizer company plans to build the US’ largest methanol plant in Texas, FuelFix reports.

The more than $1 billion plant, planned for Beaumont, Texas, would produce about 1.75 million tons of methanol per year, the company, OCI N.V., says, and would be build by OCI N.V. subsidiary Natgasoline.

Made from natural gas, methanol is used in a range of products, including paints and glue. It has the potential — but not Congressional approval — to be a gasoline replacement or blended into gas like Ethanol, OCI N.V. CEO Nassef Sawiris tells FuelFix. “It’s a very clean fuel … and it’s not going to compete with ethanol. It’s going to be put alongside ethanol,” he says.

OCI N.V. currently owns a methanol plant in Beaumont with a capacity of 730,000 tons per year, which accounts for 80 percent of the nation’s methanol production available for sale, FuelFix reports.

Methanol-to-gasoline is the cheapest among biomass-to-liquids (BTL) and gas-to-liquids (GTL) options, according to a July Lux Research analysis of 21 BTL and GTL processes. At small scale (about 1,000 barrels per day), methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) is the most competitive route for liquid fuels from either natural gas ($82 per barrel) or waste ($75 per barrel).

Last month Maverick Biofuels was awarded three US patents for producing a mixed-alcohol fuel from synthesis gas via a methanol intermediate.

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