A techno-economic and life cycle assessment for the production of green methanol from CO2: Catalyst and process bottlenecks

Tomas Cordero-Lanzac, Adrian Galilea, Alberto Navajas, Lieven Gevers, Sirio Brunialti, Luis M. Gandía, Andrés T. Aguayo, Mani Sarathy, Jorge Gascon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The success of catalytic schemes for the large-scale valorization of CO2 does not only depend on the development of active, selective and stable catalytic materials but also on the overall process design. Here we present a multidisciplinary study (from catalyst to plant and techno-economic/lifecycle analysis) for the production of green methanol from renewable H2 and CO2. We combine an in-depth kinetic analysis of one of the most promising recently reported methanol-synthesis catalysts (InCo) with a thorough process simulation and techno-economic assessment. We then perform a life cycle assessment of the simulated process to gauge the real environmental impact of green methanol production from CO2. Our results indicate that up to 1.75 ton of CO2 can be abated per ton of produced methanol only if renewable energy is used to run the process, while the sensitivity analysis suggest that either rock-bottom H2 prices (1.5 $ kg−1) or severe CO2 taxation (300 $ per ton) are needed for a profitable methanol plant. Besides, we herein highlight and analyze some critical bottlenecks of the process. Especial attention has been paid to the contribution of H2 to the overall plant costs, CH4 trace formation, and purity and costs of raw gases. In addition to providing important information for policy makers and industrialists, directions for catalyst (and therefore process) improvements are outlined.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Energy Chemistry
StatePublished - Oct 26 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-03
Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). T. Cordero-Lanzac and A.T. Aguayo acknowledge the financial support received from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation with some ERDF funds (CTQ2016-77812-R) and the Basque Government (IT1218-19). T. Cordero-Lanzac also acknowledges the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for the award of his FPU grant (FPU15-01666). A. Navajas and L.M. Gandía gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF/FEDER) (grant RTI2018-096294-B-C31). L.M. Gandía also thanks Banco de Santander and Universidad Pública de Navarra for their financial support under
“Programa de Intensificación de la Investigación 2018” initiative.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrochemistry
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Fuel Technology


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