Primus Green Energy has announced plans to develop and deliver a 160 MT/day methanol plant to an undisclosed site in Marcellus shale gas region in north eastern USA. Production from the site is expected to begin in 2017.

The small scale plant takes advantage of local gas supply on remote locations where a pipeline network would not be viable. It is thought to be cost competitive with the large plants located in other parts of North America.

The modular design of the plant will allow for gradual increase of capacity to 640 MT/day during the following years. The company have plans to deliver up to four additional plants ranging from 160 MT to 640 MT capacities following the completion of the first plant.

Primus Green Energy press release [direct link]

A new report on the use of methanol as marine fuel was recently released by FCBI Energy. 

The report finds that methanol is abundant, biodegradable, emissions compliant, available globally and current bunkering infrastructure only requires minor modifications to handle methanol as a marine fuel.

Carl-Johan Hagman, CEO of Stena Line told FCBI, "The handling and installation of a liquid like methanol had clear advantages over gas or cryogenic fuels regarding fuel storage and bunkering."

Hagman noted that the new methanol report should "raise awareness of this marine fuel and serve as an important source of facts to anyone looking for a greener shipping fuels."

The report is authored by Professor Karin Andersson of the Department of Shipping and Marine Technology at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

The report is freely available and can be downloaded from the following site [direct link]

FCBI-Energy  [direct link]
Methanol Institute  [direct link]  


The prospects of small scale methanol production is a topic that comes up from time to time. The main attraction is often to utilize excess natural gas from smaller oil wells where transporting the gas is deemed too costly and the gas is instead flared. If instead the natural gas could be converted to methanol the cost of transportation would drastically reduce and the methanol add a source of income. report that the University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) and FielCell Energy Inc. (FCE) have started a project to develop a fuel cell capable of partially oxidise natural gas and other methane-rich gas to methanol. The challenge is to provide the right amount of catalytic activity to effect partial oxidation of methane to methanol.  

If successful this technology could be used for small scale methanol plants with viable capital cost. Thus making use of the excess natural gas at oil wells of for production of methanol from bio gas. An additional advantage is that the heat and electricity produced during the process could be utilised. 

Read the article on [Direct link]

Platts report that the European spot price on methanol is expected to stay around 300 €/mt for the next three year. The price is due to additional global supply and the low oil price according to a source at  the annual meeting of the European Petrochemical Association in Berlin Monday.

"It will stay at around Eur300/mt for the next three years as long as US product is cheap and tracks the levels of oil production from Saudi Arabia [the high oil production levels that were contributing to current low oil prices] there's no reason to see a higher price," a producer source said to Platts. 

Read the article on [Direct link]

Small scale methanol production has been discussed from time to time and a number of companies are working on movable production facilities that could be used. 

Small scale methanol production has been mentioned from time to time. The idea is to produce methanol locally, from available feedstock. This can for example be from shale gas wells that are too small to motivate pipeline connections or are too far away from any pipeline network. 

A number of companies are working on mobile or semi mobile production plants that could be used. Ben Franklin’s SGICC recently released a study performed by ADI Analytics regarding the techno-economic feasibility of small scale methanol production from primarily shale gas in North America. It is an interesting read. 

Shale Gas Innovation ¤ Commercialization Center (SGICC) 
Link to the study