Synthetic Methanol/Fischer–Tropsch Fuel Production Capacity, Cost, and Carbon Intensity Utilizing CO2 from Industrial and Power Plants in the United States

By Guiyan Zang et al.


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Captured CO2 is a potential feedstock to produce fuel/chemicals using renewable electricity as the energy source. We explored resource availability and synergies by region in the United States and conducted cost and environmental analysis to identify unique opportunities in each region to inform possible regional and national actions for carbon capture and utilization development. This study estimated production cost of synthetic methanol and Fischer–Tropsch (FT) fuels by using CO2 captured from the waste streams emitted from six industrial [ethanol, ammonia, natural gas (NG) processing, hydrogen, cement, and iron/steel production plants] and two power generation (coal and NG) processes across the United States. The results showed that a total of 1594 million metric ton per year of waste CO2 can be captured and converted into 85 and 319 billion gallons of FT fuels and methanol, respectively. FT fuels can potentially substitute for 36% of the total petroleum fuels used in the transportation sector in 2018. Technoeconomic analysis shows that the minimum selling prices for synthetic FT fuels and methanol are 1.8–2.8 times the price of petroleum fuel/chemicals, but the total CO2 reduction potential is 935–1777 MMT/year.

This article appeared on the Environmental Science & Technology website at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.0c08674


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