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Pilot project for the production of renewable methanol fuels at the WWTP Bottrop

Demonstration of efficient sector coupling between wastewater management, energy, and transportation sectors using Power-to-Methanol technology


E-Methanol (P2MeOH) – produced from renewable hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) – is considered a promising alternative fuel, especially for long-haul road transportation and shipping. Although the technical fundamentals of P2MeOH technology are well-researched (TRL 6 to 9), there are hurdles for commercialization. Yet, there is still a need to demonstrate its economic viability and provide concrete demonstration examples at sites rich in synergies. In this context, wastewater treatment plants show a yet not investigated potential for material, energetic, and infrastructural synergies. However, knowledge gaps exist regarding the integration of P2MeOH plants into existing wastewater treatment plant infrastructure. To investigate these potentials, an interdisciplinary project consortium has formed consisting of the Emschergenossenschaft Water Management Association, the electrolyzer manufacturer Aspens GmbH, and the research institutes OWI Science for Fuels gGmbH and FiW e.V.

The aim of E-BO(2)t is the first of its kind demonstration of P2MeOH technology at the Bottrop wastewater treatment plant. The intends to establish a new promising value chain by initiating innovative novel sector coupling between the energy, wastewater, and transportation sectors, highlighting the wastewater treatment plant as a sustainable renewable CO2-source.

In the first phase of the project, the P2MeOH plant will be planned and dimensioned. Detailed evaluations of the Bottrop wastewater treatment plant's framework will be conducted and utilized for plant sizing. In the implementation phase, the P2MeOH plant will be constructed and tested in experimental and subsequent steady-state operation. Additionally, through accompanying research work packages, simulation-based optimizations and system-theoretical evaluations will be carried out beyond the system boundaries of the actual plant. Together with other associated partners, the transferability and scalability of the developed concept will be emphasized to create a "blueprint" for potential follow-up projects.