♻️Depending on the feedstock and associated carbon emissions, methanol can be categorised as high or low carbon intensity (Figure).
➖Methanol produced from coal and natural gas without carbon capture or renewable power input is generally considered high carbon intensity (brown and grey methanol).
➖Methanol production based on the use of renewable energy in various forms, fossil fuel with carbon capture, or a combination thereof are considered to have lower carbon intensity (low-carbon methanol, blue and green methanol; see Figure).
✅ Methanol can also be classified as renewable and nonrenewable. To qualify as renewable, all feedstocks used to produce the methanol need to be of renewable origin (biomass, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, etc.).
➖Currently, methanol is produced almost exclusively from fossil fuels. However, methanol can also be made from other feedstocks that contain carbon, including biomass, biogas, waste streams and CO2 (for example captured from flue gases or through DAC( direct air capture).
🔸Renewable methanol can be produced using renewable energy and renewable feedstocks via two routes:
• Bio-methanol is produced from biomass. Key potential sustainable biomass feedstocks include: forestry and agricultural waste and by-products, biogas from landfill, sewage and black liquor from the pulp and paper industry.
• Green e-methanol is obtained from CO2 captured from renewable sources (e.g. via BECCS (Bioenergy with carbon capture and use) or DAC) and green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen produced with renewable electricity.
• To qualify as renewable, all feedstocks and energy used to produce the methanol need to be of renewable origin (e.g. biomass, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal). The methanol produced by either route is chemically identical to methanol produced from fossil fuel sources.