Global demand for methanol as both a chemical precursor and a fuel additive is rising. At the same time, numerous renewable methanol production pathways are under development which, if commercialized, could present significant environmental benefits over traditional methanol synthesis pathways. There is a need to harmonize the analyses of renewable pathways using a consistent techno-economic approach to evaluate the potential for commercialization of various pathways. This analysis considers economic and environmental factors critical to market acceptance of three renewable pathways versus a commercial baseline. We suggest that biomass gasification to methanol represents a near-term viable pathway with high technology readiness level and commercially competitive market price. However, longterm solutions should consider CO2 electrolysis pathways which offer further improvements in sustainability metrics to support global decarbonization efforts.
Keywords Methanol, carbon dioxide, techno-economic analysis, biomass, hydrogenation, power-to-liquids, waste carbon conversion