Volume 46: Energy Transitions toward Carbon Neutrality: Part IX

Comparative life cycle assessment of methanol production processes in China Liu Jing, Zhao Jun, Wei Haiqiao, Wang feibo



The surge in methanol demand as a fuel source, coupled with global resource competition, necessitates innovative routes for bulk chemical production, including methanol. China, a prominent methanol producer and consumer, drives industry expansion, raising substantial environmental concerns. This article compares the stateof-the-art “liquid sunlight” methanol production technology (CCTM) with traditional pathways (CGTM, COTM, NGTM, BOTM) through a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment (LCA). Employing CML2001 and EI99 methodologies, we analyze ten environmental impact categories and two endpoint categories. Our study reveals the NGTM path as the cleanest for methanol production, while the CGTM route poses severe cumulative environmental impacts, 2.0 to 3.6 times worse than other methods. Environmental harm constitutes 73% to 81% of the five technology approaches’ impacts, with human health impacted 10% to 12% of the time.

Keywords Methanol Production, Environmental Impact, Clean Energy, Comparative Analysis, Sustainability

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