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Vast and Mabanaft Accelerate Port Augusta Methanol Project for Australia’s Renewable Energy Sector
Vast and Mabanaft Accelerate Port Augusta Methanol Project for Australia’s Renewable Energy Sector

Vast and Mabanaft Accelerate Port Augusta Methanol Project for Australia’s Renewable Energy Sector

  • 14-Jun-2024 4:26 PM
  • Journalist: Nina Jiang

Vast Renewables Limited, a renewable energy firm aiming to fuel green fuels production using its concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) systems, has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with global energy company Mabanaft to push forward Solar Methanol 1 (SM1), a CSP-powered green methanol pilot plant.

Situated within the Port Augusta Green Energy Hub in South Australia, SM1 is poised to manufacture 7,500 tonnes of green methanol annually. Methanol, a highly versatile hydrogen derivative, holds promise for decarbonizing challenging sectors such as shipping and aviation when produced using clean energy sources.

SM1 will receive continuous renewable heat from Vast's 30 MW / 288 MWh CSP plant. A recent report by the engineering group Fichtner suggests that leveraging CSP has the potential to reduce green fuel production costs by as much as 40 percent. The achievement of this project could pave the way for green fuel production in Australia, with prospects for exporting to Germany and other international markets.

The Joint Development Agreement (JDA) outlines the project's development path and underscores Vast and Mabanaft's commitment to the energy transition by leveraging their technological, business development, and commercial expertise. This follows Vast and Mabanaft's earlier announcement in February of funding agreements totaling up to AUD $40 million for SM1.

Vast is set to receive AUD $19.48 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), while Mabanaft stands to potentially receive up to €12.4 million from Projektträger Jülich (PtJ) on behalf of the German government, contingent upon final investment decision. This funding is part of HyGATE, an initiative by the Australian and German governments aimed at supporting practical projects across the hydrogen supply chain.

Mabanaft is actively enhancing its support for customer decarbonization efforts by broadening its lineup of sustainable energy solutions. The JDA encompasses a framework agreement that secures Mabanaft's access to offtake rights for upcoming green fuels projects driven by Vast technology. This arrangement enables Mabanaft to cater to its shipping clients aiming to reduce their carbon footprint.

Vast and Mabanaft, in collaboration with the Solar Methanol Consortium, are advancing SM1. They are backed by Australian technology firm Calix as the Principal CO2 Supply Partner and the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI).

Vast is a renewable energy firm specializing in CSP systems designed to produce and store utility-scale electricity and industrial heat without carbon emissions, facilitating the production of green fuels. Vast's CSP v3.0 method employs a proprietary modular sodium loop to effectively capture and convert solar heat into these essential outputs.

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