The production processes of the most important basic chemicals are responsible for around 70% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the chemical industry. BASF experts are working intensely on new technologies to substantially reduce emissions in these processes. The company has bundled all of this work under the roof of its ambitious Carbon Management Program. One of the first visible successes in this area has been achieved by a project team which has applied to patent a process to produce methanol without any greenhouse gas emissions. If it can be successfully implemented at an industrial scale, the entire production process – from syngas production to pure methanol – will no longer release any carbon dioxide emissions.
Typically, methanol is made from syngas, which until now has been primarily obtained from natural gas via a combination of steam and autothermal reforming. In the new BASF process, the syngas is generated by partial oxidation of natural gas, which does not cause any carbon dioxide emissions and has proven to be advantageous in a study jointly conducted with Linde Engineering. The subsequent process steps – methanol synthesis and distillation – can be carried out nearly unchanged.