Construction Begins in Sweden on Europe’s Largest E-Methanol Project

e-methanol production Europe
Building in Sweden, the plant will use natural energy and forest products to produce e-methanol (Orsted)

Published May 24, 2023 7:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

Construction began with a ceremonial groundbreaking for what is being called Europe’s largest e-methanol project. Due to begin production in 2025 producing around 50,000 tonnes annually, the facility is being developed by Ørsted as one of the first steps to support the large-scale use of methanol in the shipping industry.

Originally developed by the Swedish e-fuels company Liquid Wind, FlagshipONE will be located next to Övik Energi’s combined heat and power plant Hörneborgsverket in Örnsköldsvik, in Northern Sweden. According to the companies, the site is well suited to support the production with ample supply of wind energy and located near Sweden’s world-leading forest industry. The biogenic carbon needed to produce the e-methanol will come for the forest industry.

The e-methanol from FlagshipONE will be produced using renewable electricity and biogenic carbon dioxide captured from Hörneborgsverket. In addition, FlagshipONE will use steam, process water, and cooling water from Hörneborgsverket. Excess heat from the e-methanol production process will be delivered back to Övik Energi and integrated in their district heating supply.

“FlagshipONE is a pioneering project that will open a new era for green shipping, said Anders Nordstrøm, COO of Ørsted P2X during the ceremony. “FlagshipONE will be the first project in a new green industry in Sweden, which Ørsted intends to spearhead.”

The companies involved in the project point to the rapid growth in the orderbook for methanol-fueled ships. DNV currently calculates the total orderbook at 89 methanol dual-fuel vessels due for delivery by 2028. DNV has predicted that methanol will overtake LNG and become a leading alternative fuel candidate in part due to its early availability and the easy in handling versus the toxic nature of ammonia. The introduction of the EU’s Fuel EU Maritime regulations and other emission standards is expected to further strip the adoption of methanol by the shipping industry.

The project was initially developed by a Swedish startup Liquid Wind which is in strategic partnership with companies including Alfa Laval, Carbon Clean, Siemens Energy, Topsoe and Uniper as it works to develop electrofuel. Ørsted initially acquired a 45 percent stake in the project and coordinated with the decision to proceed to construction purchased the remaining 55 percent from Liquid Wind.

Klimatklivet, a part of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, supported FlagshipONE with $14 million during the planning phase. Liquid Wind’s strategy is to compelte plans such as FlagshipONE and attract partners to take over the projects and see them to completion.

FlagshipONE is the first e-methanol project in Ørsted’s ambitious green fuel pipeline. The company is also developing the Green Fuels for Denmark project in Copenhagen and the 300,000 tonnes per year Project Star in the U.S. Gulf Coast area. The concept for the U.S. facility calls for Ørsted to develop a 675 MW Power-to-X facility. The facility will be powered by approx. 1.2GW of renewable energy from new onshore wind and solar PV farms. The biogenic carbon needed to produce e-methanol will be extracted through carbon capture at one or more large point sources. They also have an offtake agreement with Maersk to become part of the network the Danish shipping company is building to fuel its pioneering fleet of methanol-fueled containerships.