The UK port operator said it had entered into an agreement with Swiss-based integrated energy company Proman to develop a renewable power to methanol plant utilising local sources of captured carbon dioxide.
Proman is the second largest methanol producer in the world. Subject to the successful completion of ongoing financial and technical feasibility studies, and further development and financing of the project, the firm will become the owner and operator of the new facility.
Global Energy Group (GEG) said it was looking to “strengthen the resilience and competitiveness” of the Cromarty Firth region by establishing an industrial low carbon cluster at the port.
Green methanol is a renewable, liquid product that is used as a transportation fuel or as a feedstock in the chemical industry. It is produced from recycled carbon dioxide and hydrogen produced from renewable electricity using proven technologies such as electrolysis.
Tim Cornelius, chief executive of GEG, described the plans as a “potentially seminal project for Scotland”.
He said: “Green methanol can be made from many plentiful sources and with the efforts being made to capture North Sea carbon dioxide, we hope to become an important customer and consumer of projects such as the Acorn Project to produce clean fuels for the wider maritime transport sector.
“Onshore and offshore wind is one of the world’s fastest growing sources of energy, however, wind power must be dispatched as soon as it is produced, even if there is not enough demand for electricity.
“This plant will have the capability of harnessing excess power to produce green methanol, which can then be used as an automotive or shipping fuel or as a chemical building block in thousands of everyday products.”
David Cassidy, chief executive of Proman, added: “As a global leader in methanol production we are actively investing and pursuing green methanol projects to further develop methanol’s potential as a clean fuel for the future.
“Working with Global Energy Group in establishing green methanol production in Scotland is an exciting development in our strategy.”