Ørsted’s FlagshipONE plant to kick-start e-methanol production in Europe
Photo courtesy of Ørsted

Ørsted’s FlagshipONE plant to kick-start e-methanol production in Europe

Danish energy company Ørsted is building Europe’s largest commercial production facility for carbon neutral marine fuels in northeastern Sweden. Green fuels are currently unavailable in sufficient volumes and the cost is significantly above fossil fuel.

At the heart of the FlagshipONE plant, which is being built in the Swedish coastal town of Örnsköldsvik, is a technology package  from Siemens Energy comprising four proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers with a total capacity  of 70 megawatts (MW). Also included in the package is a plant-wide electrification and automation system, with innovative  digitalization solutions (such as the use of digital twins), and the entire power distribution and compressor  systems. 

FlagshipONE uses renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen, using Siemens Energy electrolyzers. A further stage in the synthesis process brings in biogenic carbon dioxide from a nearby biomass-fired combined heat and power station. The resulting e-methanol is a CO2-neutral electrofuel that is easy to store and transport. The e-methanol from FlagshipONE will be used in state-of-the-art “dual-fuel” ship engines, either alone or as an admixture to conventional fuel, and contribute towards the decarbonisation of international maritime transportation, which accounts for 3% of global carbon emissions.  

Ørsted’s plant represents the start of commercial production of carbon neutral e-methanol in Europe, based  on a unique approach. Instead of building bespoke plants at each location, FlagshipONE will act as a  blueprint – a “copy-and-paste” model – that can be scaled and replicated at other locations, in Sweden and  elsewhere. The standardization approach has been created by the Swedish company Liquid Wind AB, the  original developer of FlagshipONE. Liquid Wind develops replicable facilities to produce e-fuel and has plans  to develop at least 10 facilities in Scandinavia by 2030. 

The plant will be able to produce  up to 50,000 metric tons of e-methanol per year from renewable energy and biogenic carbon dioxide from  2025. As a substitute for fossil fuels, this can avoid 100,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year in shipping. 

“Without hydrogen or alternative fuels such as e-methanol, there will be no energy  transition. We need to ramp up these novel industries as quickly as possible, which in turn requires  economically viable business models and private investment. Groundbreaking projects like this are  important to finally move from talk to action,” said Anne-Laure de Chammard, member of the Executive Board for Transformation of Industry at  Siemens Energy.

“At Ørsted, we want to create a world that runs entirely on  green energy, and we believe that partnerships will be key to accelerate and develop the power-to-x  solutions needed for the hard-to-electrify sectors. Siemens Energy is already a partner of Ørsted in our  various renewable energy businesses, and I’m pleased that we now extend this long standing partnership to  power-to-x as well,” said Anders Nordstrøm, COO of Ørsted P2X.