Mabanaft and Vast get funding for SA solar methanol plant

Aerial shot of Vast Solar's innovative modular tower solar array (mabanaft)
Vast Solar's innovative modular tower solar array

Hamburg-based Mabanaft and Australian renewables company Vast have received a grant approval for the construction of a new green methanol plant in Port Augusta, South Australia.

Related article: Vast signs Mabanaft for world-first solar methanol plant

In close cooperation with the project developer Vast, which specialises in concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) energy systems, energy company Mabanaft intends to build a solar methanol plant with a capacity of approximately 7,500 tonnes per year and a 10MW electrolyser.

The planned demonstration plant could be operational in the beginning of 2027, and could then provide customers with green methanol based on renewable energy. In the future, and after evaluation of effectiveness, other project sites in or near Europe could be added.

In Germany, the project is granted public funding of approximately €12.4 million from Projektträger Jülich, partner to the public sector in science, business and politics. The Australian government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, has pledged to support the project equivalent to approximately €19 million after the project was selected as a part of the German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (known as HyGATE).

“With access to green methanol, our range of sustainable energy solutions for our customers would continue to grow,” Mabanaft director of new energy Philipp Kroepels said.

Related article: EDF Australia and Vast to partner on concentrated solar

Vast CEO Craig Wood said, “This is a significant milestone for Vast and for green fuel production globally. Solar methanol produced at plants like SM1 has the potential to make a huge difference to the transport sector as it urgently looks at ways to decarbonise its fuels. The funding is a testament to Vast’s technology as well as our partners within the Solar Methanol Consortium.”

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