Dimeta, Enerkem collaborate on waste-to-DME projects

July 28, 2023 By    

Enerkem, a Montreal-based producer of bio-methanol from mixed waste at commercial scale, and Dimeta, a joint venture between SHV Energy and UGI International, are initiating feasibility studies for the development of two large-scale projects that will convert waste into renewable and recycled carbon dimethyl ether (DME), according to the companies.

DME is a clean-burning fuel that can support decarbonization of the off-grid energy sector, including for heating, cooking, transportation and industrial applications. As DME is chemically similar to LPG, it can blend with existing LPG supply chains, providing a seamless pathway to reducing emissions from the over 200 million tons of LPG used globally for energy each year, the companies add.

DME molecule image: Photo: knowlesgallery/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

DME molecule image: knowlesgallery/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Dimeta and Enerkem expect to develop the projects in northwest Europe and in the U.S. Gulf Coast, with each project anticipated to produce about 165,000 tons of renewable and recycled carbon DME per year from mixed residual waste. The impact of the DME produced from the two projects combined would equate to significantly reducing the carbon footprint of over 1 million LPG-heated homes, when blended with LPG, the companies say.

In recent months, Dimeta and Enerkem successfully completed pre-feasibility studies for the projects and are now moving into the feasibility phase, targeting the start of front-end engineering and design next year.

In addition to its commercial demonstration scale facility in operation in Alberta, Canada, Enerkem is involved in the development and building of new commercial scale waste-to-methanol facilities in Canada and Europe. Enerkem says it will use the design and development of these facilities as the basis for the design of the new projects, combined with an additional methanol-to-DME synthesis step integrated at the end of the process.

In addition to the two DME projects with Enerkem, Dimeta is spearheading a first-of-its-kind, waste-to-DME plant in the United Kingdom, set for operation in 2025.

Dimeta says the projects with Enerkem are a key part of achieving its goal of creating over 300,000 tons of sustainable DME production capacity by 2027.

Frankie Ugboma, CEO of Dimeta, calls the partnership “another significant milestone in Dimeta’s journey.”

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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