Joint dev’t agreement powers Port Augusta green methanol project

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Image credit: Vast Solar

Vast Renewables Limited, a renewable energy company utilising concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) systems, has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with global energy company Mabanaft to propel Solar Methanol 1 (SM1), a CSP-powered green methanol reference plant, forward.

Located at the Port Augusta Green Energy Hub in South Australia, SM1 will produce 7,500 tonnes of green methanol annually.

Green methanol, a versatile hydrogen derivative, offers a pathway to decarbonise challenging industries such as shipping and aviation, Vast said in a media release.

“The JDA is a significant milestone for SM1, which has the potential to demonstrate how Vast technology can unlock low-cost green fuel production to contribute to decarbonising the global shipping and aviation industries,” said Craig Wood, CEO of Vast.

He added, “Vast is excited to continue our partnership with Mabanaft, and the execution of this agreement is a testament to our joint commitment to pioneer green fuel production globally.”

SM1 will be powered by Vast’s 30 MW / 288 MWh CSP plant, which could potentially reduce green fuel production costs by up to 40 per cent, according to engineering group Fichtner.

This project could pave the way for Australia to become a leader in green fuels production, with potential exports to Germany and other global markets.

The JDA outlines the development framework for the project, underscoring the collaboration between Vast and Mabanaft in advancing the energy transition.

This follows the announcement in February of funding agreements for SM1, securing up to AUD 40 million.

Vast will receive AUD 19.48 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and Mabanaft will, pending final investment decision, receive up to €12.4 million from Projektträger Jülich (PtJ) on behalf of the German government, under the HyGATE collaboration between Australia and Germany.

Philipp Kroepels, director of New Energy at Mabanaft, emphasized the company’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions.

He noted, “As a leading energy solution provider, we are committed to enabling our customers’ energy transition. We believe that methanol, in particular, can play an important role in the shipping industry, and Mabanaft is well positioned to build supply chains to meet that growing demand.”

The JDA includes a framework agreement securing offtake rights for Mabanaft for future green fuels projects powered by Vast technology.

This positions Mabanaft to supply green fuels to shipping customers aiming to decarbonise their operations.

Vast and Mabanaft are advancing SM1 with the Solar Methanol Consortium, supported by Australian technology company Calix as Principal CO2 Supply Partner and the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI).

This collaboration marks a significant step in developing sustainable energy solutions, showcasing how innovative technologies and international partnerships can drive the green energy transition.