Methanol Plants

A portfolio to meet all your needs: Whatever your methanol production requirements may be, we can meet them. Whether you need 10 or 10,000 metric tons per day (tpd), we can supply you with precisely the plant you want.

Whatever feedstock you want to use – anything from renewable raw materials. Hydrogen and Carbon Oxides containing gases in almost any combination, pure CO2 to natural gas – we have the production technology you need.

Methanol

Our methanol plants come in three capacity categories:

Methanol Plant 10-100 tpd

For Power to Methanol (PtM) projects: produced in cooperation with Swiss Liquid Future (SLF) and the SLF/Uhde Methanol process using feedstocks from renewable energy sources, e.g. hydrogen produced by our own thyssenkrupp water electrolysis technology fueled with wind, solar, or water power.

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Methanol Plant 100-3000 tpd

Produced as a rule in gas-powered plants with syngas production by means of Uhde steam reformers and a conventional or the AdWinMethanol® synthesis loop depending on the capacity.

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Methanol Plant 3000-10000 tpd

Produced by AdWinMethanol® technology without steam reformers.

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Due to the proximity of syngases and its generation, thyssenkrupp can serve the needs of our clients with unique and integrated solutions for the combined production of methanol and Ammonia.

One-stop-shop solution for your methanol plant

As a process-oriented and international reputable contractor with more than 2,000 plants built, we offer technology and EPC solutions from a single source.

At thyssenkrupp, we built our first methanol plant as long ago as 1931. Our experience in high-pressure, high temperature processes goes back even further – 95 years. Our engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) know-how enables us to guarantee the punctual completion of your turnkey methanol plant.

With our engineering centers around the globe, we achieve excellent performance at world market prices and ensure vicinity to our clients.

Methanol Plants by thyssenkrupp

Process

The standard methanol plant concept consists of the following process steps:

feed purification, steam reforming, syngas compression, methanol synthesis and crude methanol distillation.

The feedstock (natural gas, for example) is desulphurised, mixed with steam and converted to synthesis gas in the reformer over nickel catalysts at 20 bar to 35 bar pressure and at temperatures of 800 °C to 950 °C. The Uhde steam reformer is a top-fired reformer with tubes made of centrifugally-cast high alloy steel and a proprietary "cold outlet manifold system" to enhance reliability.

The reformed gas at the reformer outlet is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon oxides and residual methane. It is cooled from approximately 880 °C to ambient temperature. Most of the heat from the synthesis gas is recovered by steam generation, BFW preheating, heating of the crude methanol distillation section and by demineralised water preheating.

Process description

Also, heat from the flue gas is recovered by feed/feed-steam preheating, steam generation and superheating as well as combustion air preheating. After final cooling, the synthesis gas is compressed to synthesis pressure, which ranges from 40-110 bar (depending on plant capacity) before entering the synthesis loop. The synthesis loop consists of a recycle compressor, feed/effluent exchanger, methanol reactor, final cooler and crude methanol separator.

Crude methanol, which is condensed downstream of the methanol reactor, is separated from unreacted gas in the separator and routed via an expansion drum to the crude methanol distillation. Water and minor quantities of by-products formed in the synthesis and contained in the crude methanol are removed by a distillation system.

Methanol reactor

Uhde offers isothermal and adiabatic reactors. The isothermal reactor is the most efficient system, as the heat of reaction is directly utilised at reaction temperature level to generate medium-pressure steam.

Uhde's isothermal reactor is a tubular reactor with a copper catalyst contained in vertical tubes and boiling water on the shell side. The methanol reaction heat is removed by partial evaporation of the boiler feed water, thus generating 1 metric ton of medium-pressure steam per 1.4 metric tons of methanol.

Methanol reactor

The advantages of this reactor type are: low by-product formation due to almost isothermal reaction conditions, high reaction heat recovery, and easy temperature control by regulating steam pressure.

To avoid the build-up of inert components in the loop, a purge is withdrawn from the recycle gas and used as fuel for the reformer.

The axial radial multi-bed adiabatic quench is a low cost reactor concept. It is normally used for plants which require no steam generation in synthesis units, due to the fact, that surplus steam is produced during syngas generation (for instance steam reforming).

Uhde has developed various concepts to match the energy requirements of the distillation section with energy available from the front end.

The conventional distillation unit consists of a topping and a refining section. The light ends present in the raw methanol are removed in the topping column. The stabilised raw methanol, consisting of methanol, water and minor amounts of higher alcohols, is fractionated in the refining section to produce grade AA methanol.

In this conventional two-column distillation unit, the heat requirement (i.e. the consumption of LP steam) is the highest for a given methanol yield. However, Uhde's multi-column design maximises the yield and minimises the consumption of LP steam.

The multi-column distillation design consists of three or four columns - one topping column and two refining columns, augmented by an additional recovery column in the case of the four-column design concept.

The appropriate design for the distillation section depends primarily on the plant capacity, the heat available in the process plant and the energy export requirements.

Methanol distillation

To meet the growing demand for methanol, future methanol plants will incorporate large capacities coupled with low production costs, high energy efficiency and the lowest possible environmental pollution. Autothermal reforming combined with energy-efficient synthesis and distillation processes could be the answer to these requirements.