Ørsted breaks ground on Europe’s largest e-methanol plant

Danish offshore wind developer Ørsted has started the construction of FlagshipONE, Europe’s largest e-methanol project.

FlagshipONE. Image by Ørsted

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on 24 May in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, in the presence of political and partner companies representatives.

According to Ørsted, the groundbreaking marks the first steps in a new green era of shipping, where large-scale methanol production facilities will supply growing fleet of methanol-powered vessels, which currently counts 110 vessels on order or in operation, up from 80 vessels at the end of 2022.

FlagshipONE is located on the grounds of the biomass-fired combined heat and power plant Hörneborgsverket in Örnsköldsvik, operated by Övik Energi. As explained, the e-methanol from FlagshipONE will be produced using renewable electricity and biogenic carbon dioxide captured from Hörneborgsverket. In addition, the project will use steam, process water, and cooling water from Hörneborgsverket, and excess heat from the e-methanol production process will be delivered back to Övik Energi and integrated into their district heating supply.

Originally developed by Liquid Wind, FlagshipONE was acquired by Ørsted in December 2022 and the final investment decision (FID) was reached.

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Carbon Clean will supply the carbon capture equipment while the technology package for the facility will come from German company Siemens Energy. The package comprises four proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers with a total capacity of 70 megawatts (MW), as well as the plant-wide electrification and automation systems, including innovative digitalisation solutions (such as the use of digital twins), and the entire power distribution and compressor systems.

Expected to become operational in 2025, FlagshipONE will produce around 50,000 tonnes of e-methanol each year.

Commenting on the groundbreaking, Anders Nordstrøm, COO of Ørsted P2X, said: “FlagshipONE is a pioneering project that will open a new era for green shipping and for Ørsted. I’m very pleased that we’ve now started on-site construction together with other green fuel leaders from across the supply chain, and together with representatives from Örnsköldsvik, Västernorrlands Län and Sweden at large. FlagshipONE will be the first project in a new green industry in Sweden, which Ørsted intends to spearhead.”

Ørsted added that FlagshipONE is the first e-methanol project in its green fuel pipeline. The company is also developing the 300,000 tonnes/year ‘Project Star’ in the US Gulf Coast area and the ‘Green Fuels for Denmark’ project in Copenhagen, which is expected to produce significant volumes of e-methanol to enable the decarbonisation of shipping.