Photo: Illustration / Courtesy of the European Commission / Photo by Mauro Bottaro

Project Air receives €97 million grant from EU Innovation Fund

Perstorp, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PETRONAS Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG), Uniper, a Germany-based energy company, and the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) have signed an agreement granting €97 million in funds to Project Air from the Innovation Fund.

The project will receive the funds to enable its technology made for the European chemicals industry to become carbon-neutral.

Project Air is a combination of a carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) process for converting CO2, residue streams, renewable hydrogen, and biomethane, which is to be applied for the first-of-a-kind, large-scale production of sustainable methanol.

It is expected to lead to a relative decrease of 123% in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoidance in comparison with conventional methanol synthesis.

According to Uniper, it is also expected to have far-reaching effects throughout many industrial value chains and to contribute to ending Europe’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

Paloma Aba Garrote, Acting Director at CINEA, said: “CINEA is honoured to welcome Project Air into the Innovation Fund projects family, a portfolio that currently includes 52 projects implemented across 16 countries. CINEA has a long track record of financing infrastructure and innovation projects in support of the European Green Deal’s carbon-neutrality objective.”

“I am confident that projects like Project Air will significantly contribute to our objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and diminishing the EU’s dependency on imported fossil fuels. I look forward to the implementation of this project enabler for the EU chemical industry to become carbon neutral.”

Jan Secher, CEO of Perstorp Group, said: “Today marks an important milestone, not just for Project Air but for the chemical industry, as we are now demonstrating that it is possible to break our industry’s dependence on fossil fuels. We hope that more will follow our lead with similar technologies, enabling circular production processes that utilise residue streams and captured carbon.”

“We are happy and grateful that the EU and the Innovation Fund recognise the importance of the chemical industry and its sustainable transformation with this support, which will enable the sustainable transformation of thousands of end products and value chains.”

David Bryson, COO of Uniper, said: “Europe is experiencing an unprecedented energy squeeze, where the focus is on securing energy supplies almost on a daily basis. Recognising that we have a common future will be pivotal to tackling the climate challenge.”

“We need to substitute fossil resources with sustainable alternatives to achieve climate neutrality, and from that perspective Project Air is a game-changer for the transition of the chemical industry. I am very proud that Uniper is a part of the project, and I’m very grateful that the EU commission and CINEA have acknowledged the potential of Project Air.”

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