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Renewable methanol is one of the most important fuels in our future. The excursion boat MS innogy on Essen's Lake Baldeney is already running on methanol. Three containers from Rietberg play a large role here.

Cars with electric and hybrid motors have become everyday sights. However, the energy transition is still a challenge for the heavyweights of our transport industry. A ship that has to cross an ocean will not get far with just a battery. Aeroplanes and goods vehicles also face the same problem.

One solution is renewable methanol. The fuel only releases as much CO2 as was required to create it, for example, from the air. In an exemplary project, innogy, soon to be a subsidiary of E.ON, shows how renewable methanol can be produced and used. Included in this project are three tanks from the container experts in Rietberg.

In front of the filling station where the largest of the three containers is installed, there is a filling location, also from Rietberg. This ensures that the methanol does not ever reach the environment. The mobile containers provide the MS innogy excursion boat with fuel.

The "greenfuel" project "

We support the energy transition and want to replace the finite fossil energy sources with renewable sources of energy", explains Christian Metzger from the Strategy and Technology department of innogy SE, who brought the "greenfuel" project to life in cooperation with the city of Essen.

The key element of the project is the Essen Lake Baldeney. There, innogy allows you to experience the whole value chain from methanol production to its application: a run-of-the-river power plant generates energy which is required to produce the renewable methanol in a second plant on site. Finally, MS innogy, a specially adapted excursion boat, can sail across the Lake Baldeney for 16 hours with a full tank. Two electric innogy vehicles expanded by a fuel cell already run on the climate-neutral fuel.

To produce methanol, you need air, water and energy. First, the carbon dioxide (CO2) is split off from the air and mixed with water. If you then apply power to the water, this process stimulates certain enzymes into producing methanol from water and CO2. If you burn the alcohol afterwards, you only create as much CO2 as was taken out of the air – this is called climate-neutral.

Three containers

What sounds simple requires good preparation. "The storage and transportation of methanol requires proper consideration", confirms Guido Röttgers, responsible for business development at Seppeler container technology in Rietberg. Methanol has a high claim to purity, which is why stainless steel is the material of choice. In addition, during the whole process it must be ensured that nothing can leak out at any time. On the recommendation of a project partner in the "greenfuel" project who knew the Rietberg colleagues from an earlier collaboration, Christian Metzger turned to us. "A good choice", confirms Metzger. "We needed three containers in three sizes for three different requirements. And even when difficulties arose with a supplied pump, Guido Röttgers found a solution."

The largest tank by far is the storage tank LT elh 5000, which is integrated into a fire protection container. Here, the methanol produced is not just stored temporarily; it also serves as a filling station for the mobile container and both innogy cars. A drop could miss its mark while fuelling up, but none of it is allowed to make it to the groundwater - for this, the filling station is also fitted with a retention unit from the Rietberg plant.

A KC 450 is installed in the MS innogy. A 450-litre stainless steel tank which is explosion pressure resistant - very important for safety on transport ships. The ship is fuelled from the container number 3, a Quadro-C 330. Double-walled, coated externally, contains 330 litres - and is built into its own specially constructed support as a special product. It also has permanent, energy-independent vacuum leakage monitoring which again ensures that nothing can leak out. A very important point was the UN approval as a transport container and the storage approval.

"It was an exciting task to develop three precise solutions for innogy and the 'greenfuel' project", says Guido Röttgers. "Methanol will play a large role in the future, and Rietbergwerke are ready for it."

- coated externally
- made of stainless steel
- double-walled
- explosion proof
- vacuum leakage monitoring
- UN approval as transport container

Further references of the Seppeler Group

Bilster Berg Drive Resort

Division: Hot dip galvanizing

Everything Under One Roof

Divisions: Hot dip galvanizing/Coating