The Liquid Phase Methanol (LPMEOH) Process, funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and developed in collaboration with Air Products and Chemicals Inc., has been licensed to Woodland Biofuel Inc., which intends to use the technology to develop a wood-gasification process to produce methanol from wood-scrap. The first facility is planned in New York State.

The LPMEOH Process, developed for the production of methanol from coal, is an advanced indirect technology that utilizes synthesis gas, produced via gasification, to produce methanol. LPMEOH technology has the potential to be a more-efficient, lower-cost conversion route to methanol than commercially practiced gas-phase technologies.

The technology converts synthesis gas from the gasifier into methanol, which can either be sold as a value-added product or used as a source of peaking power for clean-burning integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants. Methanol can also be used as a source of hydrogen or synthesis gas for small fuel cells or industrial applications.

The original contract between DOE and Air Products and Chemicals, signed in 1981, included a repayment agreement, which has now been initiated, thanks to the Woodland Biofuel royalty license. The arrangement marks the first external license since the technology’s original testing and demonstration in the 1980s, at the DOE-owned 10 ton-per-day process development unit at Air Products and Chemicals’ syngas facility in LaPorte, Texas. DOE has received the first installment from the repayment agreement.

Building on this achievement, a commercial-scale demonstration of the LPMEOH Process was conducted under the CCT (Clean Coal Technology) Program, which resulted in a 260 ton-per-day facility at Eastman Chemicals’ site in Kingsport, Tenn. The facility is still in operation today.