Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi is planning extensive production of alternative fuel at Grundartangi by Hvalfjördur fjord in west Iceland. The goal is for the new factory, which will produce dimethyl ether (DME), to open in 2014.
DME is the organic compound with the formula CH3OCH3. The simplest ether, it is a colorless gas that is a useful precursor to other organic compounds and an aerosol propellant, as stated on Wikipedia. DME can act as a clean fuel.
According to Morgunbladid, the gas will be produced by mixing carbon dioxide from Elkem Iceland at Grundartangi with hydrogen, which will be extracted with electrolysis in the new factory. The gas is suitable as fuel for ships as it can be used in diesel engines that don’t require much modification.
The production of alternative fuel would greatly reduce the need for imported fuel in Iceland. In later stages, fuel produced at the factory could be exported.
Hiroaki Takatsu, assistant director of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi’s mother company, has confirmed that preparations are well underway. After approximately one year, constructiona can begin.
The project, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Icelandic government, costs approximately ISK 58 billion (USD 495 million, EUR 278 million). It has not yet been fully financed. Once completed, the factory could create 150-250 jobs.