Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is preparing to create a fuel plant manufacturing dimetil Ether (DME / CH3OCH3) in Iceland; and if the plans go through the plant should open in 2014 and fuel the whole Icelandic fisheries fleet. Mitsubishi has been working with Reykjavik Energy in a global geothermal alliance, but is in this case looking more towards Iceland and focusing on synthetic fuel.
The location of choice is Grundartangi, an industrial site by Hvalfjordur fjord in Iceland has hosted an aluminium smelter since 1998. The smelter will provide one of the key ingredients to create this type of fuel. Hiroaki Takatsu of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries confirms that preparations are well underway and work could start as early next year. The project is being worked in cooperation with the Icelandic government and should provide some 150 to 250 jobs. The plant should lower the demand for imported fuel a by third, focusing on the Icelandic shipping fleet to begin with as it fits well to ship engines with little adaptation and could replace diesel as the fuel of choice.
If things go well this type of fuel could also be exported.
About Dimethyl Ether (DME)
“Dimethyl ether (DME) is the organic compound with the formula CH3OCH3. The simplest ether, it is a colourless gas that is a useful precursor to other organic compounds and an aerosol propellant. When combusted, dimethyl ether produces minimal NOx and CO, though HC and soot formation are significant. DME can act as a clean fuel when burned in engines properly optimised for DME.”