Nothing goes to waste

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Tackling the global waste problem and de-fossilising energy systems are two of the most significant challenges that society faces today.
Producing advanced biofuels and recycled carbon fuels from waste materials, such as Renewable and Recycled Carbon Dimethyl Ether (DME), can be a solution to both problems.
Current recycling efforts need to be increased, with just 7.2% of materials being cycled back into our global economies. This leads to the annual generation of 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste, which is expected to skyrocket to 3.8 billion metric tonnes by 2050.
Nearly two-thirds of this waste, as stated by the UN, is expected to end up in landfills. In addition, the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions has never been more urgent. The consequences of climate change are omnipresent and affect every corner of the globe.
To achieve this, there is a demand for a mix of energy solutions that cater to the different needs of citizens and industries. Circular economies are integral to solving both challenges.
The circular economy concept revolves around minimising waste, preserving resources and reducing environmental impact. It entails adopting a closedloop system where products, materials and resources are reused, recycled, or repurposed rather than discarded after a single use.

The demand for sustainable DME

Over one billion people live and work in rural areas not connected to the main grid and they rely heavily on fossil fuels. In these off-grid areas, solutions like electricity or hydrogen are limited due to practical and economic challenges. Renewable and recycled carbon DME is a sustainable liquid gas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85% and it even reaches negative emissions when carbon capture is used during production.
Chemically similar to LPG, DME can be blended into it up to 12% in existing LPG applications without modifying equipment or appliances. It can also be used in a 100% pure form in a DME boiler, particularly for large commercial and industrial users.
With over 300 million tonnes of LPG used each year for energy purposes globally and 39.87 million tonnes in Europe, the scale of the challenge is enormous. DME can help displace fossil fuels in the hardest-to-reach parts of every country, where widescale electrification or hydrogen is not feasible.

Dimeta’s role in bringing waste-to-DME production to life

Dimeta is developing opportunities for waste-to-DME production worldwide, using circular economy principles and encouraging collaboration across the value chain.
Dimeta is partnering with Enerkem, the first company in the world to produce renewable methanol and ethanol from non-recyclable, noncompostable municipal solid waste at full commercial scale.
This partnership will explore the opportunity for the development of DME plants at a larger scale of around 165,000 metric tonnes per annum each in North America and north-west Europe. Dimeta also recently announced that it is partnering with MyRechemical, part of the Sustainable Technology Solutions business unit led by NextChem (MAIRE Group), and they are carrying out a study exploring the feasibility of the production of renewable and recycled carbon DME.
This study will analyse the technical and economic feasibility of DME production from waste in multiple sites in Europe to decarbonise the LPG industry. Dimeta is part of two powerhouse consortiums, BUTTERFLY and POWERED, led by the independent organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO.

Both projects aim to revolutionise the energy landscape by advancing the production of renewable and recycled carbon fuels, including DME. The use of waste as a valuable resource through DME production not only promotes a circular economy, but it also plays a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and driving sustainable development. However, achieving the climate targets and enhancing global circular economies requires international collaboration at all levels.

For more information: Visit: dimeta.nl. This article was written by Sophia Haywood, Director of Advocacy & Communications at Dimeta, who is also the chair of Advanced Biofuels Coalition.

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