A consortium of Mitsubishi Group companies has confirmed plans to build a new chemical plant in Trinidad and Tobago for production of methanol and dimethyl ether (DME).

The group, which comprises Mitsubishi Corporation, chemical firm Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and engineering firm Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, made a final investment decision after securing financial support from the Japanese government and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. The project will be undertaken in partnership with the state-owned National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Massy Holdings. When completed, the new plant will produce 1 million tons per year of methanol and 20 thousand tons per year of dimethyl ether.

Methanol is used in a wide range of products, including adhesive agents, agricultural chemicals, paints, synthetic resins and synthetic raw materials. Dimethyl ether can be used as a substitute for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or as a substitute for diesel in automobiles and in power generation. As such, it offers potential as a source of next-generation clean energy.

The partners intend to work with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to promote the use of dimethyl ether as a substitute for diesel in the domestic market and in other Caribbean countries.

According to Mitsubishi, by using natural gas produced in Trinidad and Tobago as the main source of raw materials for producing methanol, a basic chemical, and dimethyl ether, a liquefied gas, the project will help support economic growth in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region while at the same time helping to satisfy growing global demand for methanol.

Construction of the facility at La Brea in southwest Trinidad and Tobago is scheduled for completion by the end of 2018 and is planned to start operating by March 2019. Click here for more information.