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Hamburg  |  14 February 2024  |  Press release

Mabanaft is granted EUR 12.4 million in funding for the construction of a new solar methanol plant in Australia

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Hamburg-based energy company Mabanaft has received a grant approval from the German Projektträger Jülich. The funding marks a crucial milestone for the potential construction of a new green methanol plant in Port Augusta, South Australia. Together with Australian renewable energy company Vast, Mabanaft is assessing to build a demonstration plant with a capacity of around 7,500 tonnes of green methanol per year.

In close cooperation with the project developer Vast, which specialises in concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) energy systems, energy company Mabanaft intends to build a solar methanol plant with a capacity of approximately 7,500 tonnes per year and a 10 MW electrolyser. The planned demonstration plant could be operational in the beginning of 2027, and could then provide customers with green methanol based on renewable energy. In the future, and after evaluation of effectiveness, other project sites in or near Europe could be added.

Companies granted total funding of EUR 24 million
In Germany, the project is granted public funding of approximately EUR 12.4 million from Projektträger Jülich, partner to the public sector in science, business and politics. The Australian government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, has pledged to support the project equivalent to approximately EUR 11.9 million after the project was selected as a part of the German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (known as HyGATE).

Aiming for a German-Australian supply chain for green hydrogen
The initiative HyGATE intends to establish a German-Australian supply chain for green hydrogen and to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the field of hydrogen technologies. For Germany, the initiative also has the potential to contribute to the National Hydrogen Strategy: importing sustainable energy sources and exporting climate protection technologies "made in Germany".

Green methanol can expand the range of sustainable energy solutions
For Mabanaft, the planned demonstration plant can provide increased expertise for the possible construction of similar plants on a commercial scale worldwide. The aim is to supply existing and future customers with green methanol and enable them in their commitment to decarbonisation. "With access to green methanol, our range of sustainable energy solutions for our customers would continue to grow," says Philipp Kroepels, Director New Energy at Mabanaft." He continues: "The funding agreement makes a crucial recognition and validation of our decarbonisation efforts and can be a strong contribution to strengthening Germany's leading role in the global energy transition."

Craig Wood, CEO of Vast said, “This is a significant milestone for Vast and for green fuel production globally. Solar Methanol produced at plants like SM1 has the potential to make a huge difference to the transport sector as it urgently looks at ways to decarbonise its fuels. The funding is a testament to Vast’s technology as well as our partners within the Solar Methanol Consortium.”


The Mabanaft Group is a leading independent and integrated energy company providing its customers with innovative energy solutions for their transportation, heating, industrial and agricultural needs. The group is active in import, distribution and marketing of petroleum products, natural gas liquids, chemicals and biofuels, and supports its customers’ transition to cleaner fuels by providing alternative long-term solutions.


Vast is a renewable energy company that has CSP systems to generate, store, and dispatch carbon-free, utility-scale electricity, industrial heat, and to enable the production of green fuels. Vast’’s CSP v3.0 approach to CSP utilises a proprietary, modular sodium loop to efficiently capture and convert solar heat into these end products. On December 19, 2023, Vast listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “VSTE”, while remaining headquartered in Australia.


The project "Joint project SoIMeth24: Development, construction and commissioning of a unique solar methanol production plant in Australia" is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding code (FKZ): 03SF07725B