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Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Book: "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy&quo

Unread postby Caoimhan » Thu 16 Mar 2006, 13:08:46

Backstop,

Thanks for this response. It was one of the most sensible I've ever seen from a moderator on this board.

The most critical issue with biomass "solutions" is the available land issue. (Unless we can figure out how to scale up photobioreactors dramatically and and solve the problems with algal production.)

Some biomass "solutions" are agriculturally intensive, and highly competitive with food production, which also severely limits their viability as a serious offset for petroleum.

I do like the forest solution as non-arable lands can be reforested, and cyclically harvested for methanol (and possibly, cellulosic ethanol) production.

I want it to be clear, however, that those of us who defend technological solutions to the problem are often criticized unfairly for "wanting to preserve our wasteful car culture". Just because we don't have fantasies about some sort of manure-powered utopia, doesn't mean we like the status-quo in our society.

ANY solution to our energy problems will involve getting used to the idea that we have either finite resources, or a finite ability to convert (nearly) infinite resources into useable energy.

Additionally, we have to get used to the idea that efficiency can only reduce our per capita usage so far. Reduce it past a certain point, and our productivity is harmed, bringing our economies into stagnation. Reduce it further, and civilization collapses.

Can Americans cut their energy consumption in half? Possibly. Can Europeans do so? Probably not. As the economies of India and China expand, can they scale up in an efficient way? Will they? If they don't, and assuming Americans cut back, can the world handle the two most populous nations on Earth engaging in resource wars?

Personally, I've decided that the most important thing to do is to work on my own personal consumption. The less dependent I am on the world energy economy, the less I will suffer when the sh*t hits the fan.
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Re: Book: "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy&quo

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 16 Mar 2006, 14:16:17

This is pretty funny :lol: Breathless Headline:
Technology Review wrote: Forget about the hydrogen economy. Methanol is the key to weaning the world off oil. George Olah tells us how to do it.


This is couched as an improvement upon Amory Lovins’ trademarked Hydrogen Economy which is very much about decentralized power production, localized consumption, organic food systems, and industrial and nutrient recycling. It is based on a holistic and bioregional paradigm that requires a complete retooling of our linear, throwaway, centralized industrial paradigm. Your methane economy is more of the same. Haven’t you cornies read the wiki entry on this?

wike wrote: A problem with pyrolysis is that it is only economically feasible on an industrial scale, so it is not advisable to try and produce methanol from renewable resources like wood on a small (personal use) scale.


So the very process itself depends on the the fossil-fuel infrastructure, the economy of giganticism, and all the attendent problems of pollution, national security, control, suburbanization, etc. etc.

Plus it has a negative eroei :twisted:
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Re: Book: "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy&

Unread postby backstop » Thu 16 Mar 2006, 15:21:45

ES -

It's good to find that we agree fundamentally not only over the critical need for a Treaty of the Atmospheric Commons,
but also over the highly positive potential of Coppice Methanol.

With regard to the points you raised, I wrote that "it remains to be seen" just what are the full-term full-spectrum costs of nuclear methanol
because we don't yet have those costs. and my searches of even current EU costings put nuclear power at two to three times the cost of hydro power.

This ratio usually excludes decomissioning (which has yet to occur) and insurance costs (now paid by the taxpayer) and permanent waste storage (which again has yet to occur).
Given that two out of three of these will occur under elevated energy costs post peak oil, we can reasonably expect these costs to rise from present guesstimates,
and even these are already rising (e.g. the rise from £50 Bn to £70 Bn for decomissioning the current UK fleet).

I would agree that technical papers have peripherally covered the nuclear methanol option -
what I was referring to was the lack of this option being used in public lobbying - e.g. this is the first coverage of it here on PO.com.

I have to say that I'd differ with your expectation of cheap abundundant electricity becoming available under the impacts of declining oil and gas supply,
together, God willing, with stringent global efforts to reduce the carbon emissions from coal combustion.

Finally, I'm very interested by your EROEI calculations regarding Coppice Methanol, but I'm not sure I understand your math. Could you clarify it ?

There are of course many practical questions around the issue -

for instance, a mega-scale project:
with feedstock being mechanically extracted, trucked 40kms to a huge plant and reduced to woodchips before gasification, with all carbon being reduced to CO2,

will have a very different EROEI to a minimal scale project that :
harvests the feedstock manually and binds it into 250kg faggots, extracts them with draft animals and hauls them 2.5kms to the village refinery,
where they're fed whole to a tube kiln that leaves the excess carbon in the form of charcoal rather than its being wastefully reduced to CO2.

I should add here that using draft animals may seem utopian to some, but they are actually strictly practical both as a capital cost saving and as a yield maximizing tactic -
last time I visited Palm Oil plantations in W. Costa Rica they'd gone back to oxen haulage from tractors,
since the latter had been running over the trees' roots and thereby suppressing yields.

From this perspective it seems likely that the affordability of labour will be a significant component in the level of EROEI achievable,
as will having a project design that sets a prime value on maximizing EROEI.


regards,

Backstop
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Re: Book: "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy&

Unread postby EnergySpin » Thu 16 Mar 2006, 18:10:36

backstop wrote:ES -

It's good to find that we agree fundamentally not only over the critical need for a Treaty of the Atmospheric Commons,
but also over the highly positive potential of Coppice Methanol.

Yes we do :)

backstop wrote:With regard to the points you raised, I wrote that "it remains to be seen" just what are the full-term full-spectrum costs of nuclear methanol
because we don't yet have those costs. and my searches of even current EU costings put nuclear power at two to three times the cost of hydro power.

Cannot speak about the EU ... but US numbers suggest that the cost is 2.5 cents/Kwhr (similar to the hydro cost used in the PDF I provided)
http://www.uic.com.au/nip08.htm
so my extrapolation should be ok

backstop wrote:This ratio usually excludes decomissioning (which has yet to occur) and insurance costs (now paid by the taxpayer) and permanent waste storage (which again has yet to occur).
Given that two out of three of these will occur under elevated energy costs post peak oil, we can reasonably expect these costs to rise from present guesstimates,
and even these are already rising (e.g. the rise from £50 Bn to £70 Bn for decomissioning the current UK fleet).

Backstop I will not debate the economics of nuclear at this thread. But seriously now, these plants served the UK for close to 5 decades. Shouldn't the decomissioning cost be distributed over the past (or future) 5 decades?
This is the paradox of nuclear: the first generation pays for the plants, the next 1 1/2 enjoys the benefits and the last pays the decomissioning bill.
Pretty good deal if you ask me, but I do not want to hijack the thread ...


backstop wrote:I would agree that technical papers have peripherally covered the nuclear methanol option -
what I was referring to was the lack of this option being used in public lobbying - e.g. this is the first coverage of it here on PO.com.

Well, the majority of posters here still feel we are screwed because the age of cheap motoring is over .... and the vast majority of posters still think that no oil = no fertilizers, so I'm not surprised that methanol is not being discussed. Couple that with the PTSD caused by college courses of organic chemistry, and you get a pretty good idea why we are discussing ethanol instead of methanol around here :roll:

backstop wrote:I have to say that I'd differ with your expectation of cheap abundundant electricity becoming available under the impacts of declining oil and gas supply,
together, God willing, with stringent global efforts to reduce the carbon emissions from coal combustion.

I'm not counting on oil or NG to fill in the gap ....
Wind and nuclear will do it ... but the cost of energy HAS to rise during the powerswitch to a low carbon diet. After we have powerswitched ... the cost of energy will fall. The sooner we go down this route , the better .... and it seems that Europe is doing it, at least as far as wind is concerned.
http://www.nofuel.org


backstop wrote:Finally, I'm very interested by your EROEI calculations regarding Coppice Methanol, but I'm not sure I understand your math. Could you clarify it ?

Actually it is pretty straightforward (the data are available at the report I provided). Let me walk you through the calculation, which will prove that oil was not that big of a deal, compared to the alternatives:
Methanol from Biomass:
According to www.hyweb.de/Wissen/pdf/hyforum2000.pdf
more than 59% of the primary energy of the biomass may be captured in methanol. Fast growing trees and grasses (and quite likely coppice) have an EROEI for harvesting equal to 20-22 (energy in biomass/energy input for the process). Multiply this by 59% and you get a number equal to 13.

Let's go to direct synthesis from atmospheric CO2.
According to the first report I provided, the efficiency at the plant site is 38% i.e. Energy_Content_Methanol/Energy_Required_To_Run_The_Plant = 0.38
The energy required to run the plant is in the form of electricity ...., so the holistic EROEI is simply 0.38*EROEI(electricity production).
Modern wind farms, have an EROEI of 40+ .... so if one were to invest one unit of energy in a windfarm and "cash out" his investment on methanol, one would be left with: 40*0.38 = 15.2
Why is the second number, higher than the first?
Well, because the authors want to run the methanol plants on renewable energy and thus will ship biomass/CO2 to countries with cheap hydro or solar (read the report, the anti-nuclear menace of renewable energy German researchers never ceases to amaze me!). In reality, the EROEI of methanol from biomass should be much higher, but ......

backstop wrote:There are of course many practical questions around the issue -

for instance, a mega-scale project:
with feedstock being mechanically extracted, trucked 40kms to a huge plant and reduced to woodchips before gasification, with all carbon being reduced to CO2,

will have a very different EROEI to a minimal scale project that :
harvests the feedstock manually and binds it into 250kg faggots, extracts them with draft animals and hauls them 2.5kms to the village refinery,
where they're fed whole to a tube kiln that leaves the excess carbon in the form of charcoal rather than its being wastefully reduced to CO2.

Sorry, the plant will not work due to a simple (and not widely known) fact:
large scale industrial processes from methanol production that involve gasifiers have to be BIG, otherwise the conversion efficiencies go down significantly. I'm not really sure why you would want to go down the charcoal route ... the syngas approach is much more elegant and its efficiency can be fine tuned by increasing the amount of H2 in the syngas.
In any case, George Olah (Nobel laureate, 1994 Chemistry) was interviewed by Technology Review regarding a hypothetical methanol economy:
http://www.technologyreview.com/BizTech ... 96,p1.html


backstop wrote:I should add here that using draft animals may seem utopian to some, but they are actually strictly practical both as a capital cost saving and as a yield maximizing tactic -
last time I visited Palm Oil plantations in W. Costa Rica they'd gone back to oxen haulage from tractors,
since the latter had been running over the trees' roots and thereby suppressing yields.

Backstop, I would seriously NOT consider draft animals for anything, and have refrained from talking about them both in my real life and the internet. The last time I visited my old genetics lab (they consider me a traitor when I switched from molecular cloning tools to computers), people were semi-seriously debating whether it might be worthwhile to explore the possibility of boosting the intelligence of oxen by genetic modification. We do not have the know how to do this right now, but we are getting to this point fast (probably before the end of this decade). So with all due respect, let's stick with our machines in order to avoid certain ethical issues pertaining to mammalian chimeras.
But irrespective of what my former gene splicing colleagues joke about, anytime anyone raises the issue of animal use post peak, I get uncomfortable. After all, biotech is one technology that will NOT go away after the end of the hydrocarbon age( Cuba is a prime example of what happens when you remove oil from a society full of biological scientists). And they did not have the benefits of a few tens of complete genomes to choose from, for their GM experiments 8O 8O

backstop wrote:From this perspective it seems likely that the affordability of labour will be a significant component in the level of EROEI achievable,
as will having a project design that sets a prime value on maximizing EROEI.

regards,

Backstop

I will resist the temptation to offer an answer to this important project management issue, because it will raise the doomerosity level around here, but oh boy it is quite a struggle :-D :-D :-D
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Re: Book: "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy&quo

Unread postby backstop » Fri 17 Mar 2006, 09:03:02

Caoimhan -

thanks for your kind words - even mods can occaisionally write coherently !

I well agree that the present advance of agri-biolfuels is a highly retrograde step, and as food shortages begin to bite
I would expect them to be heavily curtailed.

The Forest Energies OTOH are a largely untapped option, for which I've seen a Japanese academic estimate of over 900 mha.s
of appropriate non-arable land being available (will hunt link). The UK alone has over 7 mha.s of such land.

Yet this option won't make a bit of difference to the impacts of PO or GW (apart from minor delays)
unless we achieve a global treaty of the atmospheric commons,
by which we commit, globally, to rapidly phasing out fossil fuel dependence.

Thus for all I share your interest in establishing local sustainable community solutions, it seems imperative that we also work to achieve that treaty.
Doing this means bearing in mind that Cheyney, Blair, Putin etc are only very temporary obstructions.

As you may have noticed, I disdain the doomer/cornucopian slagging matches as being an unproductive mutual externalization of fears
and something of a distraction.
Given the four elemental horsemen & a chicken, (Soil, Climate, Energy, Water, + Bird Flu) that we face it seems to me that our global society
is inevitably entering a massive and potentially lethal transformation.
Yet forecasting the certainty of total destruction seems no more rational than denying the scale of global change we face.

Thus while it is patently obvious to me that we can, given unprecedented global popular effort and political leadership,
weather these changes to manage the transformation to a far smaller, equitable & sustainable global society,
I fully acknowledge the risks that we'll fail to do so to greater or lesser degree.

Thus my preferences in energy resources & technologies reflect three inherent criteria :

1/. Ecological Sustainability

2/. Local Legitimacy

3/. Global Relevance.

I guess we may agree that the person with crystal balls better be very carefull about how he walks ?


regards,

Backstop
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New Manufact Process Could Revolutionize Alcohol as fuel

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 05 Jan 2008, 05:20:48

New Biofuel Manufacturing Process Could Revolutionize Alcohol as a Fuel

Currently, the primary alcohol being produced for energy purposes is ethanol. A new method for producing longer-chain alcohols as biofuels has been developed by University of California, Los Angeles researchers that shows promise at creating alcohols with an energy content close to that of gasoline. The research paper can be found in the January 3, 2008 edition of the journal Nature.


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Re: New Manufact Process Could Revolutionize Alcohol as fuel

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 05 Jan 2008, 07:39:32

Graeme wrote:New Biofuel Manufacturing Process Could Revolutionize Alcohol as a Fuel

Currently, the primary alcohol being produced for energy purposes is ethanol. A new method for producing longer-chain alcohols as biofuels has been developed by University of California, Los Angeles researchers that shows promise at creating alcohols with an energy content close to that of gasoline. The research paper can be found in the January 3, 2008 edition of the journal Nature.


associatedcontent


This was already lightly explored
http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic30188.html
on the board.
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Methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 30 Apr 2013, 22:52:23

After hunting around for a good thread to post this on I concluded here was as good a choice as any. I have known since February 1982 that Methanol was a viable ICE fuel and that California made some significant strides in the early 1980's in encouraging fleet vehicles from varied companies within the state to adopt it as their fuel of preference.

Somehow despite its easy production from Natural Gas or cellulose rich agricultural waste in the USA it was never able to break into the marketplace in a big way. Some companies used it for their fleets because they did all their own maintenance and repair/adaptation work themselves and they were able to purchase bulk quantities cheaper than conventional fuel. For a long time the Indy racing circuit and NASCAR used Methanol as their preferred racing fuel. Recently they bowed to political correctness and switched to corn ethanol, but the cars use basically the same technology to burn either. It was just a case of switching to a politically favored supply stream, no real adaptation was needed. Methanol is still used by many drag racers and a few hobby level home mechanics have adapted their personal transportation to be M-100 compliant. Meanwhile the legislation to mandate that all vehicles sold in the USA designed for spark ignition have flex fuel capability to run E-85, M-85 or unleaded gasoline have died in congress repeatedly.

Natural gas is currently cheap, in my home town I get it for $1.00 CCF. M-85 made from 15% Gasoline, 85% Methanol could currently be made for $2.00/gallon. The technology to do this is a century old and about 80% efficient at converting Methane from Natural Gas into Methanol. Liquid Methanol fuel in your tank has about twice the energy density of Compressed Natural Gas and around 75% of the energy of Gasoline. It has a very high Octane rating and is much more efficient in high compression engines. People shouldn't drink it because it is a deadly poison, but so is Gasoline. It is moderately corrosive and hydrophylic so these things need to be designed for. NASCAR and Indy racing engines had no problem using it for 30 years and a lot of Drag racers are still using it today so the problems are well understood and design tested solutions are well known. It burns with less residues and unburnt components than gasoline and those remnants are easily taken care of by a standard catalytic converter.

Youtube has been throwing a pro alternate fuel video at me frequently and I watched it today for the second time, that is what inspired this post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKEtQ_zz4GA

Watch it and let me know what you think.
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 01 May 2013, 02:33:03

Tanada, Thanks for the great link! I didn't realize how 'inaccessible' the remaining oil reserves are in terms of cost. Thanks also for all your other posts which provided potential solutions to our predicament. This was a particularly good one. It could have been posted in the biofuel thread since my last post there mentions the FFF and Hofmeister's new role in it.

I have to wonder why Hollander didn't mention biobutanol in his talk because this is a better drop-in fuel than ethanol or methanol, isn't it? Du Pont is currently working on production of biobutanol as you can see in my post near the top of page 36 in the biofuel thread, and you've already seen that there are now catalysts available to convert ethanol to n-butanol. Apparently, the DOE thinks that biobutanol will be produced through ethanol conversion. And according to wiki:

Common ethanol fuel mixtures for fuel sold as gasoline currently range from 5% to 10%. The share of butanol can be 60% greater than the equivalent ethanol share, which gives a range from 8% to 16%.
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 01 May 2013, 06:33:40

Biobutanol is fine as a fuel if it is what you really want to use, and you can also convert Methanol into Butanol by using the process you mentioned after first converting Methanol to Ethanol. Personally I would like to get away from Ethanol completely because far far too much of it comes from food sources. Methanol can be easily made from Cellulose waste or even cellulose crops. If you want to make efficient bio fuels in the USA it would be eminently more logical to use corn silage consuming 90% of the stalk mass than it is to use the seeds of corn themselves with their tiny starch content compared to the overall cellulose available in the stalk. The biggest hold up is Federal Regulation, and that is both due to existing regulations that are contrary to what makes sense and proposed regulations that do not get put in place because some power that is in existence feels threatened by them.

To require all engines sold in the USA starting in a year designed to burn gasoline to be flex fuel engines able to burn any of the alcohols would add a trivial cost to the vehicles and devices using those engines. At the same time it would allow for all new gasoline powered systems to operate on a wide range of fuel mixtures. If you go to any of the auto/light truck manufacturers websites for the USA and select Build A Car/Truck so you can order what you want from the factory you quickly discover that a very small number of models available are flex fueled. For Toyota for example only their largest engine block in their large SUV and Pickup up even offer the option, and to ensure the one you order is flex fuel capable you have to talk to a real live person because the web site automatically selects a standard gasoline only engine. I played with Ford and GM sites also and found a similar issue because flex Fuel is a rare option, not the industry standard. Also because it is 'optional premium equipment' the sale price is all out of proportion from the actual cost involved. Making the system changes needed to use flex fuel really are trivial, the system has to have different seals and materials in some hoses, pumps and gaskets. You also need a different computer program in the engine control chip. Parts cost less than $500.00 on a $ 20,000.00 system because all of the labor to do the work is exactly the same as it would be in the standard gasoline only engine. For performance engines designed to run higher octane fuels with turbo chargers and higher compression ratio's the much lower cost of alcohol fuels makes a lot of sense, but you have to have flex fuel capability to take advantage of alcohols high octane rating.

The auto manufacturer's who sell in the USA all have to capability to make these low cost changes to their product lines, but none of them is willing to be the first in line because it would give their competitors a small cost advantage. It reminds me of the Seat Belt fiasco, seat belts were optional equipment for a very long time but it required Government regulation to make them a standard feature. Thus many cars didn't have seat belts until the regulations were passed making them a requirement. The same thing happened in the USA with Unleaded fuel/Catalytic converters. Even though Tertraethyl Lead was a well known poison and causing all kinds of environmental damage it was a cheap octane booster so it was the industry standard. It also plugs up the catalyst in the catalytic converters pretty rapidly so it precluded their use in fighting smog and other air pollution. It took over a decade of effort for regulations eliminating Tetraethyl lead from the USA fuel supply to be carried out.

I am not blaming the auto manufacturers, they are trying to compete by producing the lowest cost product that meets customer demands. Their actions are perfectly logical from an accounting point of view, so long as the externalities are ignored. Unfortunately the environmental costs are external and ignored by the accounting standards. Only regulation requiring production of all flex fuel engines or mass consumer demand for the same thing will cause a switch in their production. I know Brazil has those standards in place and their fuel system is diverse.

How do things stand in New Zealand? Are flex fuel engines standard or a small percentage optional feature? If even a few countries adopted them as a standard requirement it would help influence the USA to do the same.
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 01 May 2013, 20:29:27

Flexi-fuel vehicles do exist in NZ. Holden introduced them in 2010. They are not widely adopted here probably for the same reason in the US - not enough infrastructure.

I saw in wiki that:

The Open Fuel Standard Act (OFS), introduced to Congress in May 2011, is intended to promote a massive adoption of flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on ethanol or methanol. The bill requires that 50 percent of automobiles made in 2014, 80 percent in 2016, and 95 percent in 2017, would be manufactured and warranted to operate on non-petroleum-based fuels, which includes existing technologies such as flex-fuel, natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, plug-in electric and fuel cell.[157][158][159]


I also saw this morning that a US biofuels pioneer has given up his business because it could not compete with natural gas. It appears that widespread adoption of alcohol fuels will have to wait until later in the decade at the earliest.
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Methanol preferred technologies

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 02 May 2013, 13:34:31

Methanol, an industrial chemical that can also be used as fuel, can be made from a wide variety of source materials. Viable feedstocks include agricultural products such as corn, sugarcane and switch grass, as well as other sources such as natural gas, coal, or municipal waste. Methanol can even be produced using carbon dioxide emissions that would otherwise contribute to greenhouse gas. As a transportation fuel, methanol has several advantages over gasoline.

Convenience

Methanol can quickly compete with gasoline in order to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Feedstocks are abundant and readily available in the U.S., methanol can be produced at scale using technology available today, and relatively small changes to existing infrastructure can deliver it to customers at the pump.

Oil is the only source for gasoline we use today. However, methanol can be produced from an almost endless variety of materials, including natural gas and municipal waste, as well as renewable resources such as biomass.
Methanol can be most quickly produced at a large scale using abundant U.S. natural gas.
Methanol from natural gas can be produced close to dispensing centers in large metropolitan areas, reducing the need to transport fuel.
Methanol can be made from any carbohydrate, including biomass.

Performance

Methanol offers certain performance advantages compared to gasoline.

Methanol has a much higher octane rating than gasoline, allowing blends to raise vehicle performance without other chemical additives.
Studies have shown that methanol can improve fuel economy compared to gasoline

Human health & safety

Most U.S. citizens live in cities where they are regularly exposed to concentrated vehicle emissions that affect air quality and increase incidence of asthma and other respiratory health ailments as well as cancer. Methanol can not only reduce toxic emissions and decrease particulates, but also decrease the use of carcinogenic gasoline additives and chance of vehicle fires.

Studies have shown reductions in vehicle emissions, with recent tests finding a complete reduction in carbon monoxide using a blend of 60% methanol with 40% gasoline.
Using inherently high-octane methanol can eliminate the need for octane boosting, but harmful, aromatic compound additives that replaced lead in gasoline. Commonly known as BTX for benzene, toluene and xylene, these additives promote particulates that lead to human respiratory problems such as bronchitis or asthma. Benzene is itself a carcinogen.
Methanol burns much cooler than gasoline, which could reduce the number of automobile fires.

The environment

Petroleum affects the environment at every level of it lifecycle, from drilling to refining to distribution to combustion. On the other hand, even when produced from natural gas that is extracted using common oil drilling methods such as fracking, methanol avoids the end-to-end environmental impacts of gasoline.

Methanol is naturally biodegradable with a very short half-life. An Exxon-Valdez methanol spill would not have required expensive lawsuits or a “super fund” effort to clean it up.
Methanol from natural gas can be produced using up to 25% CO2.
Studies indicate that methanol produced from natural gas is somewhat less greenhouse gas intensive than gasoline produced from conventional oil, and substantially better than high carbon, non-conventional gasoline.
Oil refining impacts air and water quality, produces toxic solids and sludge, and is the most energy intensive industry in the U.S. On the other hand, methanol produced from natural gas requires only a simple gasification process that avoids the toxic byproducts of oil refining.
Although fracking has been primarily associated with natural gas, it was developed and has common use as an oil extracting technology. Its potential to unlock a vast amount of natural gas to help cure our oil addiction cannot be ignored; however, like fracking for oil, careful procedures are necessary to avoid undue harm to freshwater supplies or the environment.
From
http://www.fuelfreedom.org/the-real-for ... /methanol/

I get so frustrated knowing for decades that alternatives exist and were marginally economic before 2006, but that now they are very economic. Despite the fact that they are now economic they are not being adopted because of poorly thought out regulations on the one hand and short term thinking motivated by accounting practices on the other. Adopting a methanol blending system for the USA fuel supply that could make use of biowaste and our abundant natural gas would be simple common sense, and yet getting it done is like moving a mountain of sand with a table spoon by hand.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 02 May 2013, 20:36:44

Tanada, Do you know the current status of the Open Fuel Standard Act of 2011 (H.R. 1687)?

Maybe retrofitting the current fleet or introducing flexi-fuel cars for alcohol fuels might work to some extent once this bill is passed. Hard to predict what proportion would adopt this though given the number of competitors. I also saw in this wiki link that:

Plans are underway to market a fuel that is 85% Ethanol and 15% Butanol (E85B), so existing E85 internal combustion engines can run on a 100% renewable fuel that could be made without using any fossil fuels


Thanks for pointing out the advantages of methanol but there also disadvantages:

Methanol economy disadvantages

High energy costs associated with generating hydrogen (when needed to synthesize methanol)

Depending on the feedstock the generation in itself may be not clean

Presently generated from syngas still dependent on fossil fuels (although in theory any energy source can be used).

Energy density (by weight or volume) one half of that of gasoline and 24% less than ethanol[11]

Corrosive to some metals including aluminum, zinc and manganese. Parts of the engine fuel-intake systems are made from aluminum. Similar to ethanol, compatible material for fuel tanks, gasket and engine intake have to be used.

As with similarly corrosive and hydrophilic ethanol, existing pipelines designed for petroleum products cannot handle methanol. Thus methanol requires shipment at higher energy cost in trucks and trains, until a whole new pipeline infrastructure can be built.

Methanol, as an alcohol, increases the permeability of some plastics to fuel vapors (e.g. high-density polyethylene).[12] This property of methanol has the possibility of increasing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from fuel, which contributes to increased tropospheric ozone and possibly human exposure.

Low volatility in cold weather: pure methanol-fueled engines can be difficult to start, and they run inefficiently until warmed up. This is why a mixture containing 85% methanol and 15% gasoline called M85 is generally used in ICEs. The gasoline allows the engine to start even at lower temperatures.

Methanol is generally considered toxic.[13] Methanol is in fact toxic and eventually lethal when ingested in larger amounts (30 to 100 mL).[14] But so are most motor fuels, including gasoline (120 to 300 mL) and diesel fuel. Gasoline also contains many compounds known to be carcinogenic (e.g. benzene).

Methanol is not a carcinogen, nor does it contain any carcinogens. However, methanol may be metabolized in the body to formaldehyde, which is both toxic and carcinogenic.[15] Methanol occurs naturally in small quantities in the human body and in edible fruits.

Methanol is a liquid: this creates a greater fire risk compared to hydrogen in open spaces. Methanol leaks do not dissipate. A methanol-based fire burns invisibly unlike gasoline. Compared to gasoline, however, methanol is much safer. It is more difficult to ignite and releases less heat when it burns. Methanol fires can be extinguished with plain water, whereas gasoline floats on water and continues to burn. The EPA has estimated that switching fuels from gasoline to methanol would reduce the incidence of fuel related fires by 90%.[16]

Methanol accidentally released from leaking underground fuel storage tanks may undergo relatively rapid groundwater transport and contaminate well water, although this risk has not been thoroughly studied. The history of the fuel additive methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE) as a groundwater contaminant has highlighted the importance of assessing the potential impacts of fuel and fuel additives on multiple environmental media.[17] An accidental release of methanol in the environment would, however, cause much less damage than a comparable gasoline or crude oil spill. Unlike these fuels, methanol, being totally soluble in water, would be rapidly diluted to a concentration low enough for microorganism to start biodegradation. Methanol is in fact used for denitrification in water treatment plant as a nutrient for bacteria.[18]
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 03 May 2013, 02:06:22

Graeme wrote:Tanada, Do you know the current status of the Open Fuel Standard Act of 2011 (H.R. 1687)?

Maybe retrofitting the current fleet or introducing flexi-fuel cars for alcohol fuels might work to some extent once this bill is passed. Hard to predict what proportion would adopt this though given the number of competitors. I also saw in this wiki link that:

Plans are underway to market a fuel that is 85% Ethanol and 15% Butanol (E85B), so existing E85 internal combustion engines can run on a 100% renewable fuel that could be made without using any fossil fuels


Thanks for pointing out the advantages of methanol but there also disadvantages:


Under the American legislative system any Bill that does not get signed into law within the two years of the Congressional Session dies and is no longer under consideration. The Legislative session goes from the first work day of January in an odd numbered year until the last work day of the next even numbered year. The new session thus began January 2013 and all the Bills from the preceding session died. As far as I can tell this is what happened to H.R. 1687 of 2011, a new Bill with a different purpose was introduced in the last two weeks as H.R. 1687 of 2013 that has nothing to do with fuel standards for vehicles.

E85B sounds like a workable option, thanks for pointing it out.

Of course there are disadvantages as well as advantages to Methanol, it might not be the best choice in many situations. However under the current fuel standards it is not a choice at all in many places due to cumbersome regulations and extreme costs of implementation due to those regulations. Methanol powered fleets have been shown to work very well in favorable regulatory environments, in California for example they worked fine from the early 1980's right up until Governor Schwarzenegger signed a law changing the regulations.

I am not committed to Methanol as the be all end all fuel of the future, personally I still think Ammonia or Hydrazine are the optimum choice. More than anything else however, I think options should be encouraged as part of the regulations instead of discouraged. That way if I want to convert my car to burn Hydrazine and you want a Car burning E-100 Ethanol and Joe6P wants a car burning CNG and Mary Roe wants a car burning Unleaded Gasoline we can all have what we want without being punished for making those decisions.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 03 May 2013, 22:40:41

Here are a few news articles about methanol:

Methanex Seen Rallying on Demand for Methanol in Fuel

Methanex Corp. (MX), the world’s largest methanol supplier, is forecast by analysts to climb beyond last month’s record price as demand rises for the chemical as a fuel source in countries such as China.

Methanol, used in paint, windshield-wiper fluid and plastics, is increasingly being blended into gasoline and other fuels. Investor optimism about Vancouver-based Methanex’s outlook helped drive the shares to an all-time closing price of C$44.09 ($43.69) in Toronto on April 25, a 53 percent increase in six months.
“This used to be a boring industrial chemical company -- people didn’t really care about methanol,” Steven Hansen, a Vancouver-based analyst at Raymond James Ltd. who has a price target of C$50.84, said last week in a telephone interview. “Now there’s this whole new group of demand silos that have emerged that are energy related.”

Ten analysts, including Hansen, have an average target price of C$47.95 a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, 13 percent more than the close yesterday. The shares rose 1.9 percent to close at C$43.20 in Toronto today. Analysts have six buy, one sell and three hold ratings on the stock.

Methanol as an energy source “is seen around the world as part of the solution to high gasoline prices,” Methanex Chief Executive Officer John Floren said in an April 25 interview in Vancouver. “It’s economic and it’s clean burning.”

Methanol is most commonly produced on an industrial scale using natural gas. Global demand for methanol for energy use is expanding at more than 10 percent a year, according to Methanex. It accounted for 37 percent of global methanol demand last year, up from 27 percent in 2007, Jim Jordan of Jim Jordan & Associates, a Houston-based chemical industry consultancy, said yesterday in a telephone interview.


bloomberg

OCI to expand Texas methanol, ammonia complex

The debottlenecking project will increase methanol capacity by 25% to 875,000 tpy. It will also raise ammonia capacity by 15% to 292,000 tpy. OCI said it will adhere to the "highest safety standards in the industry" during its expansion operations, which are expected to conclude in late 2014.


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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 04 May 2013, 20:28:12

I was aware the PRC is consuming a large quantity of Methanol fuel each year but I had been under the impression that it was manufactured internally, not imported from the world market. That bit of news is very interesting because if it is even close to accurate then the Chinese automobile trade is going to be requiring a large portion of M-10 to M-100 qualified vehicles. Because the PRC is such a large market for vehicles that might be the tipping point for manufacturers like Honda, Ford and Hyundai to make M-100 capable engines and fuel systems an industry standard to gain entry into the PRC market.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 05 May 2013, 20:02:16

I saw in this reference on page 8 of "Toxicology of Methanol" by John Clary (2013), the following quote:

Today, China has picked up the methanol torch with over 2.3 billion gallons methanol blended in gasoline in 2011 for use in passenger cars, taxis and bus fleets. Chinese automakers are introducing new models of methanol FFVs while national fuel standards for methanol fuel blending have been adopted to grow the market in an organised manner.
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Re: Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 05 May 2013, 21:22:30

Its usage of the chemical as a transport fuel is expected to double to 8-9m tonnes/year by 2015 from 2012, with a share of 13-16% to China’s overall methanol consumption, if the government’s plan of mandating a 15% methanol blend on gasoline – M15 – pushes through this year, they said.

The M15 plan is incorporated in China’s 12th five-year plan as part of its strategy to minimise dependence on oil imports, while promoting use of a more environmentally friendly fuel, but no official schedule was set for its implementation.

In the municipality of Shanghai, as well as in Shanxi province, trial projects are underway in which some buses are being run on 100% methanol, industry sources said, citing that the alternative fuel is much cheaper than gasoline.

Methanol is priced at around CNY (yuan) 2,800/tonne ($451/tonne) ex-tank, while a 90-RON gasoline costs CNY 7310/kl, which is roughly equivalent to CNY 5,409/tonne.

http://www.icis.com/Articles/2013/04/04 ... -take.html

This makes it sound to me as if the Chinese are going to be using a great deal of Methanol as fuel within a very few years. If their tests of natural gas fracking technology provides them with the same kind of prices as the USA has been experiencing the last few years they will have the ability to convert methane from natural gas into liquid methanol fuel for a supply chain already set up to deal with that product.

This strikes me as a smart thing to do, in a lot of ways a top down regulatory system has advantages over a freer market system if the people making the rules do so for logical technological reasons instead of politically expedient reasons.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 06 May 2013, 11:18:12

I really hadn't spent much time thinking about Methanol as a fuel additive for the last few years, once the Californian's moved away from it I figured it was a niche technology and nothing more.

Now that it was brought back into my sphere of focus I have been doing a lot of reading the last week or so and every indicator I find shows that PR China is moving ahead with Methanol in a big way. Some of the sources I came across state they are instituting M-15 as the national standard with M-85 and M-100 available in cities for use by fleets of taxis and buses. They have been building Methanol production plants rapidly and as of last year were capable of producing 50% of all methanol manufactured on Earth domestically.

For the USA to adopt the M-15 standard we would have to build even more plants than the Chinese have because we still burn a lot more fuel than they do. If we are still consuming 8.5 Million bbl/gasoline per day we would need 1.275 Million bbl/methanol per day. That works out to just under 18.5 Billion gallons of Methanol per year, which would consume around 8% of our yearly supply of Natural Gas methane if we made it from fossil fuels. Using crop and lumber waste would be more environmentally friendly, but Natural Gas is currently cheap so I suspect that is where the majority would come from.
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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 15 May 2013, 10:24:16

Methanol: the clean fuel of the future?

As a fuel for fuel cells, methanol is showing good form lately. Last month, Ballard Power Systems announced that it had shipped 500 methanol-fuelled ElectraGen-ME telecom backup power systems since the company acquired the product line from IdaTech in August 2012.

In fact, the methanol-fuelled product appears to be more popular than the hydrogen version: in the five months to the end of 2012, Ballard sold 160 hydrogen-fuelled ElectraGen versus 240 methanol-fuelled systems.

DMFC specialist SFC Energy has launched new versions of its EFOY Pro portable generators for demanding industrial applications; lifetime has increased by 50% to 4,500 hours, while operating costs have been cut by as much as 40%.

Oorja Protonics has also been busy, signing up UniPro Foodservice Inc. as a potential customer for Oorja's DMFC range-extender technology for materials handling vehicles (MHV).
It is working with HySA Catalysis in South Africa, which has the marketing and distribution rights to Oorja's products in the African market; the target applications are telecommunications backup power, MHV, and auxiliary power units for refrigerated trucks.
But if there is one fuel cell application that surely must be considered beyond the reach of methanol, it is its use as an automotive fuel. It was tried in the 1990s but set aside in favour of hydrogen.

So that was that for methanol and fuel cell vehicles - or was it? Fuel Cell Today has spoken to one fuel cell company that thinks not: Denmark's Serenergy.

Serenergy's Commercial Manager Mads Friis Jensen says the company is not looking to compete in the range where DMFC technology is well-established and effective, but he believes that at power outputs above about 300 W PEMFC-based products make better sense as they allow for more compactness and efficiency than DMFC equivalents.


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