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Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 20 Jun 2013, 20:50:27

Too green to be true? Researchers develop highly effective method for converting CO2 into methanol

Université Laval researchers have developed a highly effective method for converting CO2 into methanol, which can be used as a low-emissions fuel for vehicles. The team led by Professor Frédéric-Georges Fontaine presents the details of this discovery in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Researchers have been looking for a way to convert carbon dioxide into methanol in a single step using energy-efficient processes for years. "In the presence of oxygen, methanol combustion produces CO2 and water," explained Professor Fontaine. "Chemists are looking for catalysts that would yield the opposite reaction. That would allow us to slash greenhouse gas emissions by synthesizing a fuel that would reduce our dependence on fossil fuels."
The catalyst developed by Frédéric-Georges Fontaine and his team is made of two chemical groups. The first is borane, a compound of boron, carbon, and hydrogen. The second, phosphine, is made up of phosphorus, carbon, and hydrogen. "Unlike most catalysts developed thus far to convert CO2 into methanol, ours contains no metal, which reduces both the costs and toxic hazard of the catalyst," added the chemistry professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

CO2 to methanol catalysis requires a source of hydrogen and chemical energy. The researchers had the idea of using a compound called hydroborane (BH3), and the results have been spectacular. The reaction achieved is two times more effective than the best catalyst known—and it produces little waste. What makes the discovery even more compelling is the fact that the chemical reaction does not damage the catalyst, which can be reactivated by adding new substrate.

The only downside of the operation is the price tag. "Our approach to creating methanol is highly effective from a chemistry standpoint, but for now the process is expensive," explained Professor Fontaine. "It takes a lot of energy to synthesize hydroborane, which makes it more expensive than methanol. We are working on ways to make the process more profitable by optimizing the reaction and exploring other hydrogen sources."


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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 21 Jun 2013, 08:58:43

This technology like any tech for drawing CO2 out of the atmosphere and converting it to carbon fuel is an energy sink. So long as you are using more energy to make the fuel than you expect to get out and know it up front it is a great carbon neutral way to fuel things :)

Myself I would use all the intermittent power sources like wind/ solar/ tide sources to capture CO2 and make it into carbon fuels, then you can store those carbon fuels and use them when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing to run cars or trucks or trains that use liquid fuels, or gas turbine power plants that today mostly use Natural Gas.
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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 11 Oct 2013, 17:46:50

Can Methanol Save Us All?

In the Wall Street Journal today, George Olah and Chris Cox suggest that instead of venting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it causes global warming, we should use it to create methanol:

Thanks to recent developments in chemistry, a new way to convert carbon dioxide into methanol—a simple alcohol now used primarily by industry but increasingly attracting attention as transportation fuel—can now make it profitable for America and the world to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions.

At laboratories such as the University of Southern California's Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute (founded by George Olah, one of the authors here), researchers have discovered how to produce methanol at significantly lower cost than gasoline directly from carbon dioxide. So instead of capturing and "sequestering" carbon dioxide—the Obama administration's current plan is to bury it—this environmental pariah can be recycled into fuel for autos, trucks and ships.

....In Iceland, the George Olah Renewable Methanol Plant, opened last year by Carbon Recycling International, is converting carbon dioxide from geothermal sources into methanol, using cheap geothermal electrical energy. The plant has demonstrated that recycling carbon dioxide is not only possible but commercially feasible.


Olah has been writing about a "methanol economy" for a long time, and he skips over a few issues in this op-ed. One in particular is cost: it takes electricity to catalyze CO2 and hydrogen into methanol, and it's not clear how cheap it is to manufacture methanol in places that don't have abundant, cheap geothermal energy—in other words, most places that aren't Iceland. There are also some practical issues related to energy density and corrosiveness in existing engines and pipelines. Still, it's long been an intriguing idea, since in theory it would allow you to use renewable energy like wind or solar to power a facility that creates a liquid fuel that can be used for transportation. You still produce CO2 when you eventually burn that methanol in your car, of course, but the lifecycle production of CO2 would probably be less than it is with conventional fuels.


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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 11 Oct 2013, 17:56:11

No, not really (in response to previous question), and if it is anything like ethanol then it will be murder on my small engines. That stuff has gunked up I-don't-know-how-many garden tools.

Give me that good ole' regular, 87 on the pump. LOL
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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 11 Oct 2013, 18:50:31

If you are going to call it sequestering you would have to pump the resulting Methanol into geological traps, like say old oil fields, for very long term storage.
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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 01 Jan 2014, 09:01:22

With China building so many new cars every year and new chemical plants to convert coal into methanol how much will their fuel needs for crude go up? Isn't the point of using M-85 to be able to use domestic coal instead of imported oil?
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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 02 Mar 2014, 16:11:19

Newly discovered catalyst could lead to the low-cost production of clean methanol from carbon dioxide

An international research team has discovered a potentially clean, low-cost way to convert carbon dioxide into methanol, a key ingredient in the production of plastics, adhesives and solvents, and a promising fuel for transportation.

Scientists from Stanford University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark combined theory and experimentation to identify a new nickel-gallium catalyst that converts hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methanol with fewer side-products than the conventional catalyst. The results are published in the March 2 online edition of the journal Nature Chemistry.

"Methanol is processed in huge factories at very high pressures using hydrogen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide from natural gas," said study lead author Felix Studt, a staff scientist at SLAC. "We are looking for materials than can make methanol from clean sources under low-pressure conditions, while generating low amounts of carbon monoxide."

The ultimate goal is to develop a large-scale manufacturing process that is nonpolluting and carbon neutral using clean hydrogen, the authors said.
"Imagine if you could synthesize methanol using hydrogen from renewable sources, such as water split by sunlight, and carbon dioxide captured from power plants and other industrial smokestacks," said co-author Jens Nørskov, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. "Eventually we would also like to make higher alcohols, such as ethanol and propanol, which, unlike methanol, can be directly added to gasoline today."

Industrial methanol

Worldwide, about 65 million metric tons of methanol are produced each year for use in the manufacture of paints, polymers, glues and other products. In a typical methanol plant, natural gas and water are converted to synthesis gas ("syngas"), which consists of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The syngas is then converted into methanol in a high-pressure process using a catalyst made of copper, zinc and aluminum.

"We spent a lot of time studying methanol synthesis and the industrial process," Studt said. "It took us about three years to figure out how the process works and to identify the active sites on the copper-zinc-aluminum catalyst that synthesize methanol."

Once he and his colleagues understood methanol synthesis at the molecular level, they began the hunt for a new catalyst capable of synthesizing methanol at low pressures using only hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Instead of testing a variety of compounds in the lab, Studt searched for promising catalysts in a massive computerized database that he and co-author Frank Abild-Pedersen developed at SLAC.


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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 25 May 2014, 18:05:54

Study for European Parliament assesses options for turning CO2 into methanol for use in transport

A report prepared by ISIS (Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems - Italy) together with Tecnalia (Spain) for the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) discusses the technological, environmental and economic barriers for producing methanol from carbon dioxide, as well as the possible uses of methanol in car transport in Europe.

The study evaluated costs and benefits from a life cycle perspective in order to compare various raw materials for producing methanol and in order to reflect the potential benefits of methanol obtained from CO2. The report concluded that benefits in the medium- and long-term can be anticipated since the obtaining of an alternative fuel using a residual greenhouse gas would allow European dependence on conventional fossil fuels to be cut, and that way the risks in supply security to be minimized.

Noting that it is “evident that considerable and sustained research efforts are necessary to turn CO2 into an efficient and competitive prime materials, which would be attractive not only for the transport sector, but also other industries,” the study proposes a series of policy options to promote the use of CO2 captured from flue gases for the production of methanol and its subsequent use in transport


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Re: Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sun 25 May 2014, 22:42:50

I know you can reverse the combustion process, there are however two tricks. First you have to expend energy to collect the CO2 and H2O feed stock, second you have to build, maintain and supply energy to the machinery that does the reforming of the 2(CO2+H2O)=2(H3COH)+3(O2)
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