Methanol as a new fuel

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

According to Nobel Prize-winning chemist György Oláh, if Iceland can produce methanol as a fuel Hungary can do the same. Methanol can be made from shale gas and sparkling thermal water -- which Hungary has a lot – and use the product as a fuel for heavy vehicles said the Nobel Prize-winning chemist.

Hungarian-American chemist György Oláh made these remarks after he met Hungarian President János Áder in Los Angeles -- the Hungarian president was touring North America visiting Hungarian communities in Canada and the United States at the anniversary of the 1956 revolution.

At the meeting, the famous scientist outlined his ideas of replacing crude oil based fuel with methanol made from ingredients can be found in Hungary – hot thermal water and shale gas. Both can be used to produce methanol that can be used as a fuel for heavy vehicles said the professor.

He recalled that Hungary has favorable natural endowments that already the Romans took advantage of – they built bathes in Aquincum. He pointed out that based on bubbly thermal water Iceland built a profit - based methanol plant. "The big difference is that Iceland is a small island in the North Atlantic Ocean, while Hungary is located in the heart of Europe " said the professor.

The Nobel Prize winning chemist told the Hungarian president that the technology he and his colleagues developed make it possible to use shale gas found at the Mako region and produce methanol from it. He added that at the University of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) they developed technologies that allow the use methanol as a universal fuel. "Hungary could use this technology successfully. If Iceland can produce methanol out of bubbling hot water, the same can be done in Hungary from shale gas" said Professor Oláh.

(magyarhirlap.hu – hungarianambiance.com)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Methanol Economy is the future if the oil companies, banks and trans-national corporations would stop overly protecting their interests (undermining alternatives) and interfering with the progress of society. Methanol can be an economical, locally produced renewable fuel - undermining the trans-national corporate control of (volatile) global energy markets.

The "alternate" energy lobby pushes for the illusory "Hydrogen Economy" - hydrogen is not an energy source - it is a (difficult to handle) energy carrier that requires expensive infrastructure to handle - transportation and storage.

Methanol is already a volume produced industrial chemical (car windshield washer fluid, for example) for many chemical processes and products - its production, distribution, storage and properties are well established in industry. Methanol is an ideal (liquid) energy carrier - it can be created by any community using renewable resources, it can be burned in internal combustion engines (Formula F1 race cars as an example) and is an ideal (liquid) fuel for (Methanol) Fuel Cells - a prefect transitory fuel to the electrification of vehicles.

In addition, Methanol can be easily chemically transformed into a diesel substitute - dimethyl ether - for use in diesel land vehicles, ships and eventually aviation (higher safety requirement).

Renewable sources of inputs (H2 + CO2) for Methanol are extensive and include:

Hydrogen (H2) - already an industrial chemical input - renewable and non-renewable sources:

www.hungarianambiance.com/2013/08/free-energy-breakthrough-holy-grail-of.html

CO2 -> CO: Any beer brewery (fermentation) or power plant (burning carbon fuel) and producing CO2 in volume:

Use a catalyst + energy for CO2 -> CO:

Brown University team develops catalyst for selective conversion of CO2 to CO

www.greencarcongress.com/2013/10/20131028-brown.html

Methanol Economy:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanol_economy

www.technologyreview.com/news/405436/the-methanol-economy/

www.technologyreview.com/news/405597/methanol-the-new-hydrogen/

www.ecolo.org/documents/documents_in_english/methanol_olah-06.htm

Book:
Checkout amazon.com for books on the "Methanol Economy" by György Oláh et. al.

Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy 2nd (second), Updated and Enl Edition by Olah, George A., Goeppert, Alain, Prakash, G. K. Surya [2009]

There is so much research and development that has already been done to connect-the-dots to a renewable Methanol Economy - there are few technological "gaps" to fill. The real barriers to a Methanol Economy are political - due to the resistance of vested economic and political interests that control society. People that don't understand how these "vested interests" undermine alternatives (the so-called "Conspiracy theory") - need to give their head-a-shake.

Why would any community not want to economically generate their own liquid transportation fuel and not be dependent on volatile global energy markets ?

Anonymous said...

There are many alternatives for LOCALLY produced, renewable bio-fuels and it will likely be a composite mix of technologies to achieve LOCAL energy independence. Interesting how when researchers and industry are given the support and (modest) incentives, results are achieved. Why spend money on foreign (Globalist, trans-national controlled) petroleum fuels when they can be produced locally ?

Battelle evaluating pilot-scale mobile catalytic pyrolysis unit to convert biomass to bio-oil

www.greencarcongress.com/2013/11/20131108-battelle.html

Battelle researchers have developed a mobile catalytic pyrolysis unit that converts biomass materials such as wood chips or agricultural waste into bio-oil. As currently configured, the Battelle-funded unit converts one ton of pine chips, shavings and sawdust into as much as 130 gallons of wet bio-oil per day...

Currently, Battelle experts are using mainly pine waste in the transportable pyrolysis unit, although the machine can be modified to use other types of unwanted agricultural field residue known as stranded biomass, including corn stover, switch grass and Miscanthus.

Additionally, all of the waste materials produced by the unit’s process—liquid, solid and gas—have been taken into account. The liquid waste stream is water that can be safely recycled or disposed of, the solid char contains inorganics that can be used in fertilizers and the venting gas is monitored for safety.

Because of its small size, the pyrolysis unit is installed on the trailer of a flat-bed 18-wheel truck, making it mobile and thus transportable to the waste products. This feature makes it ideal to access the woody biomass that is often left stranded in agricultural regions, far away from industrial facilities. It's potentially a significant cost advantage over competing processes represented by large facilities that require shipment of the biomass from its home site...


New simple aluminum-based hydride for hydrogen storage

www.greencarcongress.com/2013/11/20131111-alhydride.html

...An aluminum-based alloy hydride offers a more viable candidate because it has the desired traits of light weight, no toxicity to plants and animals, and absence of volatile gas products except for hydrogen. Although lightweight complex aluminum hydrides have been explored extensively, the researchers note, because of their thermodynamic properties and slow kinetics, those suited for practical applications have not yet been developed...


This was a key break-through technology (inexpensive, abundant catalyst) for LOCALLY produced, renewable energy !

www.hungarianambiance.com/2013/08/free-energy-breakthrough-holy-grail-of.html

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe with all the Western intellectual resources - thousands of Universities, technical schools, colleges and research & development laboratories, a collaborative focus is not maintained to produce economical, volume renewable energy technologies. Can the intellectual focus not be maintained to solve discrete problems with a high impact ?

An economical methanol fuel cell without expensive (platinum) catalyst materials ?

An inexpensive, volume produced solar cell ?

An inexpensive Sterling engine to burn domestic methane to generate electricity ?

spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/empire-off-the-grid/0/gridsb01

inhabitat.com/the-2008-deka-revolt/

www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/industry/5-alternative-engine-architectures#slide-1

www.cedmagazine.com/blogs/2012/10/cable-tec-expo-kamen-plans-to-change-the-world-lajoie-might-help


Economical, liquid bio-fuels using waste agricultural materials ?

Sandia partnering with MOgene on ARPA-E project for sunlight-assisted microbial conversion of methane to butanol

www.greencarcongress.com/2013/11/20131118-sandia.html

...MGC’s primary corporate objective is to engineer biocatalysts with novel functionality for production of molecules from non-food feedstocks that can be used for production of transportation fuel as well as commodity and specialty products.

The key to MGC technology is the use of a photosynthetic bacterium which is known to utilize sunlight for its entire energy requirement including fixation of CO2. By combining energy from sunlight, MGC technology will convert natural gas into fuel and would minimize emission of greenhouse gases.

Most methylotrophic organisms typically generate metabolic energy using natural gas as the substrate and if sunlight can be used as the source of this energy, it will increase efficiency, reduce equipment costs associated with the bio-based production of fuel from natural gas. When the technology is completely developed, it will be a single step conversion of natural gas into fuel...



Life Cycle Associates will conduct environment analysis of D’Arcinoff Group large scale alternative energy project

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/11/20131120-lca.html

...a large scale alternative energy project by The D’Arcinoff Group, Inc. (DG) that converts natural gas and biomass to renewable liquid fuel and power. GE Aviation has already entered into a multi-year agreement with DG to purchase up to 10 million gallons annually of DG’s low CO2 emissions jet fuel for production and development testing of GE jet engines. (Earlier post.)

With a production target of 40,000 barrels per day, the initial phase of the DG Energy Program focuses on production of low CO2 emissions synthetic jet and diesel fuel, along with naphtha. The manufacturing process is powered largely from renewable solar and wind energy and uses cellulosic biomass, natural gas, and water electrolysis generated feedstock...

Anonymous said...

BGU researchers developing more efficient process for hydrogenation of CO2 to synthetic crude

www.greencarcongress.com/2013/11/20131121-bgu.html

...There is a pressing need for a game-changing approach to produce alternative, drop-in, liquid transportation fuels by sustainable, technologically viable and environmentally acceptable emissions processes from abundant, low-cost, renewable materials.
...We can now use zero cost resources, carbon dioxide, water, energy from the sun, and combine them to get real fuels...

Anonymous said...

A possible opportunity for Hungary's sugar industry.

Lufthansa Group tests renewable farnesane component from Amyris in kerosene blend

www.greencarcongress.com/2013/11/20131122-lufthnsa.html

As part of the EU “Blending Study” project, Lufthansa has conducted a rig test at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg. Experts involved in this project have been examining the possible impact on aircraft emissions and engine performance of blending farnesane, a new biokerosene component made from biomass sugars, with conventional kerosene...

www.lufthansagroup.com/en/press/news-releases/singleview/archive/2013/november/20/article/2684.html


Scripps Oceanography researchers increase lipids yields in microalgae without compromising growth; potential boon for economical algal biofuels

www.greencarcongress.com/2013/11/20131122-scripps.html

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego report in an open access paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that disrupting lipid catabolism is a practical approach to increase lipid yields in microalgae without affecting growth or biomass. This is turn, could greatly improve the economics of algal biofuel production...

...Maintaining high growth rates and high biomass accumulation is imperative for algal biofuel production on large economic scales, and engineering efforts that increase lipid content without decreasing growth or biomass can significantly reduce production cost and increase the economic viability of algal biofuels...

Anonymous said...

New catalytic system for conversion of CO2 to methanol shows much higher activity than others now in use

www.greencarcongress.com/2014/08/20140801-bnl.html

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, with colleagues from the University of Seville (Spain) and Universidad Central de Venezuela, have discovered a new, highly active catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide to methanol.

The pure metals and bimetallic systems used for the chemical activation of CO2 usually have low catalytic activity; the new system exhibits significantly higher activity than other catalysts now in use. The new catalyst system converts CO2 to methanol more than a thousand times faster than plain copper particles, and almost 90 times faster than a common copper/zinc-oxide catalyst currently in industrial use.

In a paper in the journal Science, the team presents experimental and theoretical evidence for this completely different type of site for CO2 activation: a copper-ceria interface that is highly efficient for the synthesis of methanol...

Ballard and Anglo American launch field trial of methanol-fueled fuel cell home generator in rural South Africa

www.greencarcongress.com/2014/08/20140806-ballard_sa.html

UC Riverside team develops new high efficiency method for conversion of biomass to biofuels

www.greencarcongress.com/2014/08/20140804-celf.html

Anonymous said...

New catalytic system for conversion of CO2 to methanol shows much higher activity than others now in use

www.greencarcongress.com/2014/08/20140801-bnl.html

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, with colleagues from the University of Seville (Spain) and Universidad Central de Venezuela, have discovered a new, highly active catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide to methanol.

The pure metals and bimetallic systems used for the chemical activation of CO2 usually have low catalytic activity; the new system exhibits significantly higher activity than other catalysts now in use. The new catalyst system converts CO2 to methanol more than a thousand times faster than plain copper particles, and almost 90 times faster than a common copper/zinc-oxide catalyst currently in industrial use.

In a paper in the journal Science, the team presents experimental and theoretical evidence for this completely different type of site for CO2 activation: a copper-ceria interface that is highly efficient for the synthesis of methanol...

Anonymous said...

Ocean Scientists Discover How Bacteria Produce Propane In The Deep Seafloor

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060921202410.htm

During a research expedition off South America, scientists discover widespread ethane and propane produced by microorganisms in deeply-buried sediments. Their findings on the production of energy-laden gases appear in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings suggest that microbes in the ecosystem below the seafloor carry out hitherto unrecognized processes, relevant to both our understanding of global element cycles and the metabolic abilities of Earth's microbial biosphere...

Scientists create renewable fossil fuel alternative using bacteria

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114414.htm

Researchers have engineered the harmless gut bacteria E.coli to generate renewable propane. The development is a step towards commercial production of a source of fuel that could one day provide an alternative to fossil fuels. Propane is an appealing source of cleaner fuel because it has an existing global market...

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