Methanol and the Environment

Methanol is emitted into the atmosphere from a number of natural sources, including volcanoes, vegetation, microbes, insects, animals and decomposing organic matter 169 . The anthropogenic (human-caused) release of methanol into the environment is presently mainly due to its use as a solvent through evaporation. Releases to the water and ground are less significant. In the environment, methanol is readily degraded by photooxidation and biodegradation processes. This is, beside other reasons,...

Alcohol as a Transportation Fuel in the Past

The concept of using an alcohol (methanol or ethanol) as a fuel is as old as the ICE itself. Some of the early ICE models, developed at the end of the 19th century by Nicholas Otto and others, were actually designed to run on alcohol. By that time already, alcohol-powered engines had started to replace steam engines for farm machinery and train locomotives. Also used in automobiles, alcohol engines were advertised as less polluting than their gasoline counterparts. Most European countries with...

Fossil Fuel Resources and Uses

Today's enormous energy demands are mainly fulfilled by the use of fossil fuels. In 2000, they contributed to 85 ofthe energy consumption in the United States, and to 86 worldwide. The fossil fuels used are all different forms of hydrocarbons coal, oil, and natural gas, all differing in their hydrogen to carbon ratio. To liberate their energy content and to power our electric plants, heat our houses, and to propel our cars and airplanes, the fuels must be burned, forming CO2 and water....

Biodiesel Fuel

Another way to use methanol in diesel engines and generators is through biodiesel fuels. These can be made from a large variety of vegetable oils and animal fats which are reacted with methanol in a transesterification process to produce compounds known as fatty acid methyl esters, which compose biodiesel. Biodiesel can be blended without major problems with regular diesel oil in any proportion. It is a renewable, domestically produced fuel which also reduces emissions of un-burned...

Contents

Coal in the Industrial Revolution, and Beyond 11 Chapter 3 Oil Extraction and Exploration 22 Natural Gas 23 Diminishing Oil and Gas Reserves 51 Chapter 6 The Continuing Need for Hydrocarbons and their Products 60 Fractional Distillation 63 Thermal Cracking 64 Renewable Energy Sources and Atomic Energy 84 Hydropower 87 Geothermal Energy 91 Wind Energy 94 Solar Energy Photovoltaic and Thermal 97 Electricity from Photovoltaic Conversion 98 Solar Thermal Power for Electricity Production 100...

Liquid Biofuels

Brazil Automobile Production Total

Biofuels are liquid fuels produced from biomass feedstock through different chemical or biological processes. Today, biomass is the only available renewable source for producing high-value liquid biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel. These fuels can offer renewable alternatives to transportation fuels that presently are obtained almost exclusively from oil. Ethanol, the most common biofuel, is produced by fermentation of annually grown crops (sugar cane, corn, grapes, etc.). In this process,...

Regenerative Fuel Cells

If a hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell is designed to operate also in reverse as an electro-lyzer, then electricity can be used to convert the water back into hydrogen and oxygen. This dual-function system known as a regenerative fuel cell also called uni-tized regenerative fuel cell, URFC , is lighter than a separate electrolyzer and generator and is an excellent energy source in situations where weight is a concern. Scientists at AeroVironment of Monrovia, California and NASA developed a...

Future Outlook

Alternative energy sources to fossil fuels are numerous, but have their drawbacks and limitations. Hydropower has been used on a large scale for over a hundred years, but the installation of new capacity is becoming more limited because the best sites are already developed and environmental and socio-economic considerations must increasingly be taken into account before flooding large areas for reservoirs. Energy from geothermal wells can play an important role on a local scale for some...

The Hydrogen Economy and its Limitations

Inexhaustible and non-polluting, hydrogen is described by many as the fuel to our future energy needs. Being involved in some way in the so-called Hydrogen Economy seems these days to be quite obligatory for governments and any large energy-related company, automobile manufacturers and other industries. The idea sounds rather simple take hydrogen, one of the most plentiful elements on Earth and in the cosmos, and use it as a clean-burning fuel or in fuel cells to power cars, heat houses and...

The Methanol Economy General Aspects

Oil and natural gas, the main fossil fuels besides coal, are not only still our major energy sources and fuels but also the raw materials for a great variety of man-made materials and products. These range from gasoline and diesel oil to varied petrochemical and chemical products including synthetic materials, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. However, what Nature provided as a gift, formed over the course of eons, is being used up rather rapidly. The expanding world population now exceeding 6...

The Methanol Economy and its Advantages

Electricity From Methanol

One feasible alternative to the hydrogen economy - what we now call the Methanol Economy - has been proposed and discussed to great extent in this book Fig. 14.1 . Methanol is a convenient, oxygenated liquid hydrocarbon that at present is prepared from fossil fuel-based syn gas. As discussed earlier, however, new methods are currently under development for its production by the direct oxida-tive conversion of still-existing large natural gas methane sources, or by the hy-drogenative conversion...

Water Electrolysis

Electrolysis, the process of cleaving water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity, is an energy-intensive but well-proven method of producing hydrogen. It is presently about three to four times more expensive than the production of hydrogen from natural gas reforming, which explains its present small share in global hydrogen production. However, it is potentially the cleanest method of producing hydrogen with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, as long as the electricity needed comes from...

Methanol Economy Vast Amount Of Land

Found in both marine and freshwater environment, algae have also been studied as potential sources of energy. Macroalgae - more commonly known as seaweed or kelp - are fast-growing plants that can reach a considerable size up to 60 m in length 219 . A few experimental seaweed farms were built along the coast of southern California in the 1970s, but due to difficult weather conditions and rough waters, the open-sea project was rapidly abandoned. More protected from the elements, near-shore...

Production of Methanol from Syn Gas to Carbon Dioxide

In 2004, the worldwide demand for methanol stood at 32 million tonnes. Although virtually any hydrocarbon source coal, petroleum, naphtha, coke, etc. can be converted to methanol via derived syn-gas, methane from natural gas accounted for some 90 of the feedstock used for methanol manufacture. Most existing plants have production capacities ranging from 100 000 to 800 000 t per year. In the past, plants were generally constructed close to large methanol-consuming centers in the United States or...

Microbial or Photochemical Conversion of Methane to Methanol

Certain bacteria, known as methanotrophs, can obtain all the energy and carbon they need for life from methane 187 . The key step for their utilization of methane is its selective conversion to methanol using oxygen. In subsequent biological processes, methanol is further oxidized to formaldehyde, which in turn can be either incorporated into biomass or oxidized to CO2, thereby providing the energy needed by the bacteria. Nature's catalyst for the conversion of methane to methanol is an enzyme...

Syn Gas from Natural Gas Methane Steam Reforming

In methane steam reforming, methane is reacted in a highly endothermic reaction with steam over a catalyst, typically based on nickel, at high temperatures 800-1000 C, 20-30 atm 182 to form CO and H2. A part of the CO formed reacts consequently with steam in the water gas shift WGS reaction to yield more H2 and also CO2. The gas obtained is thus a mixture of H2, CO and CO2. The concentration of the various components depends on the reaction conditions temperature, pressure and H2O CH4 ratio....

Total trillion m

Figure 4.12 Distribution of world natural gas proven reserves in 2004. Based on data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2005. Figure 4.13 Liquid natural gas LNG tanker for transportation of natural gas across the seas. day to both the United States and the United Kingdom. In the United States, the construction of some ten new LNG regasification terminals is projected within a decade, compared to only a half-dozen operating today, all of which were built more than 20 years ago. Because...

Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

Fossil Fuels Cement

Climate change, and especially global warming, is receiving much attention and is considered as one of the most pressing and severe global environmental problems facing humanity. Its significance has been widely reported to the general public by the media, always eager to emphasize the possible catastrophic consequences of global warming and link it even to claimed extreme weather experienced in the recent years. The Hollywood film The day after tomorrow, an environmental catastrophe movie in...

Methanol from Carbon Dioxide

When hydrocarbons are burned they produce CO2 and water. The great challenge is to reverse this process and to produce - efficiently and economically - hydrocarbon fuels and materials from CO2 and water. Of course Nature, in its process of photosynthesis, captures CO2 by green plants from the air and converts it with water, using the Sun's energy and chlorophyll as the catalyst, into new plant life. Thus, plant life replenishes itself by recycling atmospheric CO2. The difficulty is that the...

Production via Syn Gas

Chatelier Principle Methanol

Today, methanol is almost exclusively produced from syn-gas, which is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and CO2 over a heterogeneous catalyst according to the following equations The two reactions in Eqs. 1 and 2 are exothermic, with heats of reaction equal to -21.7 kcal mol-1 and -9.8 kcal mol-1, respectively. They both result in a decrease of volume as the reaction proceeds. According to Le Chatelier's principle, the conversion to methanol is therefore favored by increasing pressure and...

Emissions from Methanol Powered Vehicles

Transportation-associated air pollution is a major problem in large metropolitan areas. CO, NOx, volatile organic compounds VOCs , SO2 and particulate matter PM emitted by automobiles, trucks and buses can have serious effects on the population's health, especially in children, elderly and other sensitive persons. As described earlier, the use of clean-burning methanol in ICEs could immediately help to reduce these emissions 173 . Included in the VOCs is formaldehyde, an air-toxic and ozone...

Methanol from Biogas

Mtu Hotmodule

Most mammals including humans , as well as termites, produce a flammable gas termed biogas when they digest their food. Biogas is also generated in wetlands, swamps and bogs where large amounts of rotting vegetation may accumulate. Biogas is formed when anaerobic bacteria break down organic material in the absence of oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria are some of the oldest forms of life on Earth, having evolved before the photosynthetic processes of green plants were able to release large quantities...

Methanol as Fuel in Internal Combustion Engines ICE

In contrast to gasoline, which is a complex mixture containing many different hydrocarbons and some additives, methanol is a simple chemical. It contains about half the energy density of gasoline, which means that 2 L of methanol contains the same energy as 1 L of gasoline. Even though methanol's energy content is lower, it has a higher octane rating of 100 average of the research octane number RON of 107 and motor octane number MON of 92 which means that the fuel air mixture can be compressed...

Methanol from Biomass

Carbon Neutral Cycle Methanol

Although reserves of methane from natural gas are still very large, they are nevertheless finite and diminishing. The exploitation of unconventional natural gas resources and methane hydrates could significantly increase the amounts of methane available to mankind. Innovative processes continue to be explored for the transformation of methane into easy-to-handle liquid fuels, primarily methanol, but this will not solve the problem of increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and its...

Nuclear Energy

In 2002, nuclear power - which is used almost exclusively to produce electricity in commercial applications - generated some 2700 TWh of electric power, representing about 17 of the world's electricity consumption Fig. 8.15 . Its share of the total primary energy supply amounted to 7 14 . Today, some 440 commercial nuclear reactors are operating in 30 countries with over 360 000 MW of total production capacity. Currently, the United States has 104 commercial nuclear power plants accounting for...

Methanol Based Proteins

Methanol can also serve as the source for single-cell protein production. Single-cell proteins SCP refers to proteins produced by a variety of microorganisms degrading hydrocarbon substrates while gaining energy 108, 113 . The protein content depends on the type of microorganism bacteria, yeast, mold, etc. The use of microorganisms in human alimentation has been practiced since ancient times, in the form of yeasts used in brewing and baking, and bacteria in cultured dairy products such as...

Methanol Production through Mono Halogenated Methanes

Methanol Production

Another possible alternative for the selective conversion of methane to methanol proceeds through the intermediate catalytic formation of methyl chloride or bromide CH3Cl, CH3Br , which are then hydrolyzed to methanol or dimethyl ether with the byproduct HCl or HBr being reoxidized 197, 198 . The chlorination of paraffins, discovered by Dumas in 1840, is the oldest known substitution reaction and is practiced on a large scale in industry. It is usually a free radical process initiated either...

Fuel Cell Efficiency

Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell

In contrast to heat engines gasoline and diesel engines , the fuel cell does not involve conversion of heat to mechanical energy and the overall thermodynamic efficiencies can be very high. The thermodynamic derivation of the Carnot cycle of a heat engine states that all the heat supplied to it cannot be converted to mechanical energy, and that some of the heat is rejected. The heat is accepted from a source at higher temperature TH in Kelvin , part of it is converted to mechanical energy, and...

Catalytic Gas Phase Oxidation of Methane

In homogeneous gas-phase oxidation, methane is generally reacted with oxygen at high pressures 30 to 200 atm and high temperatures 200 to 500 C . Optimum conditions for the selective oxidation to methanol have been extensively in vestigated. It was observed that selectivity to methanol increases with decreasing oxygen concentration in the system. The best result 75-80 selectivity in methanol formation at 8-10 conversion was achieved under cold flame conditions 450 C, 65 atm, less than 5 O2...

Fuel Cells Based on Other Fuels and Biofuel Cells

Direct oxidation fuel cells based on other fuels such as ethanol, formaldehyde, formic acid, DME, dimethoxymethane, and trimethoxymethane, have been studied in laboratories worldwide. However, none of these has shown so far the promise of either the H2-PEM fuel cell or DMFC, although application of fuel mixes is feasible. Biofuel cells use biocatalysts for the conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy. As most organic materials undergo combustion with the evolution of energy, the...

Electricity from Photovoltaic Conversion

The conversion of daylight into electricity, called the photovoltaic effect, was first discovered by the French scientist Edmond Becquerel in 1839. The explanation for this effect was later provided by Albert Einstein who received for this work and not the theory of relativity the Nobel Prize in physics. However, the development of the first practical photovoltaic cell occurred only in 1954 at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, with the production of a silicon-based cell with 6 efficiency in...

Electric Power from Saline Solar Ponds

A solar saline pond is a few meters in depth and artificially maintained so that the degree of its salinity, and consequently density, is higher at the bottom than at the surface. The difference in salinity is created by dissolving large amounts of salt at the bottom of the pond and keeping the surface supplied with low-saline water, to maintain the necessary salinity gradient. Because of the difference in salinity there is minimal mixing between the layers, and convection is prevented....

Solar Thermal Power for Electricity Production

Solar thermal power systems use mirrors and optical devices to redirect, focus, and concentrate the Sun's rays onto a receiver, where heat is generated. The first application of this technique was recorded in 212 bc, when Archimedes is said to have used mirrors to burn Roman ships attacking Syracuse. Today, the thermal energy can than be used to produce steam-driven generators for electricity production, or to initiate chemical reactions. The concentration of sunlight may be achieved with...

Methanol Safety

Methanol, as mentioned earlier, is a colorless liquid with a mild alcoholic odor. It is widely used as a chemical intermediate and solvent by industries and is present in a variety of consumer products. This includes, for example, the blue windshield washer fluid that most motor car owners are familiar with, which is in fact composed in large part of methanol. The use of methanol not only as a windshield washer fluid but also as a deicing fluid, antifreeze or even fuel for camping cooking...

Methane Hydrates

Methane Hydrates Worldwide

Another unconventional gas source that has attracted increasing attention in recent years are methane hydrates Fig. 4.14 . Gas hydrates are naturally occurring crystalline, ice-like solids in which the gas molecules are trapped by water in cagelike structures called clathrates. Although many gases can form hydrates in nature, methane hydrate is by far the most common. Various clathrate compounds Figure 4.14 Methane hydrate. A molecule of methane is trapped in a cage made out of water molecules...

Methanol through Methyl Formate

In order to reduce the pressure and temperature needed for the current methanol production process, and also to improve its thermodynamic efficiency, alternative routes to convert CO H2 mixtures to methanol under milder conditions have been developed. Among these, the most notable is the synthesis of methanol via methyl formate, first proposed in 1919 by Christiansen 184-186 . This methanol synthesis route consists of two steps. Methanol is first carbony-lated to methyl formate, which is...

Advanced Methanol Powered Vehicles

Methanol or its derivatives DME, DMC, biodiesel can already be used as substitutes for gasoline and diesel fuel in today's ICE-powered cars, with only minor modifications to existing engines and fuel systems. ICE is a much-proven and reliable technology, which has been continuously improved and perfected since its invention over a hundred years ago. Fuel economy compared to generated power is now better, and emissions lower than ever before. Hybrid cars, combining an ICE with an electric motor...

Present Uses of Methanol

Today, methanol is mainly a primary feedstock for the chemical industry. It is manufactured in large quantities over 32 million tons per year in 2004 114 as an intermediate for the production of a variety of chemicals Fig. 11.1 . Worldwide, almost 70 of the methanol production is used to produce formaldehyde 38 , methyl-tert-butyl ether MTBE, 20 and acetic acid 11 . Methanol is also a feedstock for chloromethanes, methylamines, methyl methacrylate, and dimethyl terephthalate, etc. 108 . These...

Selective Oxidation of Methane to Methanol

Methane Oxidation Methanol

A major disadvantage of the present process of producing methanol through syngas is the large energy requirement of the first highly endothermic steam reforming step. The process is also inefficient in the sense that it first transforms methane in an oxidative reaction to carbon monoxide and some CO2 which, in turn, must be reduced again to methanol. The direct selective transformation of methane to methanol is therefore a highly desirable goal, but this is difficult to accomplish in a...

Carbon Dioxide from the Atmosphere

Figure Co2 Recycling For Methanol

To deal with small and dispersed CO2 emitters and to avoid the need to develop and construct a huge CO2-collecting infrastructure, CO2 could be captured from the atmosphere - an approach that has already been proposed by some in the past 224-227 . The atmosphere could thus serve as an effective means of transporting CO2 emissions to the site of capture. This would make the CO2 collection independent of CO2 sources, and CO2 could be captured from any source - small or large, static or mobile....

Liquid Phase Oxidation of Methane to Methanol

Homogeneous Oxidation So2

In order to minimize the formation of side products and increase the selectivity to methanol, the use of lower reaction temperatures lt 250 C is preferable. Currently used catalysts for methane oxidation are, however, not sufficiently active at lower temperatures. The development of a new generation of catalysts which could produce selectively methanol directly from methane in high yields at lower temperatures is therefore highly desirable. As discussed, gas-phase reactions have met with...

The Continuing Need for Hydrocarbons and their Products

Coal Liquefaction

Besides still providing the bulk of our energy needs, fossil fuels also are the sources for our hydrocarbon fuels and derived products. Hydrocarbons are the compounds of carbon and hydrogen. In methane CH4 , the simplest saturated hydrocarbon alkane and the main component of natural gas, a single carbon atom is bonded to four hydrogen atoms. The higher homologues of methane, ethane, propane, butane and so on, have the general formula CnH2n 2, displaying the tendency of carbon to form chains...

Co2 Conversion To Methanol And Eu Projects

A., Methanol Economy trademark No 78 692,647. 2. World Energy Outlook 2004, International Energy Agency, Paris, 2004. 3. World Energy Council WEC , 4. Smil V., Energy at the Crossroads, Global Perspectives and Uncertainties, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2003. 5. World Energy Outlook 2001 Insights, International Energy Agency, Paris, 2001. 6. Energy Technologies for the 21st Century, International Energy Agency, Paris, 1997. 7. FutureGen. Integrated Hydrogen, Electric Power Production and...

Hydrogen for Fuel Cells from Methanol Reforming

Methanol Reformer

In seeking to overcome the problems associated with hydrogen storage and distribution, numerous approaches have set out to use liquids rich in hydrogen such as gasoline or methanol as a source of hydrogen via on-board reformers. In contrast to pure hydrogen-based systems, they are compact containing on a volume basis more hydrogen than even liquid hydrogen and easy to store and handle without pressurization. The possibility of generating hydrogen with more than 80 efficiency by the on-board...

Diminishing Oil and Gas Reserves

Diminishing Oil Reserves

The World is entirely dependent on oil. The transportation sector in particular, so vital in our society for carrying people, goods, food and materials, relies on more than 95 of its gasoline, diesel and kerosene derived from petroleum, and consumes about 60 of the oil produced. We also depend on oil for the large variety of petrochemicals and derived products such as plastics, detergents and synthetic fabrics that today are so ubiquitous in our daily lives that we can hardly think about where...

Methanol and Dimethyl Ether as Diesel Fuels Substitute in Compression Ignition Engines

Japanese Volvo Bus Images

Methanol, when combusted, does not produce smoke, soot or particulates. Parti-culate matter - whether carcinogenic compounds are absorbed onto them, or not - have been identified as a significant health hazard, especially in large cities. Diesel fuel generally produces particles during combustion. This, and the fact that methanol produces very low emissions of NOx because it burns at lower temperatures, makes methanol attractive as a substitute for diesel fuel 123 . Diesel engines are quite...

Properties and Historical Background

Methanol, also called methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, is a colorless, water-soluble liquid with a mild alcoholic odor. It freezes at -97.6 C, boils at 64.6 C, and has a density of 0.791 at 20 C. Methanol in its relatively pure form was first isolated in 1661 106 by Robert Boyle, who called it spirit of the box because he produced it through the distillation of boxwood. Its chemical identity or elemental composition, CH3OH, was described in 1834 by Jean-Baptiste Dumas and Eugene Peligot. They...

Methanol to Gasoline MTG Process

The MTG process was conceived and developed in response to the energy crisis of the 1970s. It was the first major new route to synthetic hydrocarbons since the introduction of the Fischer-Tropsch process before World War II, and provided an alternative pathway for the production of high-octane gasoline from coal or natural gas. Discovered by accident by a research team at Mobil, the MTG process was actually developed before the MTO process. In fact, the MTO process can be considered as a...

Methanol to Olefin MTO Process

The methanol to olefin technology, or MTO, was developed as a two-step process, which first converts natural gas via syn-gas to methanol, followed by its transformation to light olefins. The driving force for the development of this technology was to utilize natural gas sources far from major consumer centers. The conversion of methanol to olefins proceed through the pathway The initial step is the dehydration of methanol to dimethyl ether DME , which then reacts further to form ethylene and...

Coal in the Industrial Revolution and Beyond

Industrial Revolution Locomotive

Coal was formed during the carboniferous period - roughly 360 to 290 million years ago - from the anaerobic decomposition of then-living plants. These plants ended up as coal because, upon their death, they failed to decompose in the usual way, by the action of oxygen to form eventually CO2 and water. As the carboniferous plants died, they often fell into oxygen-poor swamps or mud, or were covered by sediments. Because of the lack of oxygen they only partly decayed. The resulting spongy mass of...

Methanol Based Chemical Products and Materials

Today, methanol is one of the most important feedstocks for the chemical industry. Most of the 32 million tonnes of methanol produced yearly are used for the production of a large variety of chemical products and materials, including such basic chemicals as formaldehyde, acetic acid and methyl-tert-butyl ether MTBE which is, however, phased out in most of the United States , as well as various polymers, paints, adhesives, construction materials and others. In processes for the production of...

Methanol and the Methanol Economy

W.-H. Cheng, H. H. Kung , Marcel Dekker, New York, 1994. Asinger F., Methanol, Chemie- und Energierohstoff. Die Mobilisation der Kohle, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, 1987. Perry J. H., Perry C. P., Methanol, Bridge to a Renewable Energy Future, University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland, 1990. Bernton H., Kovarik W., Sklar S., The Forbidden Fuel. Power Alcohol in the Twentieth Century, Boyd Griffin, New York, 1982. Dovring F., Farming for Fuel, Praeger, New...

Methanol Storage and Distribution

Methanol Cost

In parallel to the development of methanol-fueled vehicles, a widespread distribution network for methanol will have to be established to make it as easily available for the consumer as are petroleum-based fuels today. While the passage from ICE to fuel cell-powered methanol vehicles represents a radical technological change, the development of a fueling infrastructure to fuel them is not. Refueling stations dispensing methanol will be almost identical to today's fueling stations, reflecting...