Volvo: thumbs up to methanol

For a long time Set America Free has emphasized the benefits of full fuel flexibility which includes ALL alternative fuels, not only ethanol. We have nothing against ethanol but we oppose the myopic, ethanol-only approach that currently dominates our energy debate. Volvo has recently validated our approach, producing seven truly flexible diesel trucks modified to run solely on biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, DME, synthetic diesel, and hydrogen gas combined with biogas. Volvo conducted a comprehensive assessment of which fuels faired the best. There were seven categories: impact on climate, energy efficiency, land use efficiency, fuel potential, fuel costs, vehicle adaptation, and fuel infrastructure. The results may surprise many: First Volvo showed that ethanol and methanol work equally well in the same system which means that there is no reason why flex fuel cars sold in the U.S. not be able to run on methanol in addition to ethanol. Second, the comperative study showed that DME and methanol ranked among the highest in all but the last two, while ethanol ranked low to lowest in all categories. The promising results for methanol and DME were based on the assumption that the fuels would be produced via the black liquor gasification process, which has been developed in Sweden. Black liquor is a sludge byproduct of paper pulping. According to the methanol Institute if every paper mill in the U.S. used this process we could produce 9.3 billion gallons of methanol per year--almost double the amount of corn ethanol currently produced in the U.S.

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