Archive for December, 2007

Care about CO2? Think methanol

Friday, December 28th, 2007

The report Methanol Solutions to CO2 Emerging by the Methanol Institute is an eye opener. It makes the case that converting carbon dioxide into useful products and making new clean fuel technologies is one of the best ways to address global warming in a scalable and market friendly way.

“George Olah, Nobel Prize Laureate, University of Southern California professor, and author of “Beyond Oil and Gas:The Methanol Economy,” is looking to put his concepts into action. UOP, an Illinois-based chemical producer, has announced a partnership with the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute to develop and commercialize new technology to convert carbon dioxide into methanol. According to Olah, “The development of this technology could have significant impact on global energy security and global warming by converting carbon dioxide into useful products and making new clean fuel technologies.” Under the partnership with UOP over the next three to four years, research will begin CO2 conversion to methanol from highly concentrated sources such as coal-burning power plants, and eventually work toward converting CO2 directly from the atmosphere. The USC researchers are not alone in the quest to sequester CO2 through methanol. In Iceland, Carbon Recycling International captures CO2 from industrial emissions and converts carbon dioxide to ultra clean fuel. The sources of emissions are from basic infrastructure industrial processes including aluminum smelting, ferro silicon manufacturing, cement production and coal-fired power generation. The fuel is high octane gasoline, ultra low sulfur diesel and methanol for existing automobiles and future hybrid flexible automobiles.

Set America Free has long contended that true fuel flexibility can only be achieved if we open the door to other alcohols and ethers–in addition to ethanol. The flex fuel cars currently sold in the U.S. are only warrented to run on ethanol. If we can indeed convert CO2 into fuel we must allow methanol to compete in the marketplace and make sure flex fuel cars are capable of burning the entire spectrum of alcohols.
See more here

Get flexible

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

The newest Set America Free Coalition member, Admiral James Lyons, writes in the Washington Times:

Terrorist training camps and insurgents in Iraq and elsewhere are funded by Saudi and Iranian petrodollars. So are bounties for families of suicide bombers. It is incredible: by buying Saudi-controlled OPEC oil we finance a war against ourselves.

But the Saudis are not alone. Iran has used its vast accumulation of petrodollars to support terrorism throughout the Middle East as well as providing funds for their drive to develop a nuclear weapon. Oil has also given Iran, Venezuela and — in the past — Libya the flexibility to ignore economic sanctions by finding amoral partners such as China, Russia and some of the European countries who are willing to trade with them. Petro revenue has provided Vladimir Putin the means to centralize his power, bully his neighbors and steer Russia on an independent course that has been unhelpful to U.S. interests.

For all these reasons, as well as for our long-term economic and security concerns, we must break our addiction to oil…

We have technology that will underpin an energy strategy that will break our petro-addiction and OPEC’s hegemony. That strategy lies in something already available: mixed-fuel technology; vehicles that use a mixture of ethanol, methanol and gasoline.

Ethanol is produced from a variety of agricultural sources, primarily sugarcane and corn, at as low as $1.50 a gallon. In 2006, methanol, which can be made from coal, natural gas and agricultural waste, was being sold without any subsidies for 80 cents per gallon.

The engineering difference for a flex fuel car requires an additional sensor and computer chip that controls the fuel-air mixture. It also should have a corrosion resistant fuel system. The overall increase in costs for a flex fuel car will average about $100 per vehicle.

This year Detroit has offered two dozen models with a flex fuel option. To accelerate this program, Congress needs to put politics aside and enact legislation to require that 50 percent of all vehicles produced by our auto manufacturers must be flex fuel by 2012. This will not be easy. However, this is a figure the Big Three auto makers proposed to President Bush when they met last year.