Forbes Magazine Explores Looking to Methanol as a Transportation Fuel

forbesForbes energy and policy contributor Michael Krancer on Wednesday published an article titled “In Midst of Oil Boom, Perhaps U.S. Should Look to Another Fuel: Methanol.”
For his article Krancer draws heavily on the expertise of Anne Korin and Gal Luft of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS).  Korin and Luft published a book advocating for greater consumer choice in fueling options in 2012, and have been advocating for more fuel choice ever since. Among the fuels that Korin and Luft champion is methanol.
The article notes that: “methanol, other than being a carbon-based molecule that can be used for fuel, has little to do with ethanol, the corn-based fuel that has received plenty of deserved scorn during the last several years. Methanol is a basic alcohol – a simple hydroxide molecule paired with CH3, creating CH3OH. Fortuitously for the United States, Korin and Luft say, about two-thirds of worldwide methanol production comes from natural gas, something the U.S. has in abundance at the moment. Methanol can even be made from coal, another feedstock that’s bountiful in the U.S.
A white paper produced by TIAX, a technology development company, puts forward a trenchant case for introducing methanol as a core transportation fuel in North America. The paper was produced for the Methanol Institute, an industry advocacy group, but its findings are robust. Not only is methanol easily and cheaply produced from organic materials, the research says, but it can also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 65% to 95%. Such a reduction would greatly affect our overall footprint, as the transportation sector accounts for 27% of all U.S. carbon emissions – just behind electricity production’s 31%.
By volume, methanol contains roughly half the energy content of gasoline, but combustion engines more efficiently capture its energy because of its lower burning temperature. Modifying normal gas engines to consume methanol costs only about $100 to $200 more than outfitting vehicles to be ethanol-gasoline flex-fuel ready, a common factory feature these days.”  The full article from Forbes can be read here.

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