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MI & L.I.A.M Charitable Fund Announce Collaboration Denpasar/Singapore - On Wednesday, MI and the L.I.A.M Charitable Fund ("Life Saving Initiatives About Methanol") announced the launch of a joint pilot program and campaign to address and stem incidences...

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MI Opens Beijing Office, Hires China Chief Representative Singapore - MI announced today to members and stakeholders in China that it has established a China representative office in Beijing, and has hired Patrick Zhao as the Institute's China Chief Representative. The...

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GEM Fuel Powered Junior World Rally Championship Marches... Estonian Sander Parn scored his third consecutive win at the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy rally series, held from 31 July - 3 August in Jyvaskyla Finland. The cars...

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DOE Laboratory Discovers New CO2 to Methanol Catalytic... Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered a new catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol- a key commodity used to create...

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PUMP The Movie to Debut in September PUMP, a new full-length feature film produced by MI member Fuel Freedom Foundation, is set to open in New York and Los Angeles in mid-September, and other select U.S. cities afterward. The film is...

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MI & L.I.A.M Charitable Fund Announce Collaboration


Category : General

LIAM LogoDenpasar/Singapore – On Wednesday, MI and the L.I.A.M Charitable Fund (“Life Saving Initiatives About Methanol”) announced the launch of a joint pilot program and campaign to address and stem incidences of bootleg alcohol methanol poisoning in Indonesia.

 A joint press release and FAQ in English and Bahasa Indonesia were sent to local and global media.  Given the importance of this issue in Vietnam and interest expressed by local stakeholders to MI in recent months, MI also shared bilingual information on the pilot project and the August 20 announcement in Vietnamese and English with key media, government, and community partners in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The MI-L.I.A.M Community Education Program (CEP), which is an outgrowth of the initial, exploratory work MI undertook with Project HOPE earlier this year, will execute two community-based programs in 28 villages and 24 local health clinics in Bali.  Administered by Bali-based Udayana University’s Faculty of Medicine and Sanglah Hospital, the programs will educate the general public, health professionals, and traditional alcohol (“arak”) producers about the dangers of alcohol adulteration, and safe distillation techniques to ensure complete removal of methanol during production processes.

L.I.A.M held the first CEP training session for 50 health care professionals in Bali on July 27, and has similar outreach and educational programs planned in the coming months.  Paul Moschell, President of Atlantic Methanol Production Companies (AMPCO) and Chairman of MI’s Product Stewardship Committee, and Tim & Lhani Davies from L.I.A.M have been invited to give a presentation on the MI-L.I.A.M collaboration at IMPCA Asian Methanol Conference in Singapore on November 5-6.  MI will then take a delegation of members to Bali on November 7-8 so that they can see/learn firsthand about the CEP and meet with key stakeholders and community leaders.

Members who are interested in joining the MI delegation to Bali and/or who would like more information on the MI-L.I.A.M collaboration can contact Hank Williams, Chairman of MI’s Bootleg Alcohol Product Subcommittee (BAPS) at hwilliams@AtlanticMethanol.com, or Dom LaVigne in MI’s Singapore office at dlavigne@methanol.org / +65 6325 6302.

MI Opens Beijing Office, Hires China Chief Representative


Category : General

00-Beijing Gateway PlazaSingapore – MI announced today to members and stakeholders in China that it has established a China representative office in Beijing, and has hired Patrick Zhao as the Institute’s China Chief Representative.

The position and China office are important next steps for MI toward enhancing the close partnership between the global and Chinese methanol industries.  Mr. Zhao’s role will encompass liaising with MI’s China-based members and our government, academic, trade association, and related business partners, monitoring legislative and regulatory developments, and contributing to the growth of the methanol industry in areas such as fuel blending, downstream chemical development, and new/emerging methanol technologies.  He will represent the Institute at local and international conferences in China, and spearhead MI’s product stewardship activities, in coordination with our Chinese stakeholders.

Mr. Zhao has 12 years of government affairs and business development experience in the Chinese ethanol industry, and serving as a diplomat in the both the central and provincial governments.  MI’s Beijing office will be administered locally in China through Kellen Company, a global association management company.

Mr. Zhao will start with MI on September 10 and will participate in several upcoming conferences, including the China Petroleum & Chemical International Conference in Tianjin on Sept 11-12 and the China State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) event in Beijing on Sept 23-24.  During the weeks of September 9-13 and September 22-26, CEO Greg Dolan and Dom LaVigne from MI’s Singapore office will be in China to introduce Mr. Zhao to the Institute’s members, key stakeholders, and other partners.

MI’s Beijing office details are:

Methanol Institute China
11/F 1177, Gateway Plaza Block A
No. 18 Xiaguangli, Chaoyang District
Beijing 100027
Phone:  +86 10 5923 1107
Fax:     +86 10 5923 1090
e-mail:  china@methanol.org (general)
pzhao@methanol.org (Mr. Zhao’s direct e-mail)
Web:    www.methanol.org.cn

GEM Fuel Powered Junior World Rally Championship Marches On


Category : General

GEMFUEL Sander Parn (left) wins Drive DMACK Rally Finland 140803Estonian Sander Parn scored his third consecutive win at the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy rally series, held from 31 July – 3 August in Jyvaskyla Finland.

The cars are again being powered by GEM Fuel supplied by GUTTS, and are being sponsored by MI, and MI member companies Methanex and OCI.

Edward Goossens, GUTTS Chairman, was pleased with the CO2 reduction achieved using GEM Fuel.  Goossens noted that “The 11 M-Sport-prepared Fiestas were again powered by GEM Fuel and used in total 3,800 litres of the sustainable fuel, thus saving almost 6,000 kgs of CO2.  And not any slower than any of  the competitors as Sander Parn shows finishing 16th place overall.  The skill of our top drivers is shown here as they are setting faster times than some of the more powerful vehicles in the WRC3 category!”  More information can be found here.

DOE Laboratory Discovers New CO2 to Methanol Catalytic System


Category : General

New Meoh CatalystScientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered a new catalytic system for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) to methanol- a key commodity used to create a wide range of industrial chemicals and fuels.  With significantly higher activity than other catalysts now in use, the new system could make it easier to get normally unreactive CO2 to participate in these reactions.

“Developing an effective catalyst for synthesizing methanol from CO2 could greatly expand the use of this abundant gas as an economical feedstock,”  said Brookhaven chemist Jose Rodriguez, who led the research.  “It’s possible to imagine a future in which such catalysts help mitigate the accumulation of this greenhouse gas, by capturing CO2 emitted from methanol-powered combustion engines and fuel cells, and recycling it to synthesize new fuel.”

The research team, which included scientists from Brookhaven, the University of Seville in Spain, and Central University of Venezuela, describes their results in the August 1, 2014, issue of the journal Science.  More information can be found here.

PUMP The Movie to Debut in September


Category : General

PUMP-the-moviePUMP, a new full-length feature film produced by MI member Fuel Freedom Foundation, is set to open in New York and Los Angeles in mid-September, and other select U.S. cities afterward.

The film is described as “an inspiring, eye-opening documentary that tells the story of America’s addiction to oil, from its corporate conspiracy beginnings to its current monopoly today, and explains clearly and simply how we can end it — and finally win choice at the pump.”

PUMP explores how providing consumers with fuel choice, including methanol, will help bring down fuel prices for all fuels, while spurring innovation and driving job growth.

“Half of America makes less than $50,000 a year for their families. When oil prices rise, their pocketbooks are constrained almost instantly,” says John Hofmeister, the former CEO of Shell Oil Co. who’s now one of Fuel Freedom’s board of advisors. “There’s been a monopoly on the fuel system of cars built and sold in this country. It’s time to break that monopoly. It’s time to give Americans choice.”

More information on PUMP can be found here. You can watch the official movie trailer here.

Yuhuang Chemical to Build $1.85 Billion Methanol Complex in Louisiana


Category : General

Yuhuang Chemical CEOThe North American subsidiary of a top 25 Chinese petrochemical company will build a US$1.85 billion methanol complex in St. James Parish, injecting 400 permanent jobs and 2,365 indirect jobs to the region’s economy over a nine-year period.

Yuhuang Chemical Inc. plans to build the massive complex along River Road on St. James’ west bank, the first major direct investment in Louisiana by a mainland Chinese company.

Yuhuang Chemical, a subsidiary of the $5 billion Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd. based in Shandong Province, is making its first foray outside of mainland China with the facility, said Charlie Yao, CEO of Yuhuang Chemical.

He said the complex will have an initial capacity of 1.7 million metric tons of methanol per year.

Construction will begin in 2016, with the first $750 million phase of the methanol project beginning operations by 2018. After the first methanol plant is completed, the company will build a second $500 million methanol plant and reach an annual capacity of 3.3 million tons per year of methanol. The third phase will include a methanol derivatives plant that will produce intermediate chemicals.  More information can be found here.

Methanol Moving Forward


Category : General

FuelMagazineMI’s CEO Greg Dolan comments on the future of the methanol industry in an article published in the current issue of Hart Energy’s Fuel Magazine.  In the article Dolan discusses the importance of methanol as a chemical building block, and also its emerging importance as an energy fuel used in cars, trucks, buses, marine vessels and even electric power turbines.

The shale gas powered resurgence of the methanol industry in the United States is a topic covered by the article, as Dolan notes that “If you add up all this activity we’re talking about getting to the point where the U.S. will have some 16 million metric tons of production capacity in the next three years.  To put that in perspective, our current chemical demand is about 6.5 million metric tons, so you could have an overhang of 10 million metric tons [or 3.3 billion gallons] looking for a market.”

In order to reach methanol’s potential as an energy fuel source, Dolan suggests that the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) be replaced by a “domestic fuel standard,” allowing both domestically produced methanol and ethanol to play roles in the nation’s fuel pool for low-level fuel blending.  “It [the RFS] should be modified to reflect the energy picture we have today.  For the consumer, taking natural gas and turning it into methanol is a way for them to monetize that value at the pump that they’re not going to be getting any other way.”  The full article can be found starting on page 58 of Fuel Magazine here.

EU Executive Rules Out SO2 Limit Delay


Category : General

EU Graphic.PNGNineteen EU states have not yet enacted laws to implement a limit on SO2 emissions in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and English Channel that will apply from January.

The European Commission will begin ‘pilot investigations’, the first stage of infringement proceedings, if the countries have not transposed the directive on the sulphur content of marine fuels by next month, a spokesman said.

Member states had until 18 June to transpose the directive into national laws.

The Commission is opposed to allowing exemptions or delayed implementation of the new emission limit as called for by some shipping firms, particularly from the UK.

“The Commission is aware that the UK Chamber of Shipping is calling for exemptions or derogations to give more time to comply. But it is not considering and will not grant any exemptions or derogations on the date of the entry into force, 1 January 2015, of the new… requirements,” the spokesman said.  More information can be found here.

Methanol Fuel Cell Powers Maritime Navigational Aid


Category : General

Methanol Fuel Cell BuoyLiverpool, England – The Light Float 2 is an unmanned boat-like structure located on the Liverpool bar at the start of the Mersey.

“We were alerted to a gradual drop in the batteries’ capacity, indicating that they were probably coming to the end of their life and that the solar PV panels fitted to the light float simply weren’t providing enough charge during the winter months. We immediately arranged to have the batteries re-charged using a portable generator but this proved inefficient, time-consuming and costly,” said Peter Dobson, engineering manager, Trinity House.

In order to keep the batteries fully charged a methanol powered fuel cell supplied by Fuel Cell Systems and using SFC Energy technology, the EFOY Pro 2400 Duo (110W) fuel cell was installed on the Light Float 2 and ensures that the light float’s batteries are kept fully charged. This provides a constant source of power for the navaids – a main light with a 12 nautical mile range and a radar transponder.

“In order to meet the standards set by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) of 99.8% availability, for category 1 ATONs, we required a remote power solution that would allow the light float to operate effectively before its scheduled summer maintenance in dry dock following six years at sea,” Mr Dobson explained.

“Should the batteries fail this would result in us having to divert one of our vessels from its routine buoy tender maintenance schedule to recharge the batteries in situ which could take two to three days. However, the fuel cell has operated flawlessly, keeping the batteries in a nominal charged state, allowing the ATONs to be kept operational,” he added.

Light floats are often used in water where strong streams or currents occur, or if greater elevation of the light source is required to aid visibility for mariners.

Now, Trinity House will carry out further fuel cell trials, and if successful, will look integrating the technology, where possible, as part of the hybrid energy mix to power additional navaids throughout England, Wales and the Channel Islands.  More information can be found here.

Methanol Eyed as Bunker Fuel Replacement


Category : General

ship meoh bunkerMethanol producer and MI member Methanex is interested in developing methanol as a possible alternative to conventional bunker fuel.

At the moment, methanol can only be used on its own, as mixing it with other fuel is not possible. However, according to energy news provider Platts, the company is looking at how to operate on a percentage basis.

A company source, speaking on the sidelines at last week’s International Methanol Producers Association (IMPCA) conference in Porto, Portugal noted that “Methanol as a marine fuel is not tried and tested yet, but once you see that it works, it would spur further investment in this area.”

Methanex, which is the world’s largest producer of methanol, has voiced optimism over the possibilities of methanol as bunker fuel.

The main factor driving methanol, alongside LNG as a marine fuel is the lowering of the sulfur limit in emission control areas, as well as the global cap pushing shipowners to move away from residual fuel oil.

Under the UN International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), world bunker fuel should contain no more than 3.5% sulfur from 2012 onward, and no more than 0.5% sulfur from 2020 onward. The limits set on sulfur dioxide in emission control areas have been lowered progressively from July 2010 and are set to be lowered further from the current 1% to 0.10% from January 1, 2015.

As shipowners tackle compliance issues with the incoming tougher regulations on emissions, there are a few options available — switch to cleaner but more expensive marine fuels like gasoil, fit exhaust-gas scrubber systems, or invest in new ships that run on alternative fuels or by retrofitting to using LNG or methanol as fuel.

As of now, shipping companies Waterfront Shipping, a Methanex subsidiary, who have commissioned seven dual-fuel vessels, and Sweden’s Stena Teknik, who are expected to commence operations with their first methanol powered passenger ferry in 2015, have taken a step into investing in the first vessels capable of running on methanol bunkers.