Houston, Texas – MI has joined the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA).
CEA is the voice of the energy consumer and provides consumers with sound, unbiased information on U.S. and global energy issues. CEA affiliates comprise a range of sectors from the energy industry, academia, small businesses, conservation groups and travel-related industries.
MI’s Greg Dolan noted “Methanol is employed around the globe in a number of innovative applications to meet our growing demands for energy. Methanol is a clean energy option that can be produced from natural gas, coal and a number of renewable resources including biomass and CO2.” “MI is pleased to join CEA and to have this opportunity to highlight methanol’s advantages as an emerging energy resource.”
“CEA is pleased to have the Methanol Institute as its newest member,” said CEA Chief Operating Officer Andrew Browning. “The resurgence in North American methanol production well illustrates the link between our manufacturing renaissance and newly realized shale gas production. With CEA’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy approach, we look forward to working with MI and its member companies to educate the public on methanol’s energy potential as well as its importance to key sectors of our economy.” The full press release welcoming MI is available on CEA’s website here.
Marius Aasen landed the biggest prize in rallying on October 25, as he won the Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy in style. Victory at the final race of the five-event season, in Spain, saw 23-year-old Aasen and his co-driver Veronica Engan finish on top of the championship podium. This followed a thrilling battle with his rivals, which went right down to the wire. Aasen’s Fiesta R5 was powered by sustainable GEM (Gasoline-Ethanol-Methanol) Fuel, and sponsored by MI and MI members Methanex and OCI N.V.
Seven crews were in with a mathematical chance of winning the title heading into the mixed surface RallyRACC-Rally de Espana. Aasen, from Norway, who led by five points going into the final event, took a gigantic stride towards the top prize as he finished the gravel section on Friday night ahead of his fellow drivers.
And as the action switched to Tarmac roads around the host town of Salou on Saturday and Sunday, he kept his nose in front. Aasen was ultra-consistent and also posted some super quick times as he pulled away from his rivals and took the chequered flag. More information can be found here. A video of the full season’s highlights can be viewed here
A patent related to the high-pressure hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol and derivatives process developed by Dr. Urakawa Research Group at the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) has been issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The work, published in the Journal of Catalysis and highlighted in Science, describes a continuous flow process for close-to-quantitative one-pass hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol where conventional and commercial methanol synthesis catalysts are used.
CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities and is largely responsible for climate change. Therefore, devising a strategy to mitigate CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has become one of the most important challenges of this century. A good strategy, and the one followed by Urakawa’s team, is the CO2 capture, fixation and conversion into valuable products for the chemical industry. The process developed allows a highly productive conversion of CO2 to methanol achieving close to full one pass conversion. The process also has the advantage that further reactions, such as DME production, can be successfully carried out in the same reactor. Having in mind that methanol production worldwide is expected to pass from 40 million tons per year in 2009 to 80 million tons/year in 2016, this process is a great step towards methanol production from non-fossil resources.
As Dr. Urakawa says: “The patent grants us exclusivity in performing challenging conversion of CO2 to methanol under very productive reaction conditions. The fact that the patent has been granted in the US gives us a strong confidence about the significance of our technology. We will keep making our best efforts towards scale-up and commercialization of our methanol process, hopefully with enthusiastic external partners. In the long run, we wish to greatly contribute in shifting the paradigm in chemical energy carriers, from fossil fuels to a more sustainable one like methanol by which the carbon cycle can be well-closed.” More information can be found here.
Mandano, North Sulawesi, Indonesia – Lhani Davies and the LIAM Indonesia team were featured presenters at the 2015 PERNEFRI Conference in Mandao. The LIAM team presented at the annual nephrology conference last year in Jakarta.
Nephrology is a medical field specializing in kidney related areas and treatment, including haemodialysis, which is critical toward the successful treatment of methanol poisoning caused from consumption of adulterated alcoholic beverages and spirits. Funding from MI members through the 2015 Medical Education Program (MEP) grant enabled Lhani and medical experts working with LIAM in Indonesia to present on methanol poisoning, ethanol treatment, and dialysis to more than 1,500 medical specialists from around the country.
This conference has provided tremendous exposure for MI and LIAM to educate medical specialists across Indonesia on how to identify and treat methanol poisonings. LIAM will seek to secure a similar speaking opportunity at the 2016 PERNEFRI Conference.
After two fiercely contested opening rounds of the 2015 Trophy series, sponsored in part by MI and MI member companies Methanex and OCI, crews are gearing up for a high speed third outing this weekend (31 July to 2 August) at the spiritual home of rallying. Stomach-churning gravel roads lie in store for drivers and their co-pilots in Finland, where a huge number of spectators will flock to the event based in the university town of Jyväskylä.
Experience could prove crucial on the wide and smooth gravel roads which feature blind crests and rollercoaster jumps. In addition, there are forest roads which feature a mix of hard base and more technical soft sections, making accurate pace notes, defining the lines over huge jumps, essential. In a way DDFT Finland will be the first methanol powered commercial flight!
Finland, being the spiritual home of rallying, is also the amongst the first countries, to explore the future of the sport and discuss how rallying can contribute to safe and sustainable future. Talks have been held between the Finnish ASN and GUTTS to explore renewable fuel options in the future. With GEM Fuel becoming the new standard in renewable fuel options for racing series across Europe it was defined as one of the ‘drop in’ possibilities for Finnish motorsport to reduce their carbon footprint quickly and easily.
The methanol portion in GEM Fuel is a CO2 derived Methanol produced by CRI in Iceland, with a CO2 reduction of 97%. More information can be found at http://gutts.nl
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law a transportation investment package providing financial incentives for the purchase of commercial vehicles using a “clean alternative fuel” and that specifies dimethyl ether as one of the alternative fuels that qualify for such benefits.
The legislation provides businesses with tax credits for the purchase or conversion of vehicles that are “principally powered” by a clean alternative fuel. The bill includes dimethyl ether in the definition of “clean alternative fuel”, along with methane, natural gas, LNG, CNG, propane, hydrogen, and electricity. More information is available from the International DME Association (IDA) here.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has become synonymous with gas fuelled ships, possibly thanks to the technology stemming from the use of boil off gas onboard LNG carriers.
LNG has successfully been applied to vessels other than gas carriers, of course, and has demonstrated its benefits as a clean, economical alternative to liquid fuels. But it has a disadvantage, and that is in the onboard storage and processing required. Not only does this involve bulky and expensive equipment, despite the best efforts of the engine and fuel suppliers, as well as classification societies, some safety-related concerns remain. Natural gas does not have to be stored under pressure, it can be merely compressed, and CNG has been touted as a marine fuel, but for ships other than CNG carriers the size of tank required is likely to limit it to vessels operating on very short range, such as tugs and coastal ferries.
Other gases are available, of course. And although they do not solve the LNG questions – arguably bring uncertainties of their own – they do seem to be gaining ground as viable alternative fuels for ships.
Methanol is one such gas. The Stena Line freight ferry Stena Germanica has recently been converted to run its Wartsila four-stroke engines on methanol, operating between Gothenburg and Keil. According to Stena, emissions from methanol are roughly the same as for LNG, but the fuel is easier to process and does not place the same demands on infrastructure. [Note: While we understand that methanol is not a gas, the editors at Motorship apparently do not.]
Methanol can be produced from natural gas, coal, biomass or even carbon dioxide, and promises cuts in emissions of around 99% SOx, NOX by 60%, particulates 95% and 25% CO2 compared to conventional marine fuels.
The same gas has been successfully demonstrated by MAN Diesel & Turbo as a viable fuel for large two-stroke engines. Unlike the four-stroke gas and dual fuel engines, and two-strokes using a low pressure gas system, which use the Otto cycle when running on gas, MAN maintains the Diesel cycle for both oil and gas operation, which it says avoids any change in power density or load response, results in no methane slip, and hence higher carbon emissions, and avoids risk of knocking. The Diesel cycle is maintained too for the ME-LGI version of MAN’s gas engines, which employ a fuel booster valve to allow operation with low-pressure, low flashpoint fuels including methanol.
The company has received seven orders for methanol-fuelled two-stroke engines to power methanol carriers for several different owners. Vice president and head of R&D, Søren H. Jensen, says: “A number of years ago we identified the need to develop an engine that could run on more environmentally-friendly, competitively-priced fuels as an alternative to MDO/MGO. We believe the ability of the ME-LGI engine to run on sulphur-free fuels offers great potential. Methanol carriers have already operated at sea for many years. With a viable, convenient and economic fuel already on-board, exploiting a fraction of the cargo to power a vessel makes sense.” More information can be found here.
Marius Aasen clinched his maiden Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy victory with a thrilling win at Lotos Rally Poland on 5 July – the result giving him a two-point lead at the top of the championship standings.
Norwegian Aasen, aged 23, and co-driver Veronica Engan kept their cool in the searing hot temperatures to beat off the brave challenge of Britain’s Tom Cave and top the podium. Cave did all he could to wrestle victory away from his rival and triumphed on three of the 19 highly competitive stages in Poland.
A huge crowd at this weekend’s Mikolajki-based event was treated to some ultra competitive racing on soft and sandy tracks. These took away much of the mechanical stress on the drivers’ identical Ford Fiesta R2 cars. New for this year, these are driven by Ford’s 1.0 litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine and powered by sustainable GEM (gasoline, ethanol, methanol) race fuel.
The Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy is supported, in conjunction with GUTTS, by a partnership of MI members Methanex and OCI, the Methanol Institute, Abengoa and e-Pure. More information on the race results can be found here. More information on GEM fuel can be found here.