Singapore – The 17th IMPCA Asian Methanol Conference 2014 was held this Tuesday-Thursday at The Regent Hotel Singapore.
This year’s conference, under the theme, “China Driving Global Growth of Methanol,” attracted 140 participants from methanol producers, consumers, and affiliated technology companies from around the globe. Much of the conference’s focus was on China’s increasing importance as a methanol hub for areas ranging from fuel blending and dimethyl ether (DME) production to methanol-to-olefins (MTO) and coal-to-methanol applications.
Paul Moschell, President of MI member Atlantic Methanol Production Companies (AMPCO), MI Board member, and Chairman of the Institute’s Product Stewardship Committee, and Lhani & Tim Davies, founders of the LIAM Charitable Fund, gave an excellent, moving presentation about alcohol poisoning incidents globally and in Indonesia, the death of the Davies’ son Liam in January 2013, and how MI and LIAM have worked closely on the Community Education Program in Bali.
MI filmed the video presentation, and will make it available via the Institute’s social media resources in the coming weeks.
Richmond, Virginia- An article in Wednesday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch notes that breweries and cider makers in the city have had their wastewater utility surcharge lowered due to their production of methanol as a byproduct of their brewing activities.
Methanol can be used by wastewater treatment plants to lower levels of nitrogen in wastewater thereby improving water quality of rivers and bays downstream from the plant. The city of Richmond, for example, is completing a USD $115 million upgrade of its wastewater treatment plant to reduce the discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus and the city will be purchasing USD $1.2 million in methanol per-year to operate the plant.
As states and municipalities across the United States become more concerned about nitrogen discharge, there is an increasing potential market opportunity for methanol to be used as a carbon source to reduce nitrogen levels.
MI has recently contracted with Gary Johnson, an Environmental Engineering Consultant with over 30 years of experience in the nitrogen removal field to develop a database of specific municipal and industrial users of supplemental carbon for denitrification across the United States. This database will identify potential market opportunities for the methanol industry. In addition, Gary will work with MI to develop outreach materials for improving the awareness of methanol to the wastewater treatment community and explaining methanol’s benefits as a carbon source for denitrification. More information can be found here.
This weekend, 1.5 to 2 million visitors will witness live the final stage of the 2014 Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy featuring the next generation of rally car drivers racing in and around Barcelona.
This is the 10th event held over the past two years using GEM Fuels – 42% renewable methanol, 21% bio-ethanol, and 37% gasoline.
MI member Iceland’s Carbon Recycling International provided the Vulcanol renewable methanol used by GEMS rally cars for this year’s series. On Thursday, the first day of the Barcelona stage, the GEM fuel partners were on-hand, with representatives from MI, Methanex, Natgasoline, and Abengoa. The partners had an opportunity for a meet-and-greet with the drivers, including front-runner Sander Parn of Estonia, before watching the first leg of the race take place on the streets of downtown Barcelona. Over the past two years, 24 drivers logged 16,000 kilometers running on 38,000 liters of GEM fuels, while reducing CO2 emissions by 66,000 kilograms.
The Board of Directors of MI member company Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Limited (MHTL) has announced the confirmation of Dennis Patrick as MHTL’s Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Patrick, who also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for MI, had been MHTL’s Acting Chief Executive Officer since 2013. He has worked in the energy sector for over 35 years, and joined MHTL in 1996. Prior to his current role, he was the company’s Chief Commercial Officer and had responsibility for the global commercial, marketing and logistics activities for its Methanol, Ammonia, UAN solution and Melamine products.
The new sulfur limits that will apply within the North European SECA area from January 1, 2015, are good news for the environment but pose a particular challenge to Gothenburg, Sweden, headquartered ferry giant Stena Line. It has 39 vessels in operation on 23 ferry routes in Scandinavia, around the U.K. and to the Baltics. It is now being forced to increase freight prices as a direct result of increased fuel costs -and is looking to use alternate fuels, including methanol.
In early 2015 we will be starting a trial with methanol as a fuel on one of our ferries,” says Stena Line’s CEO Carl-Johan Hagman.
According to earlier reports, Stena Line has been looking to switch up to 25 vessels to methanol fuel. In a presentation at Interferry last October, it was reported that the Stena Germanica is the subject of an EU funded full scale conversion that will see all four Wärtsila 8ZAL40S main engines converted to methanol-diesel operation, with the tanks and systems scheduled for installation in the first quarter of this year, conversion of two main engines following in the fourth quarter and the other two in fourth quarter 2015. More information can be found here.
TEDA, Tianjin, China – Last week, MI reported in Methanol Matters about the successful results of China’s Ministry of Industry & Information Technology (MIIT) two-year pilot program on methanol-fueled vehicle development in Eastern Shanghai, Shanxi and Shaanxi Provinces. Mr. Ma Liang, Secretary General of the China Association of Alcohol & Ether Clean Fuel and Automobiles (CAAEFA) and other speakers at the 2014 China Petroleum and Chemical International Conference in Tianjin shared further details on the status of China’s methanol industry and how the MIIT Pilot Program is being expanded.
In addition to the national M15 standard which is still being drafted, China currently has two other national standards also under study: Methods of Determining the Methanol Content in Methanol Gasoline for Motor Vehicles, and Methanol Gasoline Additive for Motor Vehicles. MI staff will seek to get more information on these standards for the membership.
To date, 15 Chinese provinces and cities have issued and implemented 29 local standards for methanol fuel. China’s total methanol consumption in fuels was 11 million metric tons (MMT) in 2013; this included 4.6 MMT used for automobiles/vehicles, and seven MMT for dimethyl ether (DME) used in industrial fuels. 160,000 vehicles nationwide have been modified already to run on methanol fuel blends.
MIIT plans to expand its pilot program from 435 vehicles in 2012-2014 to an additional 1,800 vehicles in 11 cities in Guizhou and Gansu provinces in the coming years. During the 2012-2014 pilot program, five automakers (Geely, Shaanxi Tongjia, Shanxi Victory, Zhengzhou Yutong and Shangxi Auto) released five categories of auto products, including M100 cars, M100 micro vans, M100 van trucks, M100 public buses, and methanol/diesel heavy trucks. So far, 286 of 435 methanol vehicles produced have been put into circulation, including: 168 taxis, 98 inter-city coaches, 15 light van trucks, and five dual-fuel trucks.
MI member company Oberon Fuels, the first company to announce plans to commercialize biogas-based dimethyl ether (DME) fuel production in North America, announced this week that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its DME for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
As a result of the EPA’s decision, Oberon DME is now eligible for high value D-Code 3 (cellulosic) and D-Code 5 (advanced) renewable identification numbers (RINs) under the RFS. The EPA determined that biogas-based DME produced from the Oberon process resulted in an approximate 68% reduction in greenhouse gases when compared to baseline diesel fuel.
Rebecca Boudreaux, Oberon’s President, noted that “Less than a year after submitting our pathway petition, this biogas produced fuel was approved. We are excited to see the EPA continue to support innovative, new fuels and include Oberon’s DME under the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Susan Alt, Volvo Group of North America’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, added that “Our customers are engaged in heavy-duty applications and need the power and torque of a diesel engine. Oberon’s DME offers that power without the need for cryogenics or high compression associated with other diesel alternatives. We look forward to continuing our work with Oberon to demonstrate the benefits of this clean-burning, non-toxic diesel alternative for the heavy truck industry.” More information can be found here and here.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org / +65 6325 6302.
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 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
Phone: +86 10 5923 1107
Fax: +86 10 5923 1090
e-mail: email@example.com (general)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Mr. Zhao’s direct e-mail)
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 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.