Tomorrow, March 26, 2012, is the big day – the Methanol Institute will be holding a first-of-its kind conference in Washington, D.C., the Methanol Policy Forum 2012. We are very excited to have industry leaders, energy policy experts, executive branch staff, Members of Congress, and academics join us from all around the world in a discussion about methanol’s potential as a liquid transportation fuel.
For a complete list of participants, please click here.
Also, for a detailed agenda and other information on discussion materials for the conference, please click here.
An excellent article on MI member company Carbon Recycling International ran yesterday on SmartPlanet.com. The article, with the tongue-in-cheek title of “Fuel efficient cars: What a waste,” takes a look at the innovative company that is producing renewable methanol by combining CO2 with hydrogen made from geothermal energy (which is abundant on the island nation). CRI is effectively creating liquid electricity – enabling the clean energy made from geothermal power to be transported anywhere and utilized by cars and trucks on the road today.
“Low blends of methanol and gasoline are suitable for all gasoline powered cars,” CRI said in a press release announcing the waste study. “Higher blends are suitable for flex fuel vehicles, which are already in circulation in Iceland.”
The article also noted that “Reykjavik based Carbon Recycling International and the city’s waste agency, SORPA, have launched a feasibility study and hope to operate a plant by 2015 making renewable methanol from household waste that normally goes to landfill.”
You can read more over at SmartPlanet here.
The Methanol Institute (MI) delivered a letter to each of the members of the U.S. Senate which offers the association’s support for the Open Fuel Standard Act amendment to the transportation bill. The letter explained that the Open Fuel Standard Act is a simple, no-cost, technology and fuel neutral amendment, which would ensure that new light-duty vehicles that are sold in America enable real energy competition at the pump and help to break the stranglehold that gasoline has on our economy.
MI emphasized that this amendment will allow fuel station owners to be able to make a competitive economic case for installing new pumps and fueling infrastructure, while also providing automakers the opportunity to find market-driven solutions for meeting the requirements of the amendment. A copy of the letter can be seen here.
More information about the Open Fuel Standard Coalition is available at www.openfuelstandard.org.
The Open fuel Standard Act will cure the United State’s addiction to oil as a transportation fuel while saving consumers money at the pump as automakers phase out gasoline-only vehicles. The first version of this bill, HR-1687, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2011 by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and currently has 24 co-sponsors. The bill requires that, starting in 2014, 50% of the vehicles manufactured by an automaker must be able to run on something other than just gasoline; this will increase to 80% by 2016 and 95% by 2017. Eligible vehicles include those capable of running on GEM fuels (gasoline, ethanol, and methanol mixtures), natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, electricity, fuel cell or other vehicles not propelled by an internal combustion engine.
Another version of this bill, which enjoys bipartisan support, S-1603, was introduced in the Senate last September by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Richard G. Lugar (R-IN). More recently, it was proposed as an amendment to the pending Senate version of the transportation bill. The Senate version of the bill is more specific and instructive in providing a road map for the implementation of an open fuel standard. Among other differences, including the addition of a credit trading program for manufacturers, this version requires that between 2015 and 2017, at least 50% percent of a manufacturer’s vehicles must be “fuel-choice enabled,” and 80% by 2018.
Passing the Open Fuel Standard Act will reduce U.S. reliance on imported petroleum and help keep the country less vulnerable to oil supply shocks, said Gen. Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Growth Energy. “I think it’s important to bring this forward as law as soon as possible because in the 21st century, energy policy is national security policy” he said at the Open Fuel Standard Coalition’s panel discussion on February 29th. Contunue Reading
U.S. Congressman Pete Olson(R-TX) has introduced a bill in Congress called the Domestic Alternative Fuels Act on January 17, 2012. The bill has five co-sponsors: Reps. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., Joseph R. Pitts, R-Pa., Gene Green, D-Texas, Charles A. Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Jim Costa, D-Calif. You can find a copy of the bill here.
The bill amends Renewable Fuel Program of the Clean Air Act to allow domestic alternative fuel to be used to satisfy a portion of the renewable fuel requirement. The bill creates a new independent fuel category called Domestic Alternative Fuel. Within this new category, the bill allows ethanol, produced from other sources such as domestic coal and natural gas, to qualify under the program.
The purpose of this bill is to expand the eligibility requirements within the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) to allow ethanol from alternative feedstocks to compete with corn-based ethanol. Rep. Olson’s goal is to reduce the amount of corn used to produce ethanol because, according to him, the focus of the RFS on corn has translated into higher feed costs for livestock producers and higher food costs for working families. Contunue Reading
The Methanol Institute, along with the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and the U.S. Energy Security Council, is hosting a first of its kind one-day event in Washington, D.C. that will bring together policy makers, federal agencies, alternative fueling experts and technology companies to discuss the role of methanol in America’s energy future.
The Methanol Policy Forum 2012 will take place on Tuesday, March 27th at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register early and find out more information at: http://methanolpolicyforum2012.eventbrite.com/
This event will feature 6 sessions, discussing everything from alternative energy markets to policy initiatives that can help move our nation’s energy agenda forward and meet our goals of reduced reliance on foreign oil and reduced impact on our environment. U.S. DOE Assistant Secretary David Sandalow will deliver the keynote address about the future of methanol in U.S. policy, and a host of notable speakers and technology experts will share experiences from around the globe.
There will be a special lunch session with the U.S. Energy Security Council – a round table discussion featuring such policy experts as former Louisiana Senator Bennett Johnston, former CIA Director James Woolsey, and President Reagan’s National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane – which will focus on the importance of developing competitive solutions to energy in order to preserve national security.
More information and specific agendas will be released in the near future. For any questions about the event, please contact Matt Roberts with the Methanol Institute at email@example.com.
We hope to see you in Washington D.C. for this one of a kind event!
With increasing public attention on hydraulic fracturing operations, the Methanol Institute had commissioned a white paper from engineering and scientific consultant Exponent examining the impact of methanol usage in hydraulic fracturing operations last August. Today, the Methanol Institute released an updated version of this white paper to address concerns regarding methanol air emissions from flowback water retention ponds.
Methanol is a naturally occurring, biodegradable molecule that is omnipresent in our environment. And, according to the report, since methanol is infinitely soluble in water, once it is used as an additive in fracking fluids methanol will practically not evaporate or volatize at all, meaning there is no concern regarding methanol air emissions. This conclusion was confirmed by air monitoring by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The Methanol Institute hosted a delegation of officials from Shanxi province last week, one of the major regions in China that is implementing the use of methanol as a transportation fuel. This is not the first visit to the United States by the delegation, which was led by former vice governor of Shanxi province, Mr. Zhigui Peng, who now serves as the Chairman of the Shanxi Federation of Industrial Economics.
The delegation and the Methanol Institute met with officials from the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as automotive and engine technology companies like Lotus and Navistar. These meetings were in both Washington, D.C. and at testing facilities in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
What was different about these meetings from past trips by the delegation is that the roles of those involved have shifted dramatically. Shanxi and its leaders used to visit the United States to learn about our innovative methanol technology and programs, but it seems now they are playing the role of the teacher.
In the 1980′s and 90′s, the U.S. had thriving methanol fueling programs going on in California and New York, with just short of 20,000 vehicles on the road. These programs led to the development of flex fuel vehicle technology which has since been adopted by almost every major automaker in the country, and led to the wider use of alcohol fuels in vehicles around the world. Contunue Reading
One of the primary focuses of the Methanol Institute is to serve the global industry by providing the most up-to-date resources and manuals available for use in facilities large and small. To that end, MI has launched the Safety Snapshot – a quarterly newsletter that will allow people in every industry sector that utilizes methanol to keep up with the latest in safe handling and response materials that we produce on a regular basis.
If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter, send an email to MI@methanol.org.
The first edition is available on the MI website in our Health and Safety section.
A lot of attention is being focused on the development of new energy sources, and natural gas in particular has come under scrutiny for its possible adverse impact on the environment. The United States in particular has immense reserves of natural gas, much of it locked in shale formations, and across the globe countries are exploring ways to efficiently recover their own natural gas reserves to reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy and fuel their own economic growth. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ is an increasingly common way of extracting natural gas that is otherwise inaccessible to standard extraction.
A new white paper from the Methanol Institute, titled “Methanol Use in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids,’ finds methanol to be an essential component of this energy recovery process. Methanol is employed by a number of different industries for various applications because, among other properties, it is biodegradable, will prevent water from freezing in low temperatures, and inhibits corrosion from other chemicals and acids. The oil and gas industry has long employed methanol in a number of different roles because of these valuable properties, and it is now one of the most commonly used additives in fracking fluids – though it is used in very small quantities, often less than 0.001%.