Methanol, biofuel of the future?

26/12/2011
Forget hydrogen here is its successor according Dinko Chakarov Professor of Applied Physics at the Chalmers University in Sweden.

Derived from researches to produce hydrogen from solar energy and because of the difficulties of transport and storage of this fuel, researchers have turned to methanol.
The researches on hydrogen were useful for methanol as it appears in the first stage of the synthesis of methanol.

Dinko-Chakarov-Methanol-Chalmers.jpg 

Indeed methanol can be created from carbon dioxide and solar energy, a carbon neutral virtuous cycle! This process would use CO2 from the air and transform it... Methanol can be used in a wide variety of applications such as aeronautics.

This process already exists and will be tested on a larger scale in the context of a Nordic initiative, aiming to make fuel affordable, the « Nordic Initiative for Solar Fuel Development » (NISFD) spread over 4 years funded by a 10million of Norwegian kroner grant (1.3 million €).

Methanol also offers advantages in terms of storage unlike electricity and hydrogen and can use the existing infrastructure.

Details on the production process
1_ Division of water molecules to obtain hydrogen and oxygen
2_ Hydrogen reacts in contact with CO2 by photocatalysis and gives Methanol
This process is also estimated 50 x more effective than biomass used until now... The performance of the reaction also depends on the capacity of photovoltaic cells, which is bound to grow.

What date for a large-scale production? Professor Chakarov estimates 10 years
This program will be officially launched in January at the University of Chalmers

We had already had an example of a vehicle running on methanol: the Lotus Tri-Fuel
LanzaTech also developed a process to get Kerosene from Ethanol using CO2

Par Technologic Vehicles
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