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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Zhejiang University team investigates emissions from methanol-gasoline blends

August 23, 2016

Globally, the use of methanol as an alternative fuel has attracted interest because of its low production cost, renewable capacity, and good combustion-related properties (higher thermal efficiency, higher engine power, and lower regulated emissions). In China in particular, there are abundant coal resources, and the technology of using coal to obtain methanol has been perfected with low cost; methanol fuel from coal has become one of the most popular alternative fuels for vehicles.

However, the in-cylinder combustion of methanol also produces a considerable amount of extra toxic emissions, such as alcohols and aldehydes. A team at Zhejiang University has now investigated the impact of methanol–gasoline blends on the pollutant emissions of port-fuel injected spark ignition (SI) engines. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

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LLNL 3-D printed biocatalytic polymer turns methane to methanol at room temperature and pressure

June 15, 2016

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have combined biology and 3-D printing to create the first reactor that can continuously produce methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure.

Methane monooxygenases (MMOs), found in methanotrophic bacteria, are selective catalysts for methane activation and conversion to methanol under mild conditions; however, these enzymes are not amenable to standard enzyme immobilization approaches. Using particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), the researchers created a biocatalytic polymer material that converts methane to methanol. They embedded the material within a silicone lattice to create mechanically robust, gas-permeable membranes, and the direct printing of micron-scale structures with controlled geometry. The enzymes retain up to 100% activity in the polymer construct.

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USC team develops highly efficient catalyst system for converting CO2 to methanol; 79% yield from CO2 captured from air

February 03, 2016

Researchers at Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, have developed a highly efficient homogeneous Ru-based catalyst system for the production of methanol (CH3OH) from CO2 and H2 in an ethereal solvent (initial turnover frequency = 70 h−1 at 145 °C).

In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they reported demonstrating for the first time that CO2 captured from air can be directly converted to CH3OH in 79% yield using the new homogeneous catalytic system.

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EERC working with Fuel Cell Energy on $3.5M ARPA-E project for electrochemical cell to convert natural gas to methanol

August 29, 2015

The University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is working with FuelCell Energy, Inc., an integrated stationary fuel cell manufacturer, to develop a durable, low-cost, and high-performance electrochemical cell to convert natural gas and other methane-rich gas into methanol, a major chemical commodity with worldwide applications in the production of liquid fuels, solvents, resins, and polymers.

The US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) awarded $3,500,000 to the project, led by Fuel Cell Energy, as part of its REBELS (Reliable Electricity Based on ELectrochemical Systems) program. (Earlier post.) The project is directed at developing an intermediate-temperature fuel cell that would directly convert methane to methanol and other liquid fuels using advanced metal catalysts.

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