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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.]

Renewable-methanol fueled Geely cars in fleet testing in Iceland; 70% reduction in WTW CO2 compared to gasoline

December 12, 2017

For the last 18 months, a fleet of 6 methanol-fueled versions of the Geely Emgrand 7 cars have been in Iceland. Geely is a shareholder ($45.5-million investment in 2015) in Carbon Recycling International (CRI), an Icelandic company which produces renewable methanol using recycled CO2 emissions sourced from a local thermal power plant and hydrogen made by splitting water with electrolysis (Power-to-Methanol). (Earlier post.)

The methanol fleet test is a collaboration between Geely, CRI and Brimborg, a local dealership and automotive service provider.

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Scientists develop method for direct conversion of methane to methanol or acetic acid under mild conditions

December 08, 2017

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, Tufts University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have shown that mononuclear rhodium species, anchored on a zeolite or titanium dioxide support suspended in aqueous solution, can catalyze the direct conversion of methane to methanol and acetic acid using oxygen and carbon monoxide under mild conditions.

In a paper in the journal Nature, they report that the two products form through independent pathways, allowing the tuning of the conversion. Three-hour-long batch-reactor tests conducted at 150 ˚C, using either the zeolite-supported or the titanium-dioxide-supported catalyst, yielded around 22,000 micromoles of acetic acid per gram of catalyst, or around 230 micromoles of methanol per gram of catalyst, respectively, with selectivities of 60–100%. The researchers said that while still too low for commercialization, these unusually high activities may guide the development of optimized catalysts and practical processes for the direct conversion of methane to methanol, acetic acid and other useful chemicals.

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Eni, FCA partner on R&D to cut road vehicle CO2 emissions; methanol/ethanol blends, renewable diesel, ANG, on-board CO2 capture

November 22, 2017

The chief executive of Eni, Claudio Descalzi, and the chief executive of FCA, Sergio Marchionne, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint development of research projects and technological applications aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from road transport vehicles. The two companies, renewing their strategic commitment to a low-carbon future and in line with Italy’s National Energy Strategy, will combine their respective expertise, experiences and know-how to reduce the sector’s level of CO2 emissions.

Eni and FCA have identified the following areas of cooperation:

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BASF and bse Engineering sign development agreement to transform CO2 and renewable electricity into methanol; power-to-methanol

August 24, 2017

BASF and bse Engineering have signed an exclusive joint development agreement for BASF to provide custom-made catalysts for a new chemical energy storage process. This process will enable the economically viable transformation of excess power and off-gas carbon dioxide into methanol in small-scale, decentralized production units.

In addition to being used as a fuel or chemical feedstock, methanol, the simplest alcohol, can serve as long-term chemical energy storage. It offers energy densities of 4.4 kWh/l—almost six times that of hydrogen—and 5.5 kWh/kg—about 20 times the specific energy of advanced Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes. Put another way, 1 cubic meter (264 gallons) of methanol offers equivalent energy storage to 222 BMW i3 EVs, each with a 21.6 kWh battery.

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Brookhaven team identifies active sites on catalysts for converting CO2 to methanol

May 10, 2017

Chemists from the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and their collaborators have definitively identified the active sites of a catalyst commonly used for making methanol from CO2. The results, published in the journal Science, resolve a longstanding debate about exactly which catalytic components take part in the chemical reactions—and thus which should be the focus of efforts to boost performance.

The hydrogenation of carbon dioxide is a key step in the production of methanol; catalysts made from copper (Cu) and zinc oxide (ZnO) on alumina supports are often used.

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China team develops highly efficient catalyst for low-temperature aqueous phase refoming of methanol to produce hydrogen

April 01, 2017

Researchers in China, along with colleagues in the US, have developed a new catalyst that shows outstanding hydrogen-production activity and stability in the low-temperature aqueous phase reforming of methanol (APRM).

In a paper in the journal Nature, the team reports that platinum (Pt) atomically dispersed on α-molybdenum carbide (α-MoC) enables low-temperature (150–190 ˚C), base-free hydrogen production through APRM, with an average turnover frequency reaching 18,046 moles of hydrogen per mole of platinum per hour. The new catalyst, the researchers suggest, paves a way towards a commercially achievable hydrogen-storage strategy.

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EIA: China’s use of methanol in liquid fuels has grown rapidly since 2000; >500K bpd in 2016

February 23, 2017

China is the global leader in methanol use and has recently expanded its methanol production capacity. Now, a study commissioned by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) from Argus Media (a global provider of analysis on energy and commodities), finds that since the early 2000s, China’s consumption of methanol in fuel products has risen sharply. The report estimates consumption to have been more than 500,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2016.

EIA commissioned the study to better understand China’s consumption of methanol and its derivatives. The estimates developed in the study have now been incorporated into EIA’s historical data and forecasts of petroleum and other liquids consumption in China.

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