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Liquid Phase Methanol Process Licensed to Biofuel Producer

The Liquid Phase Methanol (LPMEOH) Process, funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and developed in collaboration with Air Products and Chemicals Inc., has been licensed to Woodland Biofuel Inc., which intends to use the technology to develop a wood-gasification process to produce methanol from wood-scrap. The first facility is planned in New York State.

The LPMEOH Process, developed for the production of methanol from coal, is an advanced indirect technology that utilizes synthesis gas, produced via gasification, to produce methanol. LPMEOH technology has the potential to be a more-efficient, lower-cost conversion route to methanol than commercially practiced gas-phase technologies.

The technology converts synthesis gas from the gasifier into methanol, which can either be sold as a value-added product or used as a source of peaking power for clean-burning integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants. Methanol can also be used as a source of hydrogen or synthesis gas for small fuel cells or industrial applications.

The original contract between DOE and Air Products and Chemicals, signed in 1981, included a repayment agreement, which has now been initiated, thanks to the Woodland Biofuel royalty license. The arrangement marks the first external license since the technology’s original testing and demonstration in the 1980s, at the DOE-owned 10 ton-per-day process development unit at Air Products and Chemicals’ syngas facility in LaPorte, Texas. DOE has received the first installment from the repayment agreement.

Building on this achievement, a commercial-scale demonstration of the LPMEOH Process was conducted under the CCT (Clean Coal Technology) Program, which resulted in a 260 ton-per-day facility at Eastman Chemicals’ site in Kingsport, Tenn. The facility is still in operation today.



"260 ton-per-day facility at Eastman Chemicals’ site in Kingsport, Tenn. The facility is still in operation today."

This was and is a very successful operation. It showed what could and can be done. I believe in a "methanol economy" and Dr. George Olah had it right all along.

Sanity Chk

Methanol or ethanol may be ok for the long distance traveler as an interim step on the way toward 15 minute rechargeable battery packs. Personally, I would love nothing more than to be able to recharge my EV at home and never pay a visit to a gas station again.

Alex Kovnat

Its gratifying to read that a more efficient and economical system for production of methanol has been demonstrated. But remember: Methanol has numerous disadvantages as an automotive fuel. Its more corrosive than ethanol, has a lower energy content than ethanol, and is more prone to phase separation.

Methanol does have potential for use in fuel cell vehicles, but people concerned about safety will inevitably demand additives to make accidental fires more luminous so firemen wont accidently walk into said fires, and also additives to give it a bitter taste to counter its highly poisonous properties. Said additives may compromise methanol's usefulness for fuel cells.


It is my prediction that we will see many FFVs and much more M85 usage in the coming years. People will keep dreaming of lots of EVs while OPEC hands us our hat.


If you think we're going to see lots of M85 from biomass, look at the size of the biomass resource. Hannes Kunz just got done deconstructing the BAU-on-biomass concept on The Oil Drum, and his conclusion that it won't and can't work is 100% correct.

Absent some huge breakthrough with algae, we're going to go mostly electric or do without.


We will see M85 made from natural gas first. You can make predictions too, one of us could just be right. Watch and see what happens.

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