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1207  Methanol Economy - Recycled CO2 Vehicle and Heating Fuels

The Methanol Economy

This web site is suggesting recycling the CO2 that is already in the air as the feedstock for making
gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating gas.

Carbon captured fire and methanol-based, carbon-neutral combustion fuel chemistry are the foundations of this site's message.
 

"Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy".
by George A. Olah, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry.  ISBN 3-527-31275-7. 
 
Written for the public, you do not need to be a chemist to understand his book and its message.  His book is the foundation concept for this web site. 

    Much more
can be learned from reading his book than this web site.  An excellent introduction to synthesizing all fuels from methanol made from CO2 and Hydrogen.
 

 Brief Introductory Slide Show (10 pdf slides)     Scrubbing CO2 From The Air (2 pdf slides)

For More, Fire's Carbon Capture Page

US Capitol Complex can be the World's First Oxycombustion Carbon-NEGATIVE "Green Island Capitol"
(Carbon capturing and sequestering (CCS) the CO2 from burning industrial wood pellets to make it's electricity and heat.) 


 

 

Priming The CO2 Capture Pump With Methanol  Backing Out Of Climate Change

You can see them from space.  Stranded gas flares.  Natural gas freed up by fracking but having a yield too small in volume to economically justify building a pipeline to the well to capture and bring the gas to market.  Natural gas is methane, a Global Warming gas 20 times as powerful as carbon dioxide (CO2).  When the only other option is releasing the gas into the atmosphere, burning stranded gas to turn it into far less harmful CO2 is the best possible action.
 

(Above) The United States Natural Gas Pipeline Network.

There are small semi-truck-size unattended (isolated, but radio telemetry monitored) automatic refineries that can, using some of the stranded gas for power, convert the remaining methane gas into the liquid vehicle fuel called methanol.    http://www.gastechno.com/gastechno-company-section.html   is one such company offering to sell such a mini-plant.  The stranded gas well operator would visit the well every few days with an empty tanker truck, transfer the methanol from the blue tank to the truck, and take the methanol to market for sale.  If automobiles were flex-fuel equipped for methanol in addition to ethanol you would have a mass market for methanol everywhere.  Methanol is currently about $1 a gallon, but it only gets 60% the mileage of gasoline.  Since the cost per mile for methanol would be substantially lower than the cost per mile of gasoline, a lot of stranded gas well owners would get very rich in a hurry.  That's why they want methanol to be a legal and mandated vehicle fuel just like ethanol.

What does this have to do with Climate Change?  Methanol (and synthetic gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating gas can be made from methanol) can also be manufactured by reacting CO2 and Hydrogen over a catalyst.  The CO2 can be obtained by extracting it from the air using machines called "air scrubbers", many different processes can extract hydrogen from water.  Methanol produced this way would be carbon-neutral since the CO2 was removed from the air, so it would be as "green" as "bio-methanol.  When we are talking massive volumes of carbon-neutral methanol in the same ball park as the massive volumes of gasoline (the US is burning 245 barrels of oil every second, about 2/3 the equivalent for natural gas), we are talking about Climate Change taking a big hit. 

By priming the pump to switch the world from oil and gas to a methanol economy, the methanol folks will also be in a position to get very rich a second time.  And the fossil fuel industry, now priced out of the energy market, will have to take a 25 trillion dollar write-off on fossil fuel reserves now too expensive to lift.

It is also very much in the interests of the climate-concerned to get behind the  OpenFuelStandard.org  movement and get methanol added to the "Flex Fuel" standard.  Some say it would only add about $35 to the cost of every car.  Expect the oil industry to buy every politician many times over.  And they were laughing at the coal industry's fear of nuclear.

The government knows some day CO2 is going to be very big business and they are already looking into where CO2 might be coming from and where CO2 might need to go to. 

The really big challenge is to capture ambient air CO2 for less than the cost of CO2 split from natural gas.

 

3. Removing CLIMATE CHANGING CO2 from the air to synthesize fuels
Air Contactor Technology

The quickest and most certain way to pull Climate Changing CO2 out of the air is to use machines called "air scrubbers".  Air scrubbing machines and the chemical processes needed to capture the air's Global Warming carbon dioxide (CO2) have been around for over 100 years.  Air scrubbing machines are used to for removing both particulates and different kinds of gasses from other gasses - and air is a gas.  The chemistry is well-known.  Parts of the CO2 air scrubber chemistry have been in use by the Kraft paper industry for over 100 years as part of the process of digesting wood to make wood pulp paper.

Chemists and engineers all over the world are continuing to come up with a variety of air scrubbing machines to pull Climate Changing CO2 out of the air.  This web site examines different examples of such air contacting systems:
 
(1), One from a Canadian company called "Carbon Engineering" using a patented billboard-like air contactor of their own design.
(2), Another from a group of Italian scientists and engineers using similar chemistry as Carbon Engineering's, but more conventional industrial column type air contacting technology for capturing the air's CO2
(3), Still another approach using different chemistry and a power plant-like cooling tower for air contacting is the "Green Freedom" concept from Los Alamos Laboratories.
(4) http://www.co2crc.com.au/ Another approach, filtration using fine tubes, promises to achieve recapture of CO2 with less energy.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), Australia.
(5) Klaus Lackner, Columbia University kl2010@columbia.edu  Humidity Swing CO2 capture using zeolite-like chemicals and artificial trees.

Negative aspects of air scrubbing such as cost, environmental impact, and CO2 sequestration are also examined.

It is hoped that additional, more energy efficient, air scrubber designs will emerge and be included on this web site.

Again, Air Contactor.com is a web site focused on stopping Global Warming with TRISO nuclear energy.

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Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy.  Connecting the dots.
Powering A Decarbonized Energy Economy With Recycled CO2 Combustion Fuels


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This web site is about recycling the CO2 that is already in the air to make gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating gas.

Methanol-Based, Carbon-Neutral Combustion Fuel Chemistry Is Central To This Site's Message.
 

"Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy".
by George A. Olah, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry.  ISBN 3-527-31275-7. 
 

Written for the public, you do not need to be a chemist to understand his book and its message.  His book is the central theme for this web site. 

    Much more
can be learned from reading his book than this web site.  An excellent introduction to all fuels.
 

  Brief Introductory Slide Show (10 pdf slides)     Scrubbing CO2 From The Air (2 pdf slides)

 

Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy.

What Can Be Done In The Near Term:
Using Oxycombustion Heat To Make Synthetic Biofuels From Recycled CO
2
(The original version, powered by TRISO nuclear, is being edited into OxyCombustion in this issue.  They are equally CO2-clean, TRISO nuclear promises to be far cheaper in the long run.)


Recycling the air's CO2 and H20 to make vehicle fuels.  The "Green Freedom" cycle.
If you are burning recycled CO2 fuels, you are NOT burning fossil fuels
Video about fossil fuel's carbon:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RejAjfRkVuc 

 

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A Complete Oil OxyCombustion Powered Recycled-CO2 Fuel Plant
To Make Methanol, Gasoline, Diesel, Jet Fuel, and Heating Gas
(Since we won't have advanced nuclear for at least 20 years, this is the best we can do now.  Enough oil exists in some depleted oil patches to power this plant for about 100 years.)
Turning the products of combustion - CO2 and H2O - back into combustible products such as synthetic gasoline, diesel, etc.
(Top) Clean CO2 loop for making recycled CO2 methanol-based gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating gas.   (Bottom)  Dirty CO2 oxyfuel oil loop.
About:  2 Oxycombustion   3 Air Reduction and Hydrogen   4  Original Coal Power Plant   5  Air Contactor   6  Refinery
This plant uses oxycombustion heat for 1, Combined cycle electricity generation, 2, Hydrogen generation, 3, Recycled CO2 capture, and 4,Refinery process heat.
Using sequestered CO2-enhanced oil recovery, a depleted oil patch might power a large electricity - methanol plant for a hundred years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oil_fields 

Converting a small coal power plant to make both electricity and synthetic Gasoline, Diesel, Jet Fuel, and Heating Fuel from recycled CO2. 
(Being "carbon neutral" means removing as much carbon dioxide from the air as we will return to the air.)

The story the above images portray:  4 A small rural coal burning power plant has been converted from coal to a 2 natural gas powered combined cycle oxycombustion power plant and a synthetic biofuels plant.  In addition to producing electricity, an oxycombustion power plant will produce about 1/2 million cubic feet of fresh water as a combustion product for every 150 megaWatts - days of electricity.
Why pick on small rural power plants?  Because they are everywhere, they have the right kind of maintenance workers, enough real estate, water, heat, railroad, and electricity infrastructure.  More>  More>
 
1,7 In the image above, the energy is coming from a depleted oil patch some distance away.  Since the oil patch was depleted a long time ago, it became forgotten and abandoned.  The plant's liquefied "Dirty" CO2 is used to push the abandoned oil toward oil wells using "Enhanced Oil Recovery" (EOR) technology.  Oil is lighter than water, so ground water is always trying to push oil patches to the surface.  The oil patch is evidence the ground can hold a liquid for at least 150 million years so the injected dirty CO2 will remain in the ground forever.   

If the plant was natural gas fired and located in Michigan, the CO2 produced by the oxycombustion processes could be immediately disposed of by direct injection into Michigan's favorable deep underground disposal strata. 

5 A Carbon Engineering Ltd. company ( http://www.carbonengineering.com/ )  air scrubber has also been added to extract climate changing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air.  At night, when less heat is needed to make electricity, the excess available heat and electricity can be used to extract the CO2 gas the air scrubber pulled from the air earlier in the day using its calcium carbonate chemicals. More - Scrubbing CO2 from the Sky >
 
3 Oversize air reduction plant to 1, supply oxygen to the combined cycle power plant turbines, 2, supply oxygen for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, and, 3, to oxycombust the Air Contactor's "Clean CO2" extraction kiln heating system, and, 4, oxycombust the methanol plant's process heat. 
The hydrogen and captured "clean" CO
2 would be feedstock for the methanol refinery More>
 
6 The methanol refinery located some distance away (refineries pose a fire hazard) to the right of the Air Contactor converts the recycled CO2 and hydrogen into methanol vehicle fuel that can be burned directly in an automobile engine.  Renewable methanol made from recycled CO2 is called "RM" methanol. More>
 
A single Air Contactor module as shown above is designed to capture enough CO
2 to produce as much as 80,000 gallons of RM vehicle fuel per day. A full "ring" of 10 Air Contactor modules would produce 10 times as much - 800,000 gallons a day or 300 million gallons - 7 million barrels per year.  About 1,000 such plants could supply all of United States' oil needs.  Perhaps 4,000 could supply the entire world.
In Europe, carbon neutral methanol is sold to gasoline refineries to be blended with fossil gasoline to reduce overall CO
2 emissions (see links below).  As with ethanol, cars do not need to be "Flex Fuel" to use light RM fuel blends.
100% carbon-neutral gasoline can be made from RM methanol using the Mobil process.  RM100% would have to have 15% synthetic biogasoline added to it to dilute it to RM85 to optimize automobile engine ignition or RM100 could be blended into fossil gasoline as RM15 to reduce CO
2 emissions of all cars - as we are currently doing with gasoline-ethanol pump blends.  A car would have to be "Open Fuel Standard" flex-fuel use RM85. 
RIGHT - Click to enlarge paths & equipment diagram.  Download and save as a HiRez pdf >.


Bottom line: RM85% gives about 57% the mileage of gasoline - at 48% the price - and, synthetic biomethanol would be carbon tax free - because it would be carbon-neutral and would not add to Climate Change.

The catalytic reaction methanol production process described above was:    2 CO2 + 4 H20  →  2 CH3OH + 3 O2.  1 mol = 32.05g.
Methanol burns in air forming carbon dioxide and water:    2 CH3OH + 3 O2  →  2 CO2 + 4 H20.  Heat of combustion = - 726Kj/mol.


 

Pilot Plant
Using the Siemens OFT-900 rocket engined steam turbine test site near Bakersfield, California

1. Oil companies would most likely be the ones with the moxie, money, and smarts to check the above idea out.  There may be one that's thinking about still being in business after Climate Change hits hard. 
If one were to ask me to put together an "Order of Magnitude" cost estimate, I would retain a competent pilot plant engineering firm like http://www.epicmodularprocess.com/pilotplants
2. Then we would have to find either a suitable small coal power plant that was thinking about going combined cycle or a depleted gas/oil patch that could power a combination electricity power plant and water source for perhaps 30 years. 
3. Then we would need to see how a Maersk/Siemens 150 megaWatt TriGen oxycombustion ROCKET-generator (below, view "How  TriGen  Works" video) http://www.cleanenergysystems.com/  would fit in and if it makes enough exhaust heat that is hot enough to drive a small General Atomics' type thermal sulfur-iodine water splitter.  Some of the TriGen's very pure CO
2 exhaust would also be needed for Enhanced Oil Recovery to bring the depleted oil patch back to life.  A combined cycle heat recovery boiler possibly could also be heated by the water splitter's very hot heating gas exhaust to drive the original old coal power plant's steam generator for some additional electricity. 
4. Last, adding a small catalytic methanol generator like the one at http://www.carbonrecycling.is/ to turn the remaining TriGen's very pure CO
2 exhaust into methanol would finish off the estimating task. 
5. Granted, this facility will not make zero-CO
2 methanol but it does make an income producing practical field laboratory for some company to first learn the technical and economic answers to the feasibility questions that are certain to arise about going beyond oil and gas.

  What others are doing now:  

http://www.carbonrecycling.is/  Carbon Recycling International, Iceland, is doing well making methanol out of CO2 Company Story  Fact Sheet
http://www.biomcn.eu/  BioMCN, Holland, is doing well, has a glycerin to methanol process.   Bio-MCN - Methanol - Slide Show.pdf   Fact Sheet

Range Fuels Methanol.pdf  US wood-to-methanol company.  Out of business.
http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/   Biofuels Digest  A web site about biofuels activity.
http://www.methanol.org/  The Methanol Institute
http://www.jouleunlimited.com/  Solar recycled CO
2 to fuels
http://www.sunfire.de/en/  German Company
http://www.zeroco2.no/    ZeroCO2 web site.
 


The above, done globally - thousands of times - would end Climate Change.

Lights = Cities = Power Plants = Thousands Of Potential Recycled CO2 Synthetic BioFuel Refineries. 
You are looking at the only predictable way to stop Climate Change.
How many power plants are there? 
http://www.platts.com/Products.aspx?xmlFile=worldelectricpowerplantsdatabase.xml

 (Reminder) Being "carbon neutral" means removing as much carbon dioxide from the air as we will return to the air.

 

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Making Gasoline Out Of Recycled CO2
 

Clean CO2 Loop (Upper) - Dirty CO2 Loop (Lower)
(Lower): Oxyextract the oil's heat, then inject oil's "Dirty CO2" into depleted oil fields to push more oil toward oil production wells.
(Upper): Use the oil's heat to both make electricity and to synthesize gasoline, diesel, etc., from "Clean CO2" extracted from the air.
Until better nuclear is available, we have plenty of oil for powering a "Dual-CO2 Loop" to Decarbonize the World.
Why the world shouldn't wait for clean nuclear to become available:  Nuclear Reactors - Hyman G Rickover 1953.pdf  When better nuclear does become available, Air Contactor's processes can be easily powered by nuclear.
Oxycombustion technology is well-known and industrial equipment using it is being offered for sale, so we don't have to wait 20+ years for better nuclear to begin decarbonizing the world.

What you are looking at

 An oil powered, carbon-capturing, power plant that also provides energy to capture CO2 from the air and to make the CO2 into recycled-CO2 fuels.

   1 Oil train carrying jet fuel combustion oil from small oil refinery.
   2 GE Jet engined electricity power plant with heat recovery steam boilers (a "combined cycle" plant).  Burns "Oxyfuel" - oil and oxygen - not air.
   3
Electrically powered "Air Reduction Plant" to extract pure oxygen from the air.  Second part splits water into hydrogen and oxygen gasses.
   4
Original coal power plant now converted to run on steam from the heat recovery boilers that are being heated by the jet engine's exhaust blast.
   5
Air Contactor for extracting carbon dioxide - CO2 - from the air.  Designed by Carbon Engineering, Ltd., Canada.
   6
Refinery for making liquid methanol from CO2 and hydrogen gas, may also have gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating gas catalytic reactors.
   7
93 ton liquid CO2 tank car to take "Dirty" CO2 made by all the facility equipment's oxycombustion heaters back to depleted oilfield.
   8
CO2 disposal injection well.  One of many surrounding a depleted oilfield to rejuvenate the oilfield.  It can alternately inject either CO2 or water.
   9
Oil Production Well to recover "Enhanced Oil Recovery" (EOR) crude oil.
 10
Small oil refinery to divide crude oil into either jet fuel for oxycombustion in the power plant or for oil solids such as plastics, pavement, etc.
 11
Distribution line for oil solids feedstocks.
 12
Distribution line for jet fuel oil.

How the equipment works

 Making the above happen depends upon setting up a cascade of technological synergies to create an infrastructure where large amounts of zero-CO2 heat energy is available to power the various processes in the above industrial facility. 
 We begin by creating a massive source of CO
2 - in this case, a large jet-engine powered electricity generating power plant powered by oil oxyfuel.  It's CO2 can bring a depleted oilfield alive again to provide the inexpensive oil needed to power the entire facility.  It will also produce several million gallons of fresh water for every 24 hours of full power running.  Combined Cycle Gas Turbines are cheap, costing only $1/watt, quick to build, reliable, and small.  (2010 nuclear plant build cost was $5.40/watt. US Energy Information Administration (EIA)) 

 Another advantage a jet engine powered power plant offers is it's ability to rapidly increase and decrease it's power output to fill in for the wind lulls and passing clouds that cause the power outputs of wind and solar power plants to fluctuate, greatly reducing the need for renewable's grid energy storage.  This means the special "rapid load-following" electricity this particular kind of power plant can produce with it's jet engines can be sold into a grid full of windmills and solar cells for a substantial premium.  At 750 megaWatts, the 60% efficient (not 30% efficient like coal or nuke) General Electric FlexEfficiency 60 Combined Cycle Power Plant's pair of huge jet engines plus their heat recovery boilers to power a steam turbogenerator maxes out at about the same amount of power as a small nuke.  A substantial portion of this electricity will be used to power the facility.
 
3442_OxyJet_Combustion_Turbine  
(The relevant part - "A grid rich with renewables." - is about 1/2 way down.)

(8)  Recovering abandoned oil from depleted oilfields

 A not commonly known fact about oil patches: Only about 1/3 of the oil in a typical oil patch is recovered before it becomes uneconomical to continue pumping.
 
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR):  By injecting alternating layers of CO2 and water into the ground surrounding an oil patch to free up and push the remaining oil toward the pumps, it is possible to recover as much as another 15% to 30% of the oil patch's original pool of oil.
 The amount of abandoned oil that remains in the ground today is massive.
 1 trillion barrels of oil have already been pumped by the world's oil companies since the age of oil began 175 years ago. 

 Enhanced Oil Recovery means there may be as much as another 1 trillion barrels of oil available from the world's well-known, safe, and easily accessible but depleted and abandoned oil patches. 
More about this, 

(8)  Recovering abandoned oil from depleted oilfields

 A not commonly known fact about oil patches: Only about 1/3 of the oil in a typical oil patch is recovered before it becomes uneconomical to continue pumping.
 
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR):  By injecting alternating layers of CO2 and water into the ground surrounding an oil patch to free up and push the remaining oil toward the pumps, it is possible to recover as much as another 15% to 30% of the oil patch's original pool of oil.
 The amount of abandoned oil that remains in the ground today is massive.
 1 trillion barrels of oil have already been pumped by the world's oil companies since the age of oil began 175 years ago. 

 Enhanced Oil Recovery means there may be as much as another 1 trillion barrels of oil available from the world's well-known, safe, and easily accessible but depleted and abandoned oil patches. 
More about this, 

 (2, 4)  An oil powered, carbon-capturing, jet engine powered electricity power plant that can get the oil it needs from a depleted oilfield

 The electricity generating plants, (numbers 2 and 4, above) are the key components of the above energy production facility.  It is an "oxyfuel" plant that, instead of oil and air, burns a mix of oil, oxygen, and carbon dioxide (CO2).  This arrangement causes the exhaust gasses of the plant to be pure CO2 and fresh water.  In this case, since the CO2 came from fossil oil, the CO2 is considered "dirty" and will have to be returned to the ground instead of being allowed to escape into the air.   How an oil oxyfuel power plant works sketch.

 If only the oil needed to power a single "oxyfuel" electricity power plant were taken from a depleted oil patch, the power plant might produce electricity for more than 100 years before using up the remaining recoverable depleted oil.  The power plants and the depleted oil patch can be located next to each other, connected by pipelines, or 100-ton load carrying railroad cars.

 A lot of "dirty" CO2 is needed to bring a depleted oil patch back to life.  Perhaps one tank car of liquid CO2 and one tank car of water will get you two tank cars of recovered oil - so the CO2 source power plants need to be large and running hard 24/7 to make enough CO2.  At times of low electrical demand, the power plants spare electricity would be used to make additional amounts of clean gasoline, etc.  Day/Night power plant loading

Having a relatively large oxyfuel electricity generating station means the incremental cost of additional oxygen from the generating station's air reduction plant (3) should be low, so powering the plant's other smaller equipment - Air Contactor, water splitter, and refinery - with zero-CO2 oxyjetfuel will not be excessively expensive.

In addition to:

 1, producing large amounts of emissions-free electricity in existing and new power plants, the heat from an oil oxyfuel flame is 
 2, hot enough to extract "CLEAN" recycled CO
2 from the air through firing the calcium carbonate kiln in a classic air CO2 scrubber, and
 3, hot enough to directly produce hydrogen gas for synthesizing combustion fuels by thermal splitting of water, and
 4, hot enough to convert the "clean" CO2 gas + hydrogen gas into "clean" gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating gas in various catalytic chemical reactors. 
  These are the prerequisites for producing unlimited volumes of carbon-neutral synthetic gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating fuels.
 All four aspects of oxycombustion heat are essential to building a decarbonized global energy economy.

Enhanced Oil Recovery from depleted oil patches does not produce the cheapest or cleanest oil in the world but depleted oil patches are located all over the world. 
This does give us energy everywhere so we can decarbonize the world immediately without changing very much how the world lives. 
This also means continuing to use most of the world's oil energy infrastructure "AS IS" is so we can begin immediately.

(3) Oxygen from air reduction plant, Hydrogen from water splitter.  Hydrogen From Water

 

  (5)  Recycling the air's CO2 as a feedstock to make gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating fuel

 Extreme heat made by oil and oxygen is needed to split water into hydrogen (incidentally, this process makes even more oxygen) and also to kiln extract CO2 from the air via the solid absorbent, calcium carbonate.    Scrubbing CO2 From The Air (2 pdf slides)    Air Contactor Air CO2 Capture

 Having these capabilities make producing large quantities of carbon-neutral recycled CO2 gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating gas economically feasible.

 

  (6)  Making gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating fuel out of recycled CO2 and hydrogen feedstocks

 

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 (Reminder) Being "carbon neutral" means removing as much carbon dioxide from the air as we will return to the air.

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Ending Climate Change, Not Merely Delaying It.