August 21, 2012
Legalize Methanol – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online.
Last year, I conducted a highly publicized demonstration showing that ordinary American cars could readily be made to operate on methanol, achieving over 40 percent better fuel economy and much lower emissions than on gasoline. In that test, a 2007 Chevy Cobalt was shown to achieve 24.6 miles per gallon running on 100 percent methanol, with the only required physical alteration being the replacement of a non-methanol-compatible Viton fuel-pump seal with a 41-cent part made of methanol-compatible Buna-n. And methanol is now selling for just $1.32 per gallon, without any subsidy.
As methanol can be cheaply produced from natural gas, coal, biomass, or trash — all resources the United States holds in great abundance — this test showed that America could readily free itself from oil imports simply by passing the Open Fuel Standard (OFS) law requiring that all new cars sold in the U.S. be methanol-compatible flex-fuel vehicles. By forcing gasoline to compete at the pump with cheap methanol, such a measure would put a permanent constraint on the price of oil, thereby breaking the power of the Islamist-led OPEC cartel and protecting the nation from the economy-wrecking effects of petroleum price spikes, shown in the figure below.
June 4, 2012
IMF Warning on Oil Prices Shows Urgent Need for Alternative Fuel Sources, Fuel Freedom Foundation Says – MarketWatch.
IRVINE, Calif., May 24, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Fuel Freedom Foundation says that a new warning from the International Monetary Fund underscores the urgency of opening markets to competition from alternative fuels such as natural gas, ethanol, methanol and electricity. The IMF Working Paper, entitled “The Future of Oil: Geology versus Technology,” predicts that oil prices could permanently double in the next decade.
“The IMF report warns that a doubling in oil prices will send the global economy into ‘uncharted territory,’ which would spell disaster,” said Joseph A. Cannon, President of the Fuel Freedom Foundation. “Fortunately, disaster can be averted if we open our markets to competition from cheaper, cleaner, American-made alternative fuels to gasoline. This is the only way to bring down oil prices significantly and structurally, and ensure future economic growth.”
June 4, 2012
Study cracks a secret of methanol production | R&D Mag.
What’s the best way to make methanol? The question is more pressing than it sounds. Not only is methanol an important industrial chemical—some 50 million tons are used each year to make plastics and other products—but it could also become the basis of a clean energy economy that actually reduces global warming by turning a potent greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, into fuel.
Now scientists from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have teamed with researchers in Germany to figure out a key part of the most common process for making methanol. This new understanding, reported in Science, is an important step toward improving the process and eventually realizing the goal of capturing carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels and turning it into something you can put in your gas tank.
May 14, 2012
Open Fuel Standard: New Co-Sponsor: Representative Michael Fitzpatrick.
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick is a Republican Congressman from the 8th district of Pennsylvania, a member of the House Republican Policy Committee, and the newest co-sponsor of the Open Fuel Standard Act.
May 10, 2012
Open Fuel Standard: Breaking OPEC’s Stranglehold.
In James Freeman’s “Weekend Interview with Aubrey McClendon” (April 28), Mr. McClendon states that natural gas could break the stranglehold OPEC has on our economy in 10 years. Actually, it could be sooner than that — if Congress acts on legislation titled the Open Fuel Standard Act.
This bill requires that, within five years, 80% of all new cars manufactured for sale in the U.S. be duel-fuel capable, which includes methanol. The cost to do this would only be about $70 to $100 per car. The methanol requirement is what is unique. Methanol can be made from everything from garbage to coal to natural gas. Given America’s abundant coal reserves and the explosion of extractable natural gas reserves, we could see a day in the not-too-distant future when most drivers choose to fuel their cars with methanol made from domestically produced resources.
May 9, 2012
The End Of OPEC’s Influence – Diesel Power Magazine.
Interview with a Rocket Scientist
This is the second time I’ve interviewed a real rocket scientist who was convinced our short- and long-term energy problems could be solved by internal combustion engines and renewable fuels. Eddie Sturman was the first. Mr. Zubrin outlined the main points of his book during the conversation.
Disaster Waiting to Happen
Zubrin said the United States’ foreign policy is largely driven by a thirst for oil in countries considered unfriendly to American interests. “In the early ’70s, we imported less than a third of our oil, and the total cost was less than 5 percent of our defense budget. Today, we are 60 percent dependent on imported oil and spend more on imported oil than we spend on national defense.” Energy Victory argues whoever controls the fuel supply controls the future. Since the Middle East and North Africa have the largest share of oil reserves, that’s where the transfer of power will take place.
March 30, 2012
DOE Assistant Secretary David Sandalow at Methanol Policy Forum 2012 – YouTube.
Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow offered these remarks to the audience at Methanol Policy Forum 2012 in Washington, D.C. that looked at the role of methanol fuel and methanol in transportation as an emerging clean fuel technology.
For more information, visit http://www.methanol.org
March 16, 2012
Methanol as an Alternative to Gasoline – NYTimes.com.
PRESIDENT Obama recently called the United States the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” and asserted that it was time for our oil-dominated transportation fuel market to open the door to natural gas. He’s right. It would be cheaper for consumers and reduce the strategic importance of oil. But first we need cars that can run on methanol, a high-octane fuel made from converted natural gas.
We’re producing more natural gas these days than we can use, thanks to new techniques to extract gas from shale. A recent report from the M.I.T. Energy Initiative, “The Future of Natural Gas,” called methanol “the liquid fuel that is most efficiently and inexpensively produced from natural gas.” China has already taken notice. Automakers there, like Chery, Geely and Shanghai Maple, have all introduced vehicles capable of running on methanol. Indeed, methanol is so much less costly per mile than gasoline that illegal fuel blending is rampant in China.
March 12, 2012
America’s Energy Disaster – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online.
President Obama says his energy policy is a great success. In support, Democratic-party stalwart John Podesta trumpets the claim that the United States is now producing more oil than it imports. A recent article in the Bloomberg News goes even further, saying that the U.S. is now a net oil exporter. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman instructs us to rejoice: High oil prices are now good for the United States.
Unfortunately, none of this is true. For the record, according to the Department of Energy/Energy Information Agency February 2012 Monthly Energy Review, the United States currently consumes (November 2011 figures, p.52) 12.93 million barrels of oil per day (mpd) in its transportation sector, 4.55 mpd in its industrial sector, 1.159 mpd in its residential and commercial sectors, and 0.096 mpd in electrical-power generation, for a total consumption of 18.735 mpd. In contrast, (page 37) in 2011, the United States averaged a production rate of 5.671 mpd of crude oil, or 30 percent of its total consumption, for a net deficit of 13.064 mpd, or 4.77 billion barrels per year. At today’s oil price of $105 per barrel, the bill for these imports runs to $500 billion per year, a tax on our economy equal to 20 percent of what Americans pay the IRS, and a reduction in the nation’s GDP sufficient to account for a loss of 5 million jobs at an average salary of $100,000 per year each.
March 12, 2012
Robert McFarlane: A Flex-Fuel Mandate Is Pro-Market – WSJ.com.
The current election cycle and the rising price of gasoline have rekindled interest in energy security and how best to achieve it. We’ve had these spasms of interest and hand-wringing before—many times. And each time we believed we had identified a way to overcome our vulnerability to the disruption or unaffordable pricing of oil, the price would decline, we would become complacent again, and effective, long-term solutions were forgotten.
This time, however, the stakes go well beyond the price of a fill-up at the pump. They involve a predictable renewed recession and prolonged, severe economic hardship for all Americans. As we tackle this energy challenge again, if the outcome is to be any different it may help to start with a few facts:
• Petroleum products drive 97% of all air, sea and land transportation in our country. Oil is truly the lifeblood of every industrial economy. If goods don’t move, revenues stop, jobs are lost and economies collapse. Oil is a strategic commodity, an essential good which if disrupted or priced extravagantly can cause our economy to collapse.
• Unlike other essential commodities such as clothing and food, where we have choices, in transportation fuel we’re stuck with petroleum alone. It enjoys a monopoly.
• The price of oil is set by a foreign cartel. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) owns almost 80% of global oil reserves yet produces only 36% of daily global supply. This dominant position enables OPEC to raise or lower their production to maintain the global supply-demand relationship that suits their interest. If U.S. oil companies produce more, OPEC will produce less.