Skip to main content

Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy, 3rd Edition

Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy, 3rd Edition

George A. Olah , Alain Goeppert , G. K. Surya Prakash

ISBN: 978-3-527-80567-9

Jul 2018

650 pages

$44.99

Description

Completely revised and updated, the third edition of this bestseller discusses the concept and ongoing development of using methanol and derived dimethyl ether as a transportation fuel, energy storage medium, and as a chemical raw material to replace fossil fuels.
The contents have been expanded by 35% with new and up to date coverage on energy storage, methanol from biomass and waste products, as well as on carbon dioxide capture and recycling. Written by the late Nobel laureate George Olah, Alain Goeppert and G. K. Surya Prakash, this is an inspiring read for anyone concerned with the major challenge posed by environmental problems including global warming and ocean acidification due to massive increase in fossil fuel use. The book provides a comprehensive and sustainable solution to replace fossil fuels in the long run by chemical recycling of carbon dioxide through renewable methanol utilizing alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and nuclear. The Methanol Economy is being progressively implemented in many parts of the world.

Preface xiii

About the Authors xv

Acronyms xvii

1 Introduction 1

2 Coal in the Industrial Revolution and Beyond 13

3 History of Petroleum Oil and Natural Gas 21

3.1 Oil Extraction and Exploration 26

3.2 Natural Gas 27           

4 Fossil‐Fuel Resources and Their Use 31

4.1 Coal 32

4.2 Petroleum Oil 38

4.3 Unconventional Oil Sources 43

4.4 Tar Sands 44

4.5 Oil Shale 46

4.6 Light Tight Oil 47

4.7 Natural Gas 48

4.8 Coalbed Methane 56

4.9 Tight Sands and Shales 56

4.10 Methane Hydrates 57

4.11 Outlook 60

5 Oil and Natural Gas Reserves and Their Limits 63

6 The Continuing Need for Hydrocarbon Fuels and Products 73

6.1 Fractional Distillation of Oil 77

6.2 Thermal Cracking and Other Downstream Processes 78

6.3 Petroleum Products 79

7 Fossil Fuels and Climate Change 85

7.1 Mitigation 95

8 Renewable Energy Sources and Atomic Energy 101

8.1 Hydropower 104

8.2 Geothermal Energy 108

8.3 Wind Energy 113

8.4 Solar Energy: Photovoltaic and Thermal 117

8.4.1 Electricity from Photovoltaic Conversion 118

8.4.2 Solar Thermal Power for Electricity Production 121

8.4.3 Electric Power from Saline Solar Ponds 125

8.4.4 Solar Thermal Energy for Heating 125

8.4.5 Economics of Solar Energy 126

8.5 Bioenergy 127

8.5.1 Electricity from Biomass 128

8.5.2 Liquid Biofuels 130

8.5.2.1 Biomethanol 135

8.5.3 Advantages and Limitation of Biofuels 135

8.6 Ocean Energy: Thermal, Tidal, and Wave Power 136

8.6.1 Tidal Energy 136

8.6.2 Wave Power 138

8.6.3 Ocean Thermal Energy 139

8.7 Nuclear Energy 140

8.7.1 Energy from Nuclear Fission Reactions 142

8.7.2 Breeder Reactors 146

8.7.3 The Need for Nuclear Power 148

8.7.4 Economics 149

8.7.5 Safety 151

8.7.6 Radiation Hazards 153

8.7.7 Nuclear By‐products, Waste, and Their Management 154

8.7.8 Emissions 156

8.7.9 Nuclear Fusion 156

8.7.10 Nuclear Power: An Energy Source for the Future 160

8.8 Future Outlook 161

9 The Hydrogen Economy and Its Limitations 165

9.1 Hydrogen and Its Properties 166

9.2 The Development of Hydrogen Energy 168

9.3 Production and Uses of Hydrogen 171

9.3.1 Hydrogen from Fossil Fuels 172

9.3.2 Hydrogen from Biomass 174

9.3.3 Photobiological Water Cleavage and Fermentation 175

9.3.4 Water Electrolysis 175

9.3.4.1 Electrolyzer Types 176

9.3.4.2 Electricity Source 177

9.3.5 Hydrogen Production Using Nuclear Energy 179

9.4 The Challenge of Hydrogen Storage 180

9.4.1 Liquid Hydrogen 182

9.4.2 Compressed Hydrogen 182

9.4.3 Metal Hydrides and Solid Adsorbents 184

9.4.4 Chemical Hydrogen Storage 185

9.5 Centralized or Decentralized Distribution of Hydrogen? 186

9.6 Hydrogen Safety 188

9.7 Hydrogen as a Transportation Fuel 189

9.8 Fuel Cells 191

9.8.1 History 191

9.8.2 Fuel Cell Efficiency 192

9.8.3 Hydrogen‐based Fuel Cells 194

9.8.4 PEM Fuel Cells for Transportation 197

9.8.5 Regenerative Fuel Cells 200

9.9 Outlook 203

10 The “Methanol Economy”: General Aspects 205

11 Methanol and Dimethyl Ether as Fuels and Energy Carriers 211

11.1 Background and Properties of Methanol 211

11.1.1 Methanol in Nature 213

11.1.2 Methanol in Space 213

11.2 Chemical Uses of Methanol 214

11.3 Methanol as a Transportation Fuel 216

11.3.1 Development of Alcohols as Transportation Fuels 217

11.3.2 Methanol as a Fuel in Spark Ignition (SI) Engines 226

11.3.3 Methanol as a Fuel in Compression Ignition (Diesel) Engines and Methanol Engines 229

11.4 Dimethyl Ether as a Transportation Fuel 232

11.5 Biodiesel Fuel 238

11.6 Advanced Methanol‐powered Vehicles 238

11.6.1 Hydrogen for Fuel Cells Based on Methanol Reforming 239

11.7 Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) 245

11.8 Fuel Cells Based on Other Methanol‐derived Fuels and Biofuel Cells 253

11.8.1 Regenerative Fuel Cell 253

11.9 Methanol and DME as Marine Fuels 253

11.10 Methanol for Locomotives and Heavy Equipment 261

11.11 Methanol as an Aviation Fuel 262

11.12 Methanol for Static Power, Heat Generation, and Cooking 263

11.13 DME for Electricity Generation and as a Household Gas 265

11.14 Methanol and DME Storage and Distribution 268

11.15 Price of Methanol and DME 271

11.16 Safety of Methanol and DME 273

11.17 Emissions from Methanol‐ and DME‐powered Vehicles and Other Sources 278

11.18 Environmental Effects of Methanol and DME 283

11.19 The Beneficial Effect of Chemical CO2 Recycling to Methanol on Climate Change 285

12 Production of Methanol from Still Available Fossil‐Fuel Resources 287

12.1 Methanol from Fossil Fuels 290

12.1.1 Production via Syngas 290

12.1.2 Syngas from Coal 294

12.1.3 Syngas from Natural Gas 295

12.1.3.1 Steam Reforming of Methane 295

12.1.3.2 Partial Oxidation of Methane 296

12.1.3.3 Autothermal Reforming and Combination of Steam Reforming with Partial Oxidation 296

12.1.3.4 Syngas from CO2 Reforming of Methane 297

12.1.4 Syngas from Petroleum Oil and Higher Hydrocarbons 297

12.1.5 Economics of Syngas Generation 298

12.1.6 Alternative Syngas Generation Methods 298

12.1.6.1 Tri‐reforming of Natural Gas 298

12.1.6.2 Bi‐reforming of Methane for Methanol Production 298

12.1.6.3 Oxidative Bi‐reforming of Methane for Methanol Production: Methane Oxygenation 300

12.1.7 Other High‐Temperature Processes Based on Methane to Convert Carbon Dioxide to Methanol 300

12.1.7.1 Carnol Process 300

12.1.7.2 Combination of Methane Decomposition with Dry Reforming or Steam Reforming 302

12.1.7.3 Addition of CO2 to Syngas from Methane Steam Reforming 303

12.1.8 Coal to Methanol Without CO2 Emissions 303

12.1.9 Methanol from Syngas Through Methyl Formate 305

12.1.10 Methanol from Methane Without Producing Syngas 306

12.1.10.1 Direct Oxidation of Methane to Methanol 306

12.1.10.2 Catalytic Gas‐Phase Oxidation of Methane 307

12.1.10.3 Liquid‐Phase Oxidation of Methane to Methanol 309

12.1.10.4 Methane to Methanol Conversion Through Monohalogenated Methanes 311

12.1.11 Microbial or Photochemical Conversion of Methane to Methanol 313

12.2 Dimethyl Ether Production from Syngas or Carbon Dioxide Using Fossil Fuels 314

13 Production of Renewable Methanol and DME from Biomass and Through Carbon Capture and Recycling 319

13.1 Biomass‐ and Waste‐Based Methanol and DME – Biomethanol and Bio‐DME 319

13.1.1 Gasification 321

13.1.1.1 Sources of Heat for the Gasification 322

13.1.2 Biocrude 322

13.1.3 Combination of Biomass and Coal 324

13.1.4 Excess CO2 in the Gas Mixture Derived from Biomass 324

13.1.5 Methanol from Biogas 329

13.1.6 Limitations of Biomass 332

13.1.7 Aquaculture 335

13.1.7.1 Water Plants 336

13.1.7.2 Algae 336

13.2 Chemical Recycling of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol 340

13.3 Heterogeneous Catalysts for the Production of Methanol from CO2 and H2 340

13.4 Production of DME from CO2 Hydrogenation over Heterogeneous Catalysts 342

13.5 Reduction of CO2 to Methanol with Homogeneous Catalysts 343

13.6 Practical Applications of CO2 to Methanol 344

13.7 Alternative Two‐Step Route for CO2 Hydrogenation to Methanol 346

13.8 Where Should the Needed Hydrogen Come From? 346

13.9 CO2 Reduction to CO Followed by Hydrogenation 347

13.10 Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 348

13.10.1 Direct Electrochemical CO2 Reduction to Methanol 349

13.10.2 Methods for High‐Rate Electrochemical CO2 Reduction 350

13.10.3 Syngas (Metgas) Production from Formic Acid Synthesized by Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 352

13.11 Thermochemical and Photochemical Routes to Methanol 352

13.11.1 Solar‐Driven Thermochemical Conversion of CO2 to CO for Methanol Synthesis 352

13.11.2 Direct Photochemical Reduction of CO2 to Methanol 354

13.12 Sources of CO2 355

13.12.1 Separating Carbon Dioxide from Industrial and Natural Sources for Chemical Recycling 356

13.12.2 CO2 Capture from Seawater 359

13.12.3 CO2 Capture from the Air 359

13.13 Atmospheric CO2 to Methanol 363

13.14 Cost of Producing Methanol from CO2 and Biomass 365

13.15 Advantages of Producing Methanol from CO2 and H2 369

13.16 Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions 369

13.17 Anthropogenic Carbon Cycle 372

14 Methanol‐Based Chemicals, Synthetic Hydrocarbons, and Materials 375

14.1 Methanol‐Based Chemical Products and Materials 375

14.2 Methyl‐tert‐butyl Ether and DME 377

14.3 Methanol Conversion to Light Olefins and Synthetic Hydrocarbons 378

14.4 Methanol to Olefin (MTO) Processes 380

14.5 Methanol to Gasoline (MTG) Processes 383

14.6 Methanol‐Based Proteins 384

14.7 Plant Growth Promotion 385

14.8 Outlook 386

15 Conclusion and Outlook 387

15.1 Where Do We Stand? 387

15.2 The “Methanol Economy”: Progress and Solutions for the Future 390

Further Reading and Information 395

References 409

Index 459