Methanol As Fuel

This section is about methanol fuel cells for our future. Since I have done this
research I have never realized how important future fuels are. Methanol is a
liquid fuel made form natural gas or renewable biomass resources. Methanol is
the leading candidate to provide the hydrogen necessary to power fuel cell
vehicles. The commercialization of methanol-powered fuel cells will offer
practical, affordable, long-range electric vehicles with zero or near zero
emissions while retaining the convenience of a liquid fuel. By 2004 they say or
even sooner, fuel cells operating on methanol will power a variety of cars and
buses in the U.S and worldwide.( www.mehanol.org) Methanol is predoninantly
produced by steam reforming of natural gas to dcreate a sythesis gas, which is
then dfed into a reactor vessel in the presence of a catalyst to produce
methanol and water vapor. Although a variety of feedstock’s other than natural
gas can and have been used, today’s economics favor natural gas. Synthesis gas
refers to combination of carbon monoxide and hydrogen while a large amount of
synthesis gas us used to make methanol, most synthesis gas is used to make
ammonia. As a result, most methanol plants are adjacent o or are part of ammonia
plants. The gas fed into another reactor vessel under high temperatures and
pressures, where monoxide and hydrogen are came in the presence of a catalyst to
produce methanol. Finally, the reactor product is distilled to purify and
separate the methanol from the reactor effluent. (wwwadfc.nrel.gov.)

"(Washington, D.C., January 28) A study by the environmental engineering firm

Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. finds far fewer environmental threats from using methanol
in fuel cell vehicles, compared to gasoline\'s use for internal combustion
engines. In addition, a video presentation on methanol and the environment
produced by the Public Interest Video Network will be premiered at "The

Road to Fuel Cell Vehicles: A National Forum" being held on February 4th
and 5th at the Hotel Washington in Washington, D.C" (www.methanol.org)

Methanol will probably be transferred from import terminals or production
facilities by barge, rail, or truck to eventually reach retail outlets. While
the alcohol fuel is a liquid at ambient temperatures and atmospheric pressures,
the cannot be moved easily through the existing petroleum product market
network. "The world’s major automakers have all announced plans for the
market introduction of fuel cell vehicles by 2003/2004. These fuel cell vehicles
will require a source of hydrogen fuel. As a liquid fuel rich in hydrogen,
methanol is the leading candidate to power tomorrow’s fuel cell cars and
buses. A comprehensive needs assessment should be performed to determine how
best to provide methanol fuel to an emerging market for fuel cell vehicles."
(www. The American Methanol Foundation" From the information gathered it seems
that methanol is the number one candidate for future fuels for leading car
manufactures. It is also nice to know that the government has plans to figure In
addition, this assessment will attempt to forecast methanol fuel direction and
tools for consumer education efforts regarding the use of methanol in fuel cell
vehicles.