Legislation could aid renewable-fuel suppliers

04 November 2008 15:43  [Source: ICIS news]

DUBAI (ICIS news)--Legislation requiring gasoline-powered vehicles to be flexible in using methanol and ethanol will give a significant market incentive to renewable fuel suppliers, a senior engineer from Lotus Engineering said on Tuesday.

As methanol, ethanol and gasoline are all miscible, the blending of the alcohols with gasoline is simple, said James Turner, a chief engineer with the UK-based automotive group, in an address to the Methanol Forum.

Alcohols, he added, provide high on-board energy density in comparison with gaseous fuels.

Turner said that new spark ignition vehicles could all be made “flex-fuel” compatible at minimal cost, as engine modifications of up to 10% by volume are not necessary and modifications for higher concentrations are minimal.

Alcohols can be synthesised from biomass, gaseous hydrocarbons and from hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

“In biofuel form, they offer significant well-to-wheel CO2 benefits,” said Turner.

While presently there is insufficient land to satisfy both food and energy requirements, second-generation biofuels could improve this situation, he said.

Turner also noted that researchers at the University of Southern California have proposed that methanol be used as a basis for the future global energy economy, because it is a liquid energy carrier which will not impact food production.

Methanol can be synthesised from coal, fossil gas or biogas resources.

The 2008 Methanol Forum is co-sponsored by Houston-based consultants Jim Jordan & Associates and the Washington, DC-based Methanol Institute (MI).

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels
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By: Peter Taffe
+44 20 8652 3214

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