Monday, November 11, 2019

Producing Renewable Jet Fuels from Carbon Neutral Methanol

In a renewable energy economy, carbon neutral methanol (CH3OH) can be either directly utilized or converted into  more appropriate carbon neutral fuels for ground, air, sea, and even space transportation.

Using carbon neutral nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, wind, or OTEC technologies,  this simplest of alcohols can be easily derived from a variety of renewable resources:

1. The pyrolysis of urban garbage and sewage

2. The pyrolysis of agricultural bio-waste

3. The pyrolysis of dead trees and other potentially fire hazardous materials from forest

4. Hydrogen produced through water electrolysis and synthesized with CO2 waste from the pyrolysis of garbage and sewage

5. Hydrogen produced through water electrolysis and synthesized with CO2 directly extracted from the atmosphere

6. Hydrogen produced through water electrolysis and synthesized with CO2 extracted from carbonaceous materials within seawater

7. Hydrogen produced through water electrolysis and synthesized with CO2 extracted from flu gases from methanol electric power plants, syngas electric power plants, or wood burning power plants.    

Automobiles can be relatively cheaply converted to use methanol or methanol could be used in high efficiency methanol fuel cell/battery electric automobiles.  Methanol can also be blended with gasoline up to 15% without any vehicular modifications. And methanol can also be converted into gasoline and can be either mixed with petroleum derived gasoline or can totally replace gasoline derived from fossil fuels.

Methanol can be dehydrated into dimethyl ether as a substitute for diesel fuel. Diesel fuel vehicles would only require relatively inexpensive modifications to utilize dimethy either from methanol.

Methanol is already utilized as a marine fuel substitute for some sea vessels. And methanol is a favored clean  fuel substitute for marine vessels.

Future short  range commuter aircraft using   batteries could greatly extended their ranges by using methanol fuel cells.  

Methanol could be used to safely and conveniently store hydrogen for future liquid hydrogen fueled super sonic and hypersonic  aircraft and space rockets. When aircraft fueling is required, hydrogen could be extracted from methanol storage tanks through energy efficient heat reformation and then chilled into liquid hydrogen before being pumped into an aircraft or spacecraft. 
Process for converting methanol into jet fuel

More recently, David Bradin, has proposed producing jet fuel directly from methanol. Such a process would require some of the methanol to be converted into olefins primarily ethylene and propylene, with some amount of butylene and higher olefins using a methanol-to-olefins catalyst and then oligomerizing them under conditions that provide olefins that a in the jet fuel range.  The olefins can then optionally be  hydrotreated and/or isomerized. A second portion of methanol can be converted into dimethyl ether using a zeolite catalyst. The dimethyl ether is then reacted over a catalyst to form hydrocarbons and aromatics within the jet fuel range. All or part of the two separate product streams can be combined, to provide jet fuel components which include isoparaffins and aromatics in the jet fuel range. This process can be used to produce a variety of jet fuel compositions, such as JP8, Jet A, and JP1.  JP8 is jet fuel that is widely used by the US military for both sea craft and ground vehicles. Jet A are jet fuels that are widely used by commercial airlines in the US.

Links and References

Process for producing renewable jet fuel composition

Utilizing Renewable Methanol to Power Electric Commuter Aircraft

Methanol Economy

Methanol gasoline blends

‘Methanol economy’ gains ground with technology, market developments

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