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METHANOL PRODUCTION FROM BIOMASS AND NATURAL GAS AS TRANSPORTATION FUEL
Borgwardt*, R H. METHANOL PRODUCTION FROM BIOMASS AND NATURAL GAS AS TRANSPORTATION FUEL. INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH 37(9):3760-3767, (1998).
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Two processes are examined for production of methanol. They are assessed against the essential requirements of a future alternative fuel for road transport: that it (i) is producible in amounts comparable to the 19 EJ of motor fuel annually consumed in the U.S., (ii) minimizes emissions of criteria pollutants, (iii) reduces greenhouse gas emissions from production and use, (iv) is cost-competitive with petroleum fuel, and (v) is compatible with the emerging vehicle technologies, especially those powered by fuel cells. The methanol yield, production cost, and potential for reduction of overall fuel-cycle CO2 emissions were evaluated and compared to those of reformulated gasoline. The results show that a process utilizing natural gas and biomass as cofeedstocks can meet the five requirements and is more effective than individual processes utilizing those feedstocks separately. When end-use efficiencies are accounted for, the cost per vehicle mile traveled would be less than that of gasoline used in current vehicles. CO2 emissions from the vehicle fleet would be reduced 66% by methanol used in fuel cell vehicles and 8 to 36% in flexible-fuel or dedicated-methanol vehicles during the transition period. Methanol produced from natural gas and biomass, together in one process, and used in fuel cell vehicles would leverage petroleum displacement by a factor of about 5 and achieve twice the overall CO2 emission reduction obtainable from the use of biomass alone.
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Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY
AIR POLLUTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL DIVISION
ATMOSPHERIC PROTECTION BRANCH