Jay Foster

Account Manager, Net Impact

This conversation is closed.

The methanol economy: 99.9% renewable energy. Is it too revolutionary and where is the market?

There are several start-ups who are investing resources in methanol production as an alternative fuel source. One in particular, Arizona Synthetic Fuels, has developed a patented process to produce methanol from recycled carbon emissions and hydrogen creating a sustainable fuel source which is carbon neutral and has the potential to reduce our dependence on diminishing resources. .

The trouble is finding partner institutions in carbon capture as well as private or public enterprise interested in commercialization.

As someone assisting in this project in their spare time, and with limited sources and expertise, I am interested in finding avenues towards further discussion and commercialization with parties with vested interest. The problem is where to start?


Closing Statement from Jay Foster


This video provides a brief overview of how methanol can be produced using no fossil fuels and minimizing carbon emissions. This video was filmed for a discovery channel program at Northern Arizona University.

There are definitely companies out there that are proving that these technologies are not only viable but much less capital intensive than say the large upfront investment costs to produce solar energy. Moving forward we are looking to run pilot programs in the USA and Australia at various sites to demonstrate the commercial capability of producing methanol from recycled carbon.

  • Dec 7 2011: There is another company that has already commercialized this technology, they are called Carbon Recycling International. Check out their info in Iceland. The trick in all of this is finding a affordable, less energy intensive way to produce the hydrogen that the facilities need. At CRI they have been using geothermal energy to create hydrogen. But really, this is the way to capture and utilize any renewable energy source, especially stranded solar and wind, and turn it into liquid electricity. Methanol can be used for turbines, auto and bus fuel, or biodiesel processes, so has an inherent value. Hydrogen is energy intensive, but with renewable energy sources it is manageable and doesn't create an ugly carbon profile for the fuel.
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    Dec 7 2011: Hi Matt,

    Great information. I have had a look through CRI's website and it is a great demonstration of the viability of renewable methanol. I do strongly believe there is a giant gap in the market and CRI are one company who identified it long ago. It is very energy intensive but worth the output as renewable methanol can be produced at low cost, undercutting current market prices, with the added benefit of being carbon neutral.
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    Dec 1 2011: Hi Frans,

    There are several sources of hydrogen which are produced as a by-product, such as in chlorine and other mineral production. Another alternative is to source excess electricity supplies which would require an electrolyzer but still keep costs of hydrogen relatively low.

    To date, we have been producing the hydrogen at each scale-up step while sourcing avenues to access excess hydrogen at low costs.

    Thanks for the question.
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    Dec 1 2011: Where do the Hydrogen come from?