Friday, April 17, 2009

Peak Oil is for Idiots (Global Warming Too)

Methanol is an interesting fuel -- more energy-dense than the densest form of hydrogen, usable in combustion engines, in direct methanol fuel cells, and in "indirect" methanol fuel cells that use steam reforming to produce protons. Methanol can also be used in the production of biodiesel from vegetable oils. Methanol may even become the basis for a methanol economy, as a primary mobile energy source for transportation (instead of petroleum, ethanol, or hydrogen).

So isn't it fascinating that scientists in Singapore have discovered a relatively easy and efficient way of making methanol from CO2?
In the international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, the IBN researchers report that by using organocatalysts, they activated carbon dioxide in a mild and non-toxic process to produce methanol, a widely used industrial feedstock and clean-burning biofuel...

....The scientists made carbon dioxide react by using N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs), a novel organocatalyst. In contrast to heavy metal catalysts that contain toxic and unstable components, NHCs are stable, even in the presence of oxygen. Hence, the reaction with NHCs and carbon dioxide can take place under mild conditions in dry air.

The IBN scientists showed that only a small amount of NHC is required to induce carbon dioxide activity in a reaction...Hydrosilane, a combination of silica and hydrogen, is added to the NHC-activated carbon dioxide, and the product of this reaction is transformed into methanol by adding water through hydrolysis. _SciLive
You might even call it a CO2 economy, since the methanol will come from CO2. And how idiotic is it to worry about CO2 when it is becoming the very basis of your energy infrastructure? Don't forget that oil-producing algae thrive on very high levels of CO2. And how pathetic is it to worry about "peak oil" when no one will be using oil anyway? When everyone is using bioenergy, enhanced geothermal, space solar, and advanced nuclear energy instead of petrol?

Well, sure, you can make methanol from biomass quite easily as well, via either fermentation or thermochemical methods. Methane, methanol, ethanol, butanol, etc etc etc There is no reason ever to run out. In fact, as the technology improves, supplies will keep growing as long as there is demand.

Peak oil and global warming: two obsessions fit for assholes. The K-Y jelly will cost extra.

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