Monday, June 21, 2010

A Methanol Economy Way Out Of Here

Bush II literally got himself into a corner in China trying to leave the stage after a bloviating speech, then made a strange, silly face when he realized the microcosm that his situation lent itself to (others realized it even if he did not).

The silly look on the Bush II face actually represented the state of affairs civilization was in.

Those of his ilk over generations had unwittingly led deceived us into an embarrassing death bound ideology, economy, and "practical" addiction to fossil fuels like those sought desperately at the Deepwater Horizon ground zero in the Gulf of Mexico.

These children of MOMCOM peddled and sold their ecocide inducing chemicals as "cheap energy".

They have left us to (now, a generation or so later) try to find some way out of here.

In the post Some Way Out of Here on The Ecocosmology Blog, two technologies or parts thereof were mentioned, as tools to be used on the path back to sanity, away from the current realm of social dementia.

That post mentioned methanol, which was first isolated in 1661 by Robert Boyle, as well as mentioning a tidal electric generator long ago conceived, but recently improved upon.

There are many forms of alternative energy generation and storage, but these two have formidable transitional characteristics, so without disrespecting any other clean energy, we focus on these two in this post.

The hope of methanol is that it can be produced from some of the green house gases, (e.g. CO2 and methane), natural gas, and biomass, just to name a few.

Methanol can even be made from (can come from) "thin air", by using electricity to distil it as CO2 is removed from the air in the process.

Ocean tides are billions of years old, are still working strong 24/7 around the globe, and can generate electricity constantly, wherever tidal generators are placed, for as long as there are tides.

With tidal electrical generators (yes, electricity can be produced in other ways, e.g. wind, solar, solar thermal) the oceans will generate electricity around the clock, around the globe, which can then produce methanol from the atmosphere, as well as give power to homes and industries at the same time:
A revolutionary device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents could provide enough power for the entire world, scientists claim.
(Telegraph, 2008). Since tides are as sure as tomorrow's "sunrise" and tonight's "moonrise", we turn to the experts:
... you can take carbon dioxide and water, and if you have electric power, you can chemically reduce it into methanol.
(Technology Review, March 2006). A power point display is available, from one of the professors who wrote the book on The Methanol Economy, which touches upon many of the points to be considered, such as using existing forms of transportation, storage, and distribution.

Did I mention using methanol to make plastics is a reality, or that using weeds to make rubber is too?

There have been many backward movements caused by corruption of politics perverted by oil baron money:
... methanol was the required fuel for the Indy Racing League (IRL) from the 1960s until 2006 ...
(Methanol's Allure, 2007). Politicians were pressured by MOMCOM minions to have the indy cars use a fuel with immeasurably less potential (ethanol) for their ever devious propaganda purposes ("ethanol eats up too much corn").

The technology for renewable energy has been around and abundant since the flex fuel Model T built by Ford early in the industrial revolution.

The problem is that there is a lot of Stockholm Syndrome & greed resisting against the better life that can and should replace the death addiction to fossil fuel.

The next post in this series is here.


  1. The public has been so deceived they don't know the difference between ethanol (taxable) and methanol (not taxable currently).

    IRS sez ...

    Not that taxes is the only difference. ;)

  2. Once upon a time the Beatles wrote a song about the oil economy:

    He roller-coaster he got early warning
    He got muddy water he one mojo filter
    He say "One and one and one is three"
    Got to be good-looking
    'cause he's so hard to see
    Come together right now over me

    (Come Together Right Now Over Me).

  3. There is another critically important aspect of burning any fuel that is rarely considered. No new combustible fuels should be introduced to the market until the effects of their emissions are tested for safety.

    Scientific research indicates that ethanol exhaust, for example, is MORE toxic for human health than gasoline (nobody has bothered to check what ozone does to animals), causing MORE cancer, emphysema, and asthma...and is also MORE poisonous to trees and vegetation - causing crop damage, which happens to be at the bottom of the food chain.

    Despite unambiguous scientific evidence that it poses a dangerous, existential threat, our government mandated the addition of ethanol to gasoline anyway.

    I don't know anything about what lethal volatile organic compounds methanol might create. Does anyone?

  4. Gail,

    It is a courtesy to provide links to assertions, otherwise one gives the impression that their opinions trump everything else.

    That can become odious.

  5. Gail has a good blog called Wit's End with saavy info.

  6. Thanks, Dredd.

    Randy, I assumed most people who navigate the intertubes know to click on a name when it is highlighted, which usually goes to a link that in my case at least, provides exhaustive documentation from published peer-reviewed scientific research that supports my assertions.

    But to make it easy, here's the link to the list:

    Odiously yours,


  7. The articles, scientific treatises, and white papers linked to in this post fully address the concerns Gail alludes to.

    I would point to the statement in the post: "There are many forms of alternative energy generation and storage, but these two have formidable transitional characteristics, so without disrespecting any other clean energy, we focus on these two in this post."

    I have had run ins with people who have made a religion out of ecology and who have lost the concept of where we are; where we must begin.

    Where we must begin is in this reality: we have a debilitating addiction to fossil fuels.

    That addiction will without any doubt destroy civilization in and of itself; that is, whether nuclear war does or not.

    So, methanol (not ethanol) is used as one example of transition, because it is very well fitted to the reality of where we must begin.

    We must begin where we are: a world with fossil fuel vehicles, fossil fuel power generation, and a political paralysis that gives very little more than lip service to a solution that will avoid the demise of civilization.

    That notion is too much for the other religious people (typically protestant ethic) who think the earth is a toy we can do with as we please, i.e., "God made it for us to ruin".

    These opposing religious views must be reconciled, then we must move toward purity, not start with purity, because we have no purity to begin with.

    That horse (purity) already left the barn.