The paper discusses the use of methanol as a key enabler of the pragmatic, affordable and utter decarbonization of transportation. The ease with which it can be synthesized from carbonaceous feed stocks provides a contiguous route to a transportation system which can ultimately eliminate fossil-sourced CO 2. The recycling of water and CO2 to provide the hydrogen, carbon and oxygen feed stocks required has the potential to provide full energy security and to ensure the continued affordability of personal transportation. Simultaneously, the use of this methanol in methanol-to-gasoline, -diesel and kerosene processes to synthesize drop-in fuels that can fully decarbonize all forms of transport without the need for the vehicles to change significantly is shown. It is pointed out that this is the only practical means to fully decarbonize aviation. The paper is divided into several parts. Firstly a background to the desirability of methanol as a liquid transport fuel is provided, followed by a discussion of the process employed in a self-contained demonstration plant which uses air-captured CO2 (and hydrogen obtained from water electrolysis) to produce methanol and gasoline as carbon-neutral electrofuels. How methanol can gradually be introduced into current-technology and widely-affordable flex-fuel vehicles is then discussed. Some results from engines operating on pure methanol are presented, which illustrate that such engines can have higher thermal efficiencies than diesel engines. How the taxation system can be used to assist attainment of the decarbonization of transport, while still maintaining overall taxation revenue, is then discussed. Finally, a roadmap to the eventual decarbonization of all transport sectors via higher blend rates of methanol in gasoline is then outlined, eventually bringing pure methanol to forecourts for use in engines and fuel cells. © The author(s) and/or their employer(s), 2012.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Institution of Mechanical Engineers - Sustainable Vehicle Technologies: Driving the Green Agenda|
|Publisher||Woodhead Publishing Limited|
|Number of pages||18|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2012|