Talk:Methanol economy

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Comparison to Ethanol[edit]

With Ethanol getting more and more news coverage, I think this article should have a section discussing the similarities and differences between using Ethanol vs using Methanol as a fuel. --Flatline 21:02, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

A highly irresponsible, non-evidentiary statement is made with regards to methanol's toxicity: "methanol is toxic (this risk has been hugely overstated; methanol poisoning invariably results from drinking illegal liquor; methanol volatilizes and biodegrades rapidly in the environment.)" Stating that methanol is toxic is like stating that strychnine is toxic: the hazard is there, intrinsic to the substance, though the dose may not be enough to induce any health effects (so you don't die from the volatilized strychnine sitting on a shelf across the room). Exposure studies and the developmental health literature has recently been synthesized by a panel of the National Toxicology Program, a part of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15995730&query_hl=8&itool=pubmed_docsum. --Faithandreason

I don't understand the reasoning for de-emphasizing the specific toxic endpoints associated with methanol exposure in the current (20 May 2006) version of the story, relative to the prior version. While a fuller discussion of the toxicity of methanol is available on the methanol entry, since the current article discusses "advantages and disadvantages" to an MeOH economy, an assessment of the relative benefits and costs of MeOH should be fully discussed. MeOH has known neurological (optic nerve) and developmental (e.g. neural tube closure) associations at relatively high doses, which may be experienced under accidental exposure conditions. It's worth doing a formal risk assessment of MeOH as a fuel, and compare those risks to the benefits. Only then can the relative costs and benefits be fully elucidated, under some uncertainty. The current text appears to imply that there is some controversy over MeOH toxicity. --Faithandreason

Not all disadvantages Theoretical[edit]

A high percentages of disadvantages listed are not in fact theoretical, but known. This to me means there needs to be two sections on disadvantages: known and theoretical.

For example, methanol's effect on aluminum is known. The hydrophilic nature of methanol is also known, not theorized. In fact, looking at the list, the vast majority of these are known disadvantages. The energy density is a theoretical disadvantage because for it to be a disadvantage the net energy extracted would have to be lower. The liquid vs. gas aspect is also theoretical as in some cases liquids are easier to manage than gases. The effect on plastics regarding permeability is also theoretical as it relies on the use of those materials. And the final theoretical disadvantage is the underground leakage aspect. All else are confirmed problems/disadvantages and should be listed as such. To do otherwise gives the false impression that there are no known problems/disadvantages, only theorized ones. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ucntcme (talkcontribs) 00:15, 8 January 2007 (UTC).


It's well known that methanol contain insoluble contaminants such as halide ions which has a great effect on corrosivity, while insoluble contaminants may cause clogging. Acidic combustion products may also cause corrosive wear on certain engine components, this is also well known. These problems are however similar with ethanol and can generally be solved by carefully selecting the right construction materials, setting up standards for fuel quality and selecting te right oil and fuel additives. Aluminium, as an example can be protected from methanols corrosive effects by anodizing. Methanols hydrophilic nature is mainly a problem when using methanol-gasoline blends. When using pure methanol, some water content is't an issue. Permeability is also a problem for gasoline-methanol blends, specifically when using low methanol blends. With high methanol blends this isn't an issue. All this is also not theories, but rather well documented facts. That liquids can be easier to handle, and especially transport is also well known and not only a theory. JEdlund —The preceding signed but undated comment was added at 19:19, August 21, 2007 (UTC).

Merge into methanol (fuel)?[edit]

I vote "no", since the whole point of a methanol economy is not just to use it as a fuel, but to make it in "green" ways, first. Thus, methanol can substitute for hydrogen in all of hydrogen's suggested uses (save for a few odd aerospace uses). The methanol (fuel) article only cares about use of methanol as a fuel, and doesn't really care how it's produced. One could argue for merging the methanol fuel article into methanol economy (since it's really a subsection of that), but this would not be fair, either, as much of the interest in methanol as a fuel doesn't really address methanol source, and doesn't need to. So, it's better to leave the two articles separate, as they are. To use another fuel as an example, hydrogen as a fuel is now used in the space shuttle, but nobody cares if it comes from fossil fuels (which it does) because it is used in the space shuttle for it's extreme energy/weight ratio. None of this has any relevance to hydrogen fuels in a hydrogen economy, where hydrogen is used not because of its weight/energy ratio, but because it causes less pollution at the end use point. So two separate articles are needed, because the uses of hydrogen as a fuel have completely different objects, and there are very many difficulties and arguments in each, which have nothing to do with the other, for that reason. Same with methanol. SBHarris 08:06, 11 June 2007 (UTC)


Extraction from atmosphere[edit]

I have changed this part of the article for the following reasons. In the book on "The Methanol Economy" by George Olah etc. on page 243 Olah mentions selective membranes only with relation to extraction from exhaust gases from fossil fuel plants. He then mentions alkali absorbents such as KOH as feasible ways of extracting from the atmosphere. He also mentions that KOH is especially suitable for electrolytic recovery of carbon dioxide. I do not include this fact in the article, in order to avoid excessive detail Zfishwiki 19:53, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Methanol production merge into methanol[edit]

This article should be about methanol economy and not about methanol production —Preceding unsigned comment added by V8rik (talkcontribs) 17:05, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Methanol production is a very important part of the methanol economy. Before using methanol as a fuel, energy storage media or raw material in an economy based on methanol it is important to know where we are going to get the methanol from in the present and more importantly in the future. The article on methanol discusses only the present ways to produce methanol from fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) going through syn-gas. This way of producing methanol is only discussed shortly in the methanol economy article to avoid redundancy. It seems to me that other alternative methanol production methods not used nowadays have more relevance in the article on methanol economy as they are a central point of the methanol economy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Goepy (talkcontribs) 18:10, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Hydrogen vs Methanol for range extenders in plug-in hybrid cars[edit]

I developt my ideas aboout the Methanol economy independent. It started as I visited the international automobile show in Frankfurt 2007. There had been at the GM booth Opel Flextreme and Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid cars.

3 cars, 3 different range extenders with gasoline, diesel and hydrogen.

As I started to calculate profitability of the different range extenders in different scenarios, there was never a profitability of the hydrogen fuel cell system.

How to transport hydrogen more economic? Let's take a carbon atom to carry 4 hydrogen atoms. But Methan needs still a high pressure tank. Let's take one Oxygen atom, and it's Methanol easy to carry in a simple tank.

From where to take the carbon atom?

As soon as photovoltaic is available cheap and in huge quantity, energy is no problem, the only problem is easy to carry energy for mobile usage. So let's take biomass as carbon source only, energy for all the chemical process. 1kg dry wood can in such a way deliver 1,65 litre Methanol.

I made Ocober 2007 an interview with a developer in a reputated resarch institute: Methanol engine with generator can reach over 40% electric efficiency.

My calculation for a medium sized plug-in hybrid car over 300.000 km hydrogen vs Methaol:

The Methanol car needs 2800 kg more wood, but has a simple engine and a simple tank. The energy to produce Methanol from water and wood is about the same as for making hydrogen, liquification, compression into the tank. But 2800 kg more wood are a bargain compared to the fuel cells, the high pressure tanks and all the hydrogen infra structure.

--Pege.founder (talk) 19:11, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas contributor to climate change: is it a subject of debate?[edit]

After EarlKillian (talk · contribs) made this change to the article, correcting a somewhat misleading statement about CO2 emissions caused by methanol production, Uruiamme (talk · contribs) reverted the change. I have changed it back and added sources to back up the fact that carbon dioxide is a known greenhouse gas. It seems to me that keeping a neutral point of view requires that we not claim there is a scientific debate where there is none. Could anyone disagreeing with this change please explain their reasoning here? Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 03:59, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

I think it is great you know how to pop in all of those nice links to the articles and all, but did you really look at the diff?
"However, the CO2 effect on the climate, if any, is the [sic] subject of debate." is the quote that I considered to have more consensus for a brief snippet of discussion on CO2's effect on the climate. I guess you now want a reference that there is a debate on whether CO2 emissions has had an affect on climate? Note well, the debate is not whether an arbitrary amount of CO2 can effect the climate of the earth. (Venus, duh, everyone knows all about Venus.) The debate is whether CO2 emissions from human sources have had an effect on the climate. Where have you been?
Now, you somehow confused the statement in question, quoted above, by somehow saying this: "I have changed it back and added sources to back up the fact that carbon dioxide is a known greenhouse gas." Well, what on earth does that have to do with the reversion, the debate, or anything? (Greenhouse gas) ≠ (climate change) CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but that was not the crux of the reversion... The insinuation that (Greenhouse gas emissions) = (climate change) is a fallacy in logic, and the debate between whether CO2 from human emissions is causing climate change is a very hot debate. So the reversion will continue. There is a legitimate debate. There are people who debate:
  1. Whether climate change has occurred in the last 200 years
  2. Whether climate changes in the last 200 years are caused by emissions of greenhouse gases, the sun, or some other source
  3. Whether the increased amount of CO2 in the environment is good or bad or indifferent
I believe it is arrogant of Mr. Killian to assume that he can remove a portion of the Wikipedia that indicates that there is a debate, even if the debate is settled in his mind. It may be settled in a lot of people's minds, but the debate is no less real. If there were a statement about there being a consensus, then I believe there is a consensus (although that might touch off a debate). But to negate the debate or to conceal the debate is not in the best interest of the Wikipedia.
Why, what do you know, I found a scientist or 2 who seems to indicate that there is a debate. Try some of these links... American Physical Society Dr. Spencer, Dr. Ball, Global warming controversy (a locked article, hmm... sounds like a debate may be brewing), Mr. Taylor, Dr. Spencer again, Czech President Klaus wants to debate, Blacklisted URL: "wiki.idebate.org/index.php/Debate:Global_warming,_human-caused%3F" (Wiki Debate on global warming). That last link is supposed to be pretty comprehensive, but that is debatable.
I like to saw logs! (talk) 06:13, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
I made that edit because that part of the article seemed to imply that carbon dioxide isn't a greenhouse gas, or that CO2's status as a greenhouse gas is a matter of debate. Whether human CO2 emissions are a major cause of climate change is a different matter entirely. While there are some scientists who disagree with the mainstream scientific consensus on the matter, it is misleading to portray this in the article as a lack of scientific consensus. It's not a matter of negating or concealing debate, but of accurately portraying what debate there is, and not misrepresenting it. According to this publication of the Royal Society,

The work of the IPCC is backed by the worldwide scientific community. A joint statement of support was issued in May 2001 by the science academies of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK. It stated: “We recognize the IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving consensus.”

The same document addresses the issue of the relatively few scientists who do not think that climate change is a problem.
For this article, I think we should phrase it in a way similar to the lead section of global warming (a featured article). Since this has already been discussed extensively there, we should go with the consensus established at Talk:Global warming/FAQ in order to remain consistent between articles. Therefore, I propose the following wording for this article:

The use of methane or another fossil fuel for the production of methanol using all the above mentioned synthetic routes has a potential drawback: the emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).[1][2] According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, human-caused CO2 emissions contribute to global warming. While the vast majority of scientists working on climate change agree with this conclusion, its validity and the degree to which CO2 affects the climate has been disputed by some scientists and is a source of heated political debate.[3][4]

This adds back the references I added earlier, since this section of the article is rather lacking in references, and adds two more taken directly from the global warming article, where they are used for a very similar statement. This version also makes it clearer that the majority of the debate is among politicians, not scientists, while still mentioning the scientific dissent. Any objections to this wording? Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 16:58, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that looks a lot better. While there is no need for any details or citations in Methanol economy, we need to ensure that we do not presuppose anything. The Wikipedia, as you linked to, is full of articles discussing the debate. I have never seen a WP article with a FAQ, so thanks for the link. YOu are now providing evidence that I was scrounging up. To continue the theme of debate on this talk page, I would offer this piece of evidence that demonstrates that the IPCC's position and models and consensus is not without debate in the climatology community. See Doubts about global climate models used by the IPCC. And so the wording you proposed sounds reasonable. I liked the adjectives "hot" and "heated," but not to invent something and make my invention sound mean, ugly - or to promote some absurd non sequitur that I am trying to amplify, but because it seems to me that both sides are quite, um, affected by the debate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Uruiamme (talkcontribs) 23:54, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
There's always a need for citations. Anyway, I'm glad we agree on this wording, and I'll add it into the article now. While I still disagree with you on the warming effect of human-emitted CO2, I don't see the need to continue debating on this article's talk page now that we've resolved the content issue; I guess we can just agree to disagree. Pyrospirit (talk · contribs) 00:50, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Kiehl, J. T. (1997). "Earth's Annual Global Mean Energy Budget" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 78 (2): 197–208. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1997)078<0197:EAGMEB>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 2006-05-01. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ Forster, P. (2007). "Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing" (PDF). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. pp. pp. 137-140. Retrieved 2008-08-29. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  3. ^ "A guide to facts and fictions about climate change". Royal Society. March 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-18. However, the overwhelming majority of scientists who work on climate change agree on the main points
  4. ^ "Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change". Science Magazine. December 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-04.