Question: What About Natural Gas?

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Open Fuel Standard Act essentially says car-makers will no longer be able to make a car that can run only on gasoline. By 2017, ninety-five percent of all cars will be in that category, if this bill becomes law. But that category includes cars that can run on anything but gasoline only. A car that runs on natural gas fulfills the requirements of the bill.

Probably the most popular cars will be those that can take multiple fuels, and in any combination, such as methanol, ethanol, and gasoline. And methanol can be made from natural gas. Here's an excerpt from the article, Fueled Again:
A game-changing alcohol that could be used in flexible fuel vehicles is methanol, also known as wood alcohol. While ethanol can only be made from agricultural products like corn, sugar cane and, assuming technological success, from cellulosic biomass, methanol can be made from all of them, plus an array of other carbon-rich energy sources with which the United States is well endowed.

Today, about 90 percent of the worldwide methanol supply is produced from methane, the main component of natural gas. Technologies to produce methanol from coal are at hand, and a commercial-scale plant in the United States now produces it for about fifty cents per gallon (methanol has about half the energy of gasoline, so this equates to about one dollar per gasoline-equivalent gallon).

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