The Council's Methanol Policy Forum 2012 Draws High-Caliber Speakers, International Audience

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Last week, in collaboration with Methanol Institute, the USESC held the inaugural Methanol Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. with over 175 attendees from around the globe coming to speak with industry innovators, federal agency employees and Hill staffers. The full-day event featured four panels and a luncheon discussion.

Topics ranged from the markets created by sustained low natural gas prices in the U.S. to the development of renewable methanol pathways to current pilot programs around the globe.

The day opened with a video address by Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow, saying in part:

“Methanol has many attractive features as a transportation fuel,” Sandalow continued. “At today’s low natural gas and high oil prices, methanol could help reduce fuel costs consumers pay at the pump.” “At DOE, we’re planning additional research in this area. Among the topics: What’s the potential for short‐term displacement of petroleum with methanol worldwide, by blending methanol at low levels into liquid fuels or with other strategies? How can some of the challenges identified above best be overcome? We’re eager to work with you and others in exploring these topics.”

You can view his address here.

Former Governor of Shanxi Province in China  (the leading province in methanol deployment), Wang Maolin, offered insight into the success of methanol in his home province.

“The main technical obstacles on the way to replace gasoline and diesel with methanol have been basically overcome,” Wang said. He explained that last year in the Shanxi Province, methanol-based gasoline production reached more than 6 million tons, and that in the next few years hundreds of thousands of flex fuel vehicles will roll onto China's roads.

Wang, who flew to Washington especially for Methanol Policy Forum, is also the Honorary Chairman of the Chinese Association of Alcohol and Ether Clean Fuels and Automobiles.

The conference also featured a lunch panel with members of the U.S. Energy Security Council, focusing on the importance of opening the transportation fuel market to competition.

Robert McFarlane
“We must introduce competition at the pump,” said Robert McFarlane. “We will never have a better set of circumstances to get off a single fuel source than now. Environment, national security, and economics are all an influence on our foreign policy – and are all at a crescendo.”

Other USESC members, such as Jim Roche, Jim Woolsey, Bennett Johnston, Jeff Harris, Dennis McGinn and Boyden Gray echoed McFarlane in stressing the dire need to open the transportation fuel market to alternative energy solutions and competition in order to reduce American dependency on foreign oil.

More video and information from the conference will be coming available for download shortly, including speakers’ presentations and session video recordings.


Anonymous,  April 5, 2012 at 12:36 PM  

Aha! China is doing what we should be doing! Beat OPEC to independence!

Abe Shackleton April 5, 2012 at 1:54 PM  

China and Brazil both. And when the U.S. throws itself into alternative fuels, OPEC's reign will be over.

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