“Methanol Economy ” concept by the Nobel Prize winner George A. Ola in 2006 in his book “Crossing the oil and gas era methanol
economy ,” a book first proposed and discussed in detail . Its important background and theoretical basis is: With the reduction of
oil and gas resources, particularly the arrival of peak oil , the world will face a serious energy crisis. In response to the
energy crisis, although countries have invested a lot of financial and material resources development of biofuels , nuclear , wind,
solar , hydro, tidal energy , hydrogen and other alternative energy sources , but because of the overall small-scale, short-term
can not become mainstream energy to completely replace oil and other fossil fuels . The multi- comparison and demonstration,
methanol its excellent chemical and physical properties of a wide range of uses, eventually was recognized as ” the best
alternative to oil ,” and follow the “oil economy” concept dished out the ” methanol economy” theory .
Objectively speaking, as the global methanol production capacity , production , consumption grew rapidly , particularly in the
successful development of methanol to olefins , aromatics methanol , methanol, gasoline and other technology and to achieve
industrial application , significantly broadens the methanol new application areas . Since methanol is theoretically can replace
oil as vehicle fuel , but also the production of olefins and aromatics replace petroleum products , but also as chemical raw
materials production of other chemicals acetic acid, formaldehyde, methanol protein. Coupled with the addition of methanol
feedstock oil, gas, coal and other traditional fossil energy sources , including China , Japan, Britain , the United States and
other countries have also developed H2 + CO2 to produce methanol laboratory techniques , once the technology through the test card
and get industrialized application , not only can provide a lot of clean energy for mankind , will also address the growing problem
of carbon dioxide emissions and promote sustainable development of green methanol industry . Based on the above considerations, ”
methanol economy ” is not only sought after by many scholars , has also been a concern in some countries the government. In the
past two years, more than the International Energy Forum , and even some experts assert : methanol economy era has arrived.
But I thought: expert opinion too optimistic , methanol economic times we are actually still relatively far away .
First, the global small- scale methanol . 2013 , global methanol production capacity of approximately 104 million tons , production
and consumption is only about 75 million tons , even as all the energy (mainly fuels ) , but compared with coal, oil or natural gas
, is still negligible. In this case , the time has come to assert methanol economy is clearly exaggerated.
Secondly , not yet built fast and efficient global methanol storage network. Coal economic era of human experience , petroleum
economy, and the current economic times and gas oil have the following characteristics : First, this kind of total energy demand in
energy accounted for at least 20% , the second is the formation of a large and fixed consumer groups , Third, the establishment of
a fast and efficient storage system perfect . But even methanol production capacity and consumption up to , storage levels leading
international Chinese , is also complete and efficient uncompleted methanol storage and transportation network , which will
undoubtedly come severe retardation increased consumption of methanol and methanol economy era .
Once again, the energy conversion efficiency of methanol product life cycle , energy , environment and emissions, will restrict the
expansion of its scale and may become a constraint coming methanol flawed economic times . ” Methanol economy” is the reason why
the industry and the relevant government departments to accept , mainly because of the huge coal reserves can be used as raw
material to produce methanol and then with methanol instead of oil or gas , dwindling oil and gas resources to solve the energy
crisis brought about .
But relatively abundant coal reserves , but also a one-time fossil energy available for human use life of a mere 200 set . Moreover
, with coal as raw materials to produce methanol , to produce 1 ton of methanol , it takes more than 2.3 tons of coal ( coal + fuel
feedstock coal ), 12 cubic meters of water, while emissions of 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide. If the resulting methanol is used as
fuel , full life -cycle carbon dioxide emissions will be up 3.9 tons / ton , energy efficiency less than 14 %, much lower than coal
power generation, energy efficiency gasoline or natural gas vehicles. In other words, the overall efficiency of methanol fuel is
not significant .
As for H2 + CO2 to produce methanol technology touted the industry is still in the laboratory stage of development ,
industrialization did not verify . Even in the future to get the industrial application of verification , due to the increase in
the cost of carbon capture and hydrogen purification costs , the cost will be very high. And there is a source of hydrogen for
hydrogen production process consumes a lot of difficulties or coal , gas, water , electricity and other problems , can reasonably
obtain hydrogen economy is the key to H2 + CO2 to produce methanol for the industrial applications. Calmly speaking, if you really
can easily access to clean energy hydrogen cheaply , why not direct human use hydrogen , and hydrogen to produce methanol and then
superfluous to it ?
Finally, the methanol economy will face the shale gas revolution, oil added to increase recoverable reserves and combustible ice -
scale development of the enormous challenges brought about .
On the one hand , the development of U.S. shale gas commercialization successful role model, to stimulate the global shale gas
resources with rich countries and regions , and increased shale gas exploration and development efforts , and has made gratifying
achievements. The next 5 to 10 years , the global shale gas production is expected to achieve a growth spurt , natural gas will
significantly ease the tight supply situation . According to the U.S. Department of Energy to assess the global shale gas reserves
is 2 times the amount of conventional natural gas resources , development prospects.
On the other hand , with the upgrading of petroleum exploration and development of technology, peak oil theory is being questioned
and practical challenges , the global oil resources is far from peak oil theorists envisioned pessimistic. International authority
latest research shows : Global oil for human use at least 80 years , an increase of nearly 1 times higher than the previous
forecast of years .
Also, in Japan , China , the U.S., India have mastered the combustible ice deep drilling sampling techniques , Japan has achieved a
one- week continuous extraction . The latest assessment shows that : the world’s reserves of combustible ice , two times more than
the current sum of fossil energy reserves , more than 1000 available for human use . If the key technology breakthroughs , safety
and environmental issues are controlled and resolved , combustible ice to commercial scale development, energy shortages will be
By then , the whole life cycle of energy consumption, water consumption, high carbon emissions , low energy utilization and
conversion efficiency of methanol, its cost advantage will no longer exist , applications will also be drastically reduced (
methanol to olefins , aromatics may be natural gas replace condensate steam cracker , methanol fuel may be replaced by more
environmentally friendly and inexpensive clean combustible ice ) .
It seems that seemingly blowing methanol economic times , in fact, far away from us . And we may even be missed , Mr. Ola exist
only in the ” era of oil and gas across the methanol economy” speeches and some experts and scholars in .(http://www.lubonchem.com supply)