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April 14, 2007


peter hunt

The potential for dense energy storage at ambient temp and pressures is the keey to one class of alternate fuels. Hydrogen can be stored in hydrides at a greater densioty that cryogenic liquidfaction but the simulation of this with methane has not to date been possible.

If it can be done with these materials high density methane storage, a new world is opening up similar to the potential of the EEStor's untra capacitors for electric energy storage.

Good luck to both of them as we do need alternatives to petroleum.

Kit P.

Every day we are setting new records for importing LNG from unstable countries. Any new energy source that is really supplied by methane is a bad choice.


Has EEStor yet to demonstrate one capacitor meeting their (counter quantum mechanics) claims? I must have missed the news.


re: Beek
--Has EEStor yet to demonstrate one capacitor meeting their (counter quantum mechanics) claims? I must have missed the news.--

Well, the University of Arizona has.


It actually sounds quite simple when they explain it.

Basically a massive ammount of surface area, by segregating a parrallel plate capacitor with a nanomesh, and seperating each minicap with low voltage charges.
And the voltage is ramped up by placing the tiny capacitors in parrallel.

It's not breaking the laws of physics. It's just exploiting them on a nanoscale :)


It is a lot simpler, cheaper, safer, and more realistic to store H2 as methanol, than using these complex, pain-in-the-but methods.


I don't know if you noticed.

But hydrogen fuel cells aren't going to be happening.

Hydrogen just can't cut it.

Furthermore, Methanol is even worse from an energy effeciency perspective than compression. (Boron too, for that matter)

Not to mention, small quantities of Methanol in drinking water cause Blindness.

Whats worse, hydrogen (or methanol), gives more advantage to creating it from fossil fuels, than renewable sources.

Infact, most Methanol and most Hydrogen currently comes from Natural Gas reformation.
I'd hardly call Hydrogen a renewable technology if it's made from fossil fuels.


Anyways, electric is the future.

But hell, atleast this gas storage tech might be useful for storing carbon dioxide into a solid.


Greyflcn, H2 is indeed ludicrous as a fuel. But Methanol can be made efficiently from SynGas, or Natural Gas or several other methods, including a reverse fuel cell. Right now methanol, undiscounted North American price is $1.01 per gallon. And Natural Gas is available in North America, not needed from the Middle East.

For example large reserves in the Mackenzie Delta, a lot cheaper to convert it to methanol and ship the methanol in tankers, then to build an environmentally controversial $20 billion pipeline to transport some of it to southern markets. And it is both safe from disastrous explosion (i.e. LNG) and environmental damage if spilled (i.e. Petroleum), to transport by tanker.

The toxicity of methanol (actually not from methanol but the formic acid that it produced from it in the body after 10-24 hours post ingestion) is an issue, but it is routinely used in Northern countries as a gasline antifreeze, and sold in grocery stores in flimsy plastic bottles (they wouldn't let you buy gasoline like that). The addition of a few parts per billion of Bitrex and a simple colorant would make accidental ingestion a non-event, and there isn't a chance in hell that methanol poisoning deaths would even minutely approach deaths due to gasoline fires & carcinogenic fumes, never mind toxic automobile exhaust or prescription drug overdose deaths.

Also, note that I am a big fan of the EV. And the standard EV chassis can easily be made as a series PHEV, a BEV or a series hybrid EV for extended range. It is for those who need extended range on their EV, that a methanol fueled high compression, turbo-charged, port fuel injected, spark ignition engine/generator would be ideal. At 43% efficiency, unlike the useable ICE TDI diesel vehicle engine efficiency of about 32%


You can't use Methanol in a Diesel engine...


And if we absolutely had to use an alcohol biofuel.

Why would we use Methanol, when we could use Butanol?


But the larger question, if we have a good way to store energy as a gas, why would we need to turn it into a liquid?

Wouldn't it be vastly more effecient to use it as a syngas for electricity?

JP Elverding - the Netherlands

In Delfzijl, an industrial harbour area called Groningen Seaportt, green methanol is to be produced from syngas, sometimes next year. The sycgas is the product of gasification of muncipal (solid) waste.

As for bio-stuff: producing it may be simple, harvesting the mass to produce it poses a problem of scarcity that's bigger than oil. Over here rape seed now reaches 300 euro (>400 US$) per tonne, making biodiesel extremely expensive. Same happens with foodstock, that is now being replaced by energystock, which has a very much better yield. Potato prices are now going up as the starch producers suddenly have to fight "Shell and BP".


Greyflcn, the EPA tested a converted VW 90hp TDI diesel, with a 19.5:1 compression ratio, burning methanol & ethanol. The high octane of methanol allows it to be burned in a high compression engine.

The engine was actually simpler than the VW diesel, as only port fuel injection was used, and spark ignition with a much more effective simpler catalytic converter for the small amount of formaldehyde produced by methanol combustion.

The engine easily met the tough new tier II new low emission vehicle standards, unlike the diesel.

The peak efficiency of the engine was 43% vs 41% for the diesel, and peak hp was 112 hp vs 106 hp for the diesel. Most importantly the engine had a much bigger high efficiency island, than the diesel. Whereas the 90 hp diesel driving a typical Sedan @ 60 mph on flat highway would use about 13 hp at an engine efficiency of 32%, the methanol version of the engine would have a 40% efficiency at the same output, a 25% improvement in fuel economy. The numbers are even better for lower speeds.


The reason to produce green liquid fuels is for transportation applications that need a concentrated form of energy storage. Gaseous fuels are just plain terrible for that application, and it is a sick joke to waste funding on gaseous fuels for transportation applications. Also Methanol is a far superior way to transport Natural Gas across long distances or oceans than LNG or in expensive environmentally contentious pipelines (i.e. the proposed $20 billion Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline).

As for Butanol, I don't know much about it. Its energy density is double that of Methanol, comparable to diesel, but more expensive to produce and I don't know how it is for emissions, I suspect inferior to Methanol due to the higher molecular weight. Definitely, fermentation is a terrible way to produce a liquid fuel, if Butanol can be cost effective produced from Fischer Tropsch, then I'd be for it, especially for Aircraft where fuel weight is a serious concern. In an automobile, 1/2 the energy density, double the efficiency, same size fuel tank. Double or triple the efficiency again with a series hybrid, and fuel tank is now 1/2 to 1/3 the size of present typical ICE vehicle, and a damn sight safer to drive.


With big biogas projects on the horizon a cheap, simple, energy efficient (low pressure,room temperature)storage method for methane would be great.

The methane used in solid oxide fuel cell/turbines to back up renewables. The cO2 (from the fuel cells)fed to algae grown in solar collectors, that produce biodiesel and cellulose that will run in the fuel cells.

Methane powered fuel cell/microturbines for cars using this sort of storage media? Well maybe that too, with serial plugin hybrid drivetrain charged up from renewable energy.

But biodiesel runs in multi- fuel cell/microturbines too. And it is very safe and very easy to store and dispense. And of course the algae/solar collector scheme also entraps CO2.

The thing about importing LNG is that in many cases it would keep methane from being released as a GHG. A 23 times worse GHG than cO2. So if this storage invention could replace the energy wasting LNG process? Great!

Ship sized tanks of this material? Cost might be a big problem.


You can create damned near anything you want from Fischer Trophe.

For instance, you can make JetFuel out of it.

But thats the only reason to make a liquid fuel out of it.

For everything else, I would suggest battery storage for mobile applications.

For instance, next year the Zap-X will offer 350 mile range, with a 10 minute recharge.
All in a car which gets 650horsepower, and has 100% peak torque from 0-85mph.

We don't want to subsidize liquid fuels for cars. We want to move away from liquid fuels.

We'd be doing far better to subsidize ONLY green electricity generation, and promote the movements of cars to electric.

Since that kills 2 birds with 1 stone.
(Hell, maybe 3 birds, since removing demand on oil might lower the price)


New England is poised to see a major implementation of MANURE2ENERGYtm digestors over the next few years.

I just toured four large and one small dairy in Vermont and as these and about a dozen others come on line and get debugged, and as financing models get tweeked; you will see more and more farms put in relatively inexpensive digesters using either vertical or horizonatal fiberglass tanks.

Vermont has about 1,200 dairies and only about a dozen have or are planning a digester.

The problem is what to do with excess methane. Now it is flared; but with new storage and conversion technologies it could be 'bottled' or turned into a gas that can be blended with natural gas.

I am also planning a large wood-gassifier in Mid Coast Maine..again a biogas that has to be burnt on the site or coverted for transport.

Interesting commentary on Methanol, but little on its role in making bio-diesel also reaching mass use with new fleet conversions.

risa bear

Can this type of structure be used to enhance the performance of compressed air vehicles? If so, this does apply to electric vehicles -- of a kind.

risa b


But the compressed air car is stupid ;D

The energy density on it sucks.
And thats the key component of useful transportation energy.

Just like hydrogen, it's a bad energy carrier.


GreyFlcn wrote: the Zap-X [...] has 100% peak torque from 0-85mph.

Maybe not.

Brad Willams

yah, it is a good way to use energy as an fuel, Hydrogen is one of powerful and most commonly used gas.


lets give this a go


Nice post. This post is different from what I read on most blog. And it have so many valuable things to learn.
Thank you for your sharing

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