Posts tagged ‘Methanol’

December 6, 2011

Methanol Wins – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online

Methanol Wins – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online.

On August 2, I published an open wager on National Review Online. I offered to bet up to ten people $10,000 each that I could take my 2007 Chevy Cobalt, which is not a flex-fuel car, and, running it on 100 percent methanol, get at least 24 miles per gallon on the highway. Since methanol averages less than half the price of gasoline — and can readily be made from coal, natural gas, or any kind of biomass without exception — this would demonstrate superior transportation economy from a non-petroleum fuel that is producible from plentiful American resources.

Unfortunately, no one took the bet. That fact alone says a lot. Of the 7 billion people on this planet, there are about a million or so who know a great deal about cars. Clearly, not one of them was sufficiently doubtful that it could be done to put his money on the line. Although it left me short a nice chunk of easy cash, the refusal of anyone to accept my challenge should have settled the matter. But some people, while refusing to take the bet, still demanded that I conduct the test anyway. I did, and here are the results.

September 30, 2011

Open Fuels Standard Act aims for 50% flex-fuel cars in US by 2015 : Biofuels Digest

Open Fuels Standard Act aims for 50% flex-fuel cars in US by 2015 : Biofuels Digest.

In Washington, Sen. Maria Cantwell joined Sen. Dick Lugar in introducing a bill to break oil’s monopoly over the U.S. transportation fuel industry by ensuring that most new vehicles in the United States are capable of running on a range of domestically produced alternative fuels starting in 2015.

The Open Fuels Standard Act requires that starting in 2015, 50% of new vehicles manufactured or sold in the United States be flex fuel capable – meaning able to run on non-petroleum fuels such as domestically-produced ethanol or methanol or other alcohols in addition to, or instead of, petroleum-based fuels.

September 15, 2011

Achieving $2 Gas – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online

Either we break the cartel, or the cartel breaks us. The Open Fuel Standard bill needs to be passed.

via Achieving $2 Gas – Robert Zubrin – National Review Online.

Republican presidential contender Michele Bachman has said that if she is elected, gas prices will fall to $2 per gallon. Such promises have understandably been greeted with considerable skepticism. But $2 gas is exactly what America needs. The question is, how can we get it?

We can’t do it just by expanded domestic drilling. In order for gasoline prices to fall to $2 per gallon, oil prices must be cut to $50 per barrel. And oil prices are set globally, with the dominating influence being the OPEC oil cartel. Since 1973, this cartel, which controls 80 percent of the earth’s commercially viable oil reserves, has refused to expand production, thus keeping petroleum prices artificially high. While, with a more pro-business government, the United States might conceivably be able to expand its production by a million or two barrels per day, OPEC could easily counter by cutting its production to match, or more likely, by simply continuing its non-expansion policy and letting increased Chinese demand take care of the slack.

September 8, 2011

Moving Beyond OPEC: Energizing the Economy with a Viable Energy Policy – Kellie Dunlap

During Spring, oil prices reached over $100 dollars per barrel­ ­̶  the highest price since 2008.  This summer, oil prices fell due to the global economic recession.  In direct correlation to the volatile oil market that followed the Spring price hikes, the U.S. domestic economy has floundered. With minimal job growth, rises in food prices and debilitating effects on the housing market, it becomes apparent just how much high oil prices  impact the U.S. economy.

Clemson University Professor David Bodde says, “What we are seeing in terms of the price [of oil] is more of a financial demand phenomenon more than a supply and demand phenomenon.”  Bodde further explains that in order for the economy to recover, oil prices need to be consistent. However, there is little the U.S.  government can do to influence the global price of oil since it is a fungible commodity and the U.S. only produces about 8% of the world’s total supply.

OPEC , the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, sets the global price of oil since they are the largest petroleum producers; theoretically basing the price of oil on supply and demand.  However, history suggests that supply and demand is not the determining factor of oil prices. Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) argues that, among other factors, the recent inter-organizational politics of OPEC may further exacerbate the unpredictability of oil prices in the near future.

In late July, Islamic Revolutionary Guards veteran Rostam Ghasemi was appointed the new petroleum minister of Iran.  Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad explained that the nomination of Ghasemi will promote Iran’s objective to align the complex oil industry with its national interests. Iran currently holds OPEC’s  rotating presidential seat.  Therefore, Ghasemi will act as the de-facto president of OPEC in the coming months.

Ghasemi, a former Chief Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, will be sure to uphold Iranian national interests, which poses a threat to Saudi Arabia’s longstanding control of OPEC decision-making.  Luft contends that, while there is the obvious historical Sunni-Shia rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the ideological dispute over regional hegemonic power, there is another contentious issue at hand; instead of the member states of OPEC falling in line with Saudi Arabia’s decisions as they have in the past, they are now attempting to raise the price of oil to cover their own economic needs. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are largely dependent on oil revenues.  However, Iran would rather see the price of oil per barrel around $140 in order to balance its budget. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, can maintain its budget with oil prices about $90 per barrel.

In June, OPEC members, for the first time in two decades, were unable to agree to an increase in output levels or establish the price of oil per barrel.  The widespread civil unrest in many Middle Eastern countries has weakened their economies, causing OPEC members to make decisions individually rather than as an organization.  These disparities, coupled with Iran and Venezuela’s insistence on higher oil prices, have divided OPEC’s members and reduced Saudi Arabia’s influence. With Rostem Ghasemi holding the reins of OPEC, the international community will likely see inflated oil prices for the remainder of the year.

2011 has illustrated that dependence on foreign oil makes the U.S. economy vulnerable- America can no longer afford to be at the whim of OPEC .  With Middle Eastern civil turmoil, revolutions, and power politics, America needs to end its dependence on foreign oil.  The government should be focusing on utilizing all available resources in order to become energy independent.  On shore and offshore drilling should be permitted; natural gas expansion should be encouraged; clean coal production for the purpose of creating fuel via methanol should also be pursued, as well as the continuing production of biomass fuel.  By acknowledging that capricious oil prices are the source of our economic problems, we can work to solve the problem by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, which will create long-term employment and help to balance the trade deficit.

As gas prices continue to range between $80-$100 dollars per barrel, Americans will pay $500 billion to OPEC and other foreign governments this year alone. While the President prepares to address Congress regarding job creation on Thursday, America should be demanding that he and Congress create an effective energy policy that will mobilize multiple sectors of the economy rather than simply promoting each party’s preferred energy sources.  Until this occurs, we can be sure to see further unemployment, a depressed economy and higher prices at the pump.

September 2, 2011

Open Fuel Standard: The Answer is Multiple Choice – Lilly Sherman

Open Fuel Standard: The Answer is Multiple Choice.

We have to stop looking for a single fuel or a single way to become energy independent. Oil is one thing. The answer will be many things. People may argue methanol is better than ethanol, or only certain ways of making fuel are acceptable, or all cars should be electric or natural gas, or hydrogen is better.

But nobody can say any one thing can replace oil. We need all these ways. And we need cars that can handle all sorts of fuel and power: A flex-fuel plug-in hybrid, for example.

August 31, 2011

Open Fuel Standard: Defeating Al Qaeda: The Energy Offensive – Kellie Dunlap

Open Fuel Standard: Defeating Al Qaeda: The Energy Offensive.

In the aftermath of the siege and death of Osama bin Laden, counter-terrorism officials prepare for Al-Qaeda’s response. The home front is on alert with heightened awareness for both soft and hard target attacks. There have been numerous false alarms, including the foiled terrorist plot in New York City a couple weeks ago. Intelligence analysts assert that Al-Qaeda is seeking to conduct a large-scale attack, proving to their enemies the group’s resilience and adaptive modus operandi, while rallying support from affiliates.

In the last decade, however, the elimination of key individuals within the terrorist network has left Al Qaeda on the defensive, forcing the remaining operatives into hiding and reducing their effectiveness. Furthermore, intelligence gathering and dissemination has improved tremendously since 9/11. Law enforcement officials have thwarted numerous attacks by radical individuals such as the cases involving Bryant Neal Vinas and Najibullah Zazi, two men who, on separate occasions, traveled from the United States to Pakistan, and underwent weapons and explosives training in Al-Qaeda’s training camps, but were foiled by the FBI before they were able to carry out their missions.

August 24, 2011

Political Notes: Bartlett Supports Alternative Fuel Research -The Frederick News-Post Online – Bethany Rodgers

The Frederick News-Post Online – Frederick County Maryland Daily Newspaper.

The U.S. congressman who represents the district including Frederick County recently released a statement encouraging support of a bill to increase production of cars that run on non-petroleum fuels.

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th, also criticized a U.S. Department of Energy report about federal subsidies of energy sources, saying it should have centered more on transportation than electricity. While the country has many ways of generating electricity, oil prices are pinching the wallets of many Americans, he said.