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Methane to Methanol to Gasoline for $2.85 a Gallon

Methane to methanol to gasoline for $2.85 a gallon, including a healthy $1.45 margin? That is what is being claimed for a combined "Gigamethanol" and MTG (methanol to gasoline) plant proposed for Alaska. Converting all the North Slope gas to gasoline could produce almost 500,000 barrels per day.

EMRE MTP Process Flow Diagram

... a plant would produce methanol from natural gas on the North Slope using the proposed GigaMethanol technology. The resulting methanol would be blended with crude and transported via the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to Valdez, where it would be extracted from the oil and processed via Methanol-to-Gasoline technology into gasoline.

In January, ICIS reported that Eastman Chemical reached an agreement to sell a mothballed Texas methanol and ammonia plant to Pandora Methanol, a subsidiary of Janus Methanol.

The plant will have a capacity of 850,000 tonnes/year of methanol and 250,000 tonnes/year of ammonia, according to van Wijk. ...Van Wijk at the time said the new plant might consider the methanol-to-gasoline MTG process pioneered by ExxonMobil.
Eastman originally bought the plant in 2007 for a $1.6-billion coal-gasification project, but called off the project in late 2009 due to high capital requirements, the narrow difference between petroleum and natural gas prices and uncertain US energy policy....

Costs for a 63,000 barrel (of gasoline) per day system would be approximately $5.2 billion, he said. Gasoline could be delivered from Valdez at $2.65 to $2.85 per gallon, including a $1.45 margin.

In addition to providing a market for North Slope gas, the mix of methanol in the pipeline flow would help prevent problems with ice forming in the line, van Wijk, a former Methanex executive, suggested. If the entire daily output of North Slope gas (4.5 billion cubic feet, bcf) were converted to gasoline, it would produce 450,000 barrels per day, he suggested. _GCC

This is a different approach from the Oxford Catalysts and Sasol approaches. But the claims for efficiency and economic viability are difficult to beat, if true.

While the proposal is meant to take advantage of Alaskan natural gas, the same approach could conceivably be taken with shale gas or any other large gas deposits located anywhere.

By. Al Fin

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Leave a comment
  • Howard Holme on January 09 2012 said:
    Conversion of Methanol To Gasoline (MTG) costs energy, release of carbon dioxide, and money. Upon passage of HR 1687, the Open Fuel Standard, methanol can be used directly as automotive fuel, saving this energy GHG, and money, and the capital costs of MTG. Now, Flex Fuel Vehicles are already sold for the same price as gasoline only cars, demonstrating the trivial cost of the mandate to make cars FFV. See Nobel Laureate, George Olah's Beyond Oil and Gas: the Methanol Economy, and Robert Zubrin's Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil.
  • Wade Scharlau on October 11 2014 said:
    My students recently worked with a local engineering firm on some calculations for adjusting the pH of waste water from a cooling tower for a chemical processing plant. The plant is not yet built. Part of the design is to inject acid or base into the stream of cooling tower water prior to dumping it back into the river. The only data that is provided by the facility design team to the engineer (and passed on to us) is the pH of the waste water, the flow rate of the waste water, and the target pH. We also know that many other chemicals, like corrosion inhibitors, biological growth inhibitors, and cleaning chemicals are in that stream. Our current calculations were assuming the pH of the waste water stream was due only to excess H+ ions, which is obviously not true. I suggested to the engineer, that the injection system be oversized and adjustable because it is likely there will be significant buffering due to the variety of chemicals in the mix.
    What I need is a sample of the cooling water so my students can titrate it to find exactly what it takes to neutralize it. We were able to calculate an amount of acid or base required to change the pH if the sample was relatively pure, but not knowing the side effects of all the other contaminants, I'm sure the calculated values are way off.
    Does anyone know where I can get a sample of "blow down" cooling tower waste water from a methane to methanol conversion facility?

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