Beyond Oil and Gas: Methanol Economy by Recycling of Carbon Dioxide
Methanol is much preferable to hydrogen for energy storage and transportation. It is also an excellent fuel for heat engines and fuel cells and a convenient raw material for synthetic hydrocarbons and their varied products. Methanol, presently produced from fossil fuel based syn-gas, can also be made by direct oxidative conversion of natural gas or other methane sources. Even biomass can be converted to methanol through syn-gas. Chemical recycling of excess carbon dioxide formed from human activities, natural and industrial sources, or even from the air to methanol via capture followed by reductive conversion with hydrogen is possible. Any available energy source (preferably alternative and atomic energy) can provide the needed energy, primarily generating hydrogen. Direct electrochemical reduction of CO2 is also possible. The Methanol Economy concept is expected to solve the energy & material problems in the long run and at the same time address the issue of global warming.