You just cannot make this stuff up. This is why the meddling federal government needs to STFU and get the hell out of the way! Methanol is cleaner, cheaper and better than gasoline.
Methanol is the simplest alcohol molecule with one hydroxyl ion (OH) attached to methane’s one carbon atom. It does not require the expensive distillation if corn ethanol or high-energy catalytic cracking of oil refining. Methane can be “reformed” into methanol by bathing it in steam. “It’s early 20th century chemistry,” says Hollander.
We already have a thriving methanol industry. There are 18 production plants in the U.S. putting out 2.6 billion gallons a year. It is used widely as a manufacturing feedstock and makes up 30 percent of the windshield fluid in your car. Methanol is also the principle racing car fuel on the NASCAR circuit. The conversion began in the 1990s in order to avoid deadly gasoline explosions. But drivers have grown very fond of methanol because it burns cleaner and gives almost the same octane rating as gasoline.
Of course ramping up the industry to replace a significant portion of the 136 billion gallons of gasoline we consume every year would be a monumental undertaking. But it would not involve any technological breakthroughs. “You could build a conversion facility at the end of each gas pipeline and have tanker trucks transport it to every gas station in the country,” he says. “The infrastructure wouldn’t have to change much.”
So what’s the problem? Well, unfortunately putting methanol into car engines is illegal.
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