The Methanol Institute released a report on the worldwide use of production of biodiesel during the 10th Annual Biodiesel Conference & Expo held in Las Vegas. Methanol is one of the products used to make biodiesel. “A Biodiesel Primer: Market & Policy Development, Quality, Standards and Handling,” provides the latest information on the role of methanol in biodiesel production an global policy issues and was prepared by the Global Biofuels Center.
“The methanol and biodiesel industries are partners in a critical effort to bring safe, reliable and affordable alternative fuels to the world’s transportation market,” said Gregory Dolan, acting CEO of the Methanol Institute.
Today there are 124 biodiesel production facilities in the U.S. and another 28 that are in the development stages.
Fuel cells can create electricity that produces very little or even no pollution. In the future, fuel cells are expected to power electric vehicles and replace batteries, among other things. However, fuel cells are expensive.
Now researchers at Aalto University in Finland have developed a new and significantly cheaper method of manufacturing fuel cells. Using atomic layer deposition (ALD), the researchers are making cells that incorporate 60 percent less catalyst material than would normally be required. The study is published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry.
“This is a significant discovery, because researchers have not been able to achieve savings of this magnitude before with materials that are commercially available,” says Docent Tanja Kallio of Aalto University.
In a fuel cell, chemical processes must be sped up by using a catalyst. The high price of catalysts is one of the biggest hurdles to the wide adoption of fuel cells at the moment.
The most commonly used fuel cells cover anode with expensive noble metal powder which reacts well with the fuel. By using the Aalto University researchers’ ALD method, this cover can be much thinner and more even than before which lowers costs and increases quality.
With this study, researchers are developing better alcohol fuel cells using methanol or ethanol as their fuel. It is easier to handle and store alcohols than commonly used hydrogen. In alcohol fuel cells, it is also possible to use palladium as a catalyst. The most common catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells is platinum, which is twice as expensive as palladium. This means that alcohol fuel cells and palladium will bring a more economical product to the market.
These results are based on preliminary testing with fuel cell anodes using a palladium catalyst. Commercial production could start in five to ten years.
Members of the Open Fuel Standard Coalition joined with Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and John Shimkus (R-IL) to call for consumer choice at the pump during an Energy Security Roundtable and media event in Washington DC on Tuesday
The two congressmen, pictured here with former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, outlined their Open Fuel Standard Act (HR 1687) which would set a deadline of 2017 for automakers to stop making cars that run on only gasoline. After than point, all American made cars must be either flex fuel (capable of burning gasoline, ethanol or methanol or any combination of these), or powered by natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, plug-in electric, or fuel cell.
“By employing the Open Fuel Standard, we can create competition for petroleum on the open market with other types of fuel. We don’t have to wait for the perfect technology,” said Rep. Engel (center).
“Consumers should have a choice when they pull up to a refueling station,” Rep. Shimkus (right) added. “At a minimal cost, vehicles could be able to accept multiple fuels with consumers choosing based on price or even feedstock for the fuel.”At a minimal cost, vehicles could be able to accept multiple fuels with consumers choosing based on price or even feedstock for the fuel.”
Also at the event were NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace and representatives from the Renewable Fuels Association, the Methanol Institute and ACT! For America.
Ethanol and other alternative fuel industry leaders will be on Capitol Hill Tuesday to urge Congress to an Open Fuel Standard (OFS).
Representatives John Shimkus (R-IL) and Elliot Engel (D-NY) introduced the Open Fuel Standard Act in June with the support of the Open Fuel Standard Coalition. Tuesday’s event in the nation’s capitol will include an Energy Security Roundtable and press conference.
“Americans need a choice at the pump and the Open Fuel Standard would allow them to pick an ethanol blend that meets their needs,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen who will be a panelist at the roundtable. “The OFS would also create market space for other alternative fuels that are critical to our nation’s energy future.”
Dinneen will be joined by former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace, and others who will discuss alternative fuels and the dangers of our addiction to imported oil for the event hosted by Reps. Shimkus and Engel, in 2218 Rayburn HOB from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Other participants will include Methanol Institute executive director Greg Dolan, and President and CEO of ACT! for America Brigitte Gabriel.