Tuesday, October 14, 2008

China goes for methanol from coal

Now if we could also do the same. But we're sold on global warming, so no coal for us.

The production of methanol from coal gasification is a mature technology. In the United States, Eastman Chemical produces methanol from coal gasification at a plant in Kingsport, Tennessee that was built with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). Based on this experience, the U.S. DoE estimates that methanol can be produced from coal for as little as 50¢ per gallon. In China, production costs from coal are generally RMB$800-1,200 per metric ton of methanol (US$110-165/metric ton, or 33¢ to 50¢ per gallon). In addition, coke furnaces in China generate 80 billion cubic meters of waste gas each year, enough to produce 40 million metric tons of methanol, and significantly reduce pollution in the coal-producing regions. Coal-bed methane deposits of 30,000-35,000 billion cubic meters in China represent another significant energy resource as well as a hidden danger that claims miner’s lives each year. Just 1000 cubic meters of coal-bed methanol can produce one metric ton of methanol.

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