[ RadSafe ] Methanol advantages

howard long hflong at pacbell.net
Thu Dec 14 12:49:11 CST 2006

Methanol not only has cheaper raw material (although presently more expensive processing) than ethanol, and greater energy density, it would not give us as many drunks.
  Methanol, when imbibed, gives blindness and death (depending on dose), so not many repeat offenders would be DUI, as might be with booze at the pump.
  Adding offensive smell, as to methane household gas, might deter abusers
  Howard Long 

"Bernard L. Cohen" <blc+ at pitt.edu> wrote:
  I do remember discussion of methanol and ethanol as fuels in the 1970s, 
but both were rejected at that time. In recent years, ethanol has come 
into widespread use and there is discussion of making its use much more 
widespread, but I have not seen discussion of methanol in recent years. 
I suppose there is a good reason for this, but I would like to know what 
that reason is. A pound of wood pulp costs less than one-tenth as much 
as a pound of corn, so methanol would seem to be much cheaper. (Forests 
grow without much human effort, whereas growing corn requires plowing, 
fertilizing, weeding,etc; corn is much more sensitive to droughts). The 
higher energy content would accentuate this advantage. I see no obvious 
reason why ethanol is more advantageous from the standpoint of waste 
products (corn would seem to have more waste in cobs, stocks, etc) or 
safety (it is surely much safer than hydrogen fuel).
Since some of us claim to be scientists with expertise on energy, we 
should understand matters like this frrom the scientific standpoint.

Franz Schönhofer wrote:

>I have problems to understand your message - simply because consideration of
>methanol as a fuel is several decades old. In the late 70's there was a
>project (not executed) to build a pipeline from Poland to Austria through
>which a slurry of coal in methanol should be sent to Austria to substitute
>power from the "cancelled" nuclear power plant at Zwentendorf. 
>Methanol has a much higher value concerning energy efficiency per liter
>compared to ethanol. Without doubt there are much higher costs for producing
>it than for ethanol. Of course it may be produced from wood - but at what
>costs? Heat is not the only cost factor. What about the tremendous amount of
>by-products, which to a small part could of course be used commercially, but
>the major part would cause a lot of costs for disposal? A simple reasoning:
>If this kind of producing fuel would be financially favourable the big oil
>companies would have changed to it since long. Thinking of this possibility
>this might have changed politics dramatically - no invasion of Iraq would
>have been taken place, not tens or hundreds of thousands of people would
>have died. Another question is whether wood is really so easily available
>and so cheap. This depends on the region, sure this is not the case in the
>middle east. I see again that comments by US citizens do not take into
>consideration that there is a world outside the USA. Regarding the use of
>for instance corn for fuel production I would question whether it is
>politically and ethically correct to use potential food to produce fuel for
>thirsty car engines. 
>My opinion is, that if it would have been really economically favourable, it
>would have been done since long. 
>Franz Schoenhofer
>PhD, MR iR
>Habicherg. 31/7
>A-1160 Vienna
>phone -43-0699-1168-1319
>>-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>>Von: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] Im
>>Auftrag von Bernard L. Cohen
>>Gesendet: Mittwoch, 13. Dezember 2006 19:46
>>An: RadiatSafety
>>Betreff: [ RadSafe ] query
>> With all the discussion of ethanol from corn as a fuel, why is there
>>no consideration of methanol which can be made from wood which is much
>>more easily grown (and more cheaply available).than corn? All that is
>>needed to convert wood into methanol is heat which could be obtained
>>from nuclear reactors -- no very high temperatures required.
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