This report focuses on development of methanol from coal. The technologies for conversion of coal to low-Btu gas and the subsequent synthesis of methanol already exist. The methanol fuel issues then are the technical suitability of methanol for large-scale fuel applications, energy yields versus other synthetic fuel strategies, economics, environmental effects, and competitive supply/demand considerations in terms of both raw materials and end uses. During the past 12 to 18 months a number of reports have appeared favorable to using methanol as an automotive fuel, either straight or blended with gasoline. Because there are a number of unresolved problems, an automotive methanol fuel policy appears to be premature at this time. The potential use of methanol in electrical utility peaking turbines appears to be on firmer technical grounds. If methanol is to be used at all to substitute for oil and natural gas, the utility application may be a better initial choice than the automotive application. The present domestic methanol production capacity and "business as Usual" growth are inadequate to make any meaningful impact in the fuels sector. Any methanol fuel strategy will require a major increase in production capacity in addition to that required to sustain the growing industrail chemicals market. A defensible methanol fuel strategy must be based on arguments of sufficient weight to over-ride the energy loss of the synthesis process itself. In fact, the point may be generalized to apply to all synthetic fuel strategies, since all conversion processes have a net dollar cost and a net energy loss cost. /Author/

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Abstract appeared in Energy Abstracts for Policy Analysis, Volume 2, Number 7, July 1976.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Institute for Energy Analysis
    Oak Ridge, TN  United States 
  • Authors:
    • Thomas, C O
    • HODGSON, J W
    • Carroll, S L
    • Hardin, T C
    • Munoz-Candelario, R
  • Publication Date: 1976-2

Media Info

  • Pagination: 61 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00139220
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Federal Energy Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: IEA-75-2
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 4 1976 12:00AM