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Sat Jun 29, 2013, 03:06 PM

Lotus Engineering's presentation for developing Methanol as a transportation fuel

this is from a few years ago. The fact that Lotus's presentation has never been discussed on American M$M is a testament to the power of the Oil Industry - especially when you consider that methanol has been used for decades in auto racing.

Using methanol would enable us replace most, or virtually all of petroleum as a light transportation fuel. This would constitute a PROFOUND strengthening of our economy through dramatically reducing the amount of money exported for petroleum and freeing us from the adverse economic impact of ever rising oil prices. Biomass based methanol would produce significant reductions of GHG as it replaces gasoline. Use of the MIT designed Ethanol Direct Injection engine (which works with Methanol as well) would enable a quicker reduction to gasoline consumption due to the 25% to 30% increase in fuel efficiency achieved by this engine (at relatively modest cost - relative to hybrids and PHEVs).


Alcohols as the Alternative (1)

• Alcohols are liquid fuels which provide high on-board energy
density in comparison to gaseous fuels (e.g. hydrogen_B USA)
– Using gasoline-compatible fuel systems (i.e. simple and lightweight)

• They can be distributed via a modified existing infrastructure

• Alcohols are miscible with gasoline
– The transition is easy – ethanol is being blended in now

• No engine modifications necessary up to 10% by volume

• Engine modifications for higher concentrations are minimal and
fully understood
– Principally inlet valve seats, fuel system materials and spark plugs

• Lower alcohols have high octane indices – ideal for ‘downsizing’

• High knock resistance enables better combustion efficiency
– Through optimised ignition advance and higher compression ratios

Alcohols as the Alternative (2)

• Alcohols can be synthesized from biomass, gaseous hydrocarbons
or from hydrogen and carbon mon- or dioxide
– They are alternatives to hydrogen to minimise climatic impact

• Alcohols are therefore excellent potential candidates on which to
base the long-term energy economy

• In ‘biofuel’ form they offer significant well-to-wheel CO2 benefits

• Additionally, the cost of ‘flex-fuel’ capability is trivial
– All new spark ignition vehicles could be made flex-fuel compatible
at minimal on-cost

• This is why Lotus has developed its gasoline/ethanol flex-fuel
Exige 265E vehicle

Renewable Alcohols: Future Possibilities

Using methanol for synthetic chemical production can effectively
remove CO2 from the atmosphere (“auto-sequestration”)

• To encourage this, Lotus believes that in 2012 the small step of
legislation requiring all gasoline vehicles to be gasoline/ethanol
flex-fuel should be enacted

– Gives a significant market incentive to renewable fuels suppliers

• There is therefore a potential for a joined-up, clear path to a
negative-CO2 energy economy for transport with a soft start

– Which hydrogen cannot provide

the presentation presents conclusions developed in more detail in:

Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy
Olah, G.A., Goeppert, A. and Prakash, G.K.S

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Reply Lotus Engineering's presentation for developing Methanol as a transportation fuel (Original post)
Bill USA Jun 2013 OP
HooptieWagon Jun 2013 #1
Bill USA Jul 2013 #2
HooptieWagon Jul 2013 #3

Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 09:30 PM

1. Methanol is highly corrosive to engine parts.


When Indy cars used to burn methanol, they had to drain and bleed the fuel system, and run the car on gasoline for 30 minutes after each practice session and the race, to flush out all traces of methanol. Mechanics called it "pickling" the engine.

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Response to HooptieWagon (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 9, 2013, 03:59 PM

2. it is well known that methanol is more corrosive than ethanol. This is not an insurmountable problem

.. building engines that can hold up to methanol/ethanol/gasoline blends is still far cheaper an option than others being tried now - e.g. conventional hybrids, PHEVs.


[div style="border: 1px solid #000000;" class="excerpt"]
Methanol as an alternative transportation fuel in the US:
Options for sustainable and/or energy-secure transportation

L. Bromberg and W.K. Cheng

Prepared by the
Sloan Automotive Laboratory

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge MA 02139

"Methanol is more corrosive than ethanol; material compatibility issues of methanol fuels require modifications of engine fuel systems. Both elastometers (soft components used for seals and fuel lines) as well as metals, if not chosen properly, can be attacked by methanol. However, work done in California and elsewhere has demonstrated that methanol compatible vehicles can be effectively designed. There are no technical hurdles."

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Response to Bill USA (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 9, 2013, 04:05 PM

3. If builders of $250,000 Indycar engines had problems....


I doubt they could be solved by mass production automakers in the foreseeable future.

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