Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy by George A. Olah

By George A. Olah

A truly worthwhile evaluation on present and destiny power resources and effort vendors and an inspiring concept on methanol as a destiny carbon impartial strength service.

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Among these were chains of buckets or primitive forms of pumps powered not only by human muscle but also in some cases by windmills, waterwheels (Fig. 1), or horse power. However, none of these was very economical or suitable. One of the most pressing challenges for contemporary England was to find a way to keep its coal mines dry. This led eventually to the introduction of a device invented by Thomas Newcomen, who was not a scholar but a very inventive small-town ironmonger. His device consisted of a piston which moved up by steam generated by heating water with burning coal, and down by reduced pressure resulting from the condensation of steam with cold water.

Only with the energy crisis in the 1970s and the growing concerns about the safety of nuclear energy, did coal again become an attractive energy source especially for electricity production. Because the reserves of coal are geographically widespread and coal is a heavy and bulky solid which is costly to transport, it is mainly utilized close to its source. The economically recoverable proven coal reserves are enormous, and estimated as being close to one trillion tonnes [2, 3] – enough at current rates of consumption to supply our needs for more than 170 years.

For the long-distance transport of oil products on land, pipelines and railway tank cars are used. Pipelines are expensive to build and maintain, and breaks along the line can cause severe oil spills. However, they are the most energy-efficient means of transporting oil overland. When oil must be transported overseas, for example from the Persian Gulf to North America or Europe, it is carried in specialized oil tankers. The need to carry ever-increasing quantities of oil has resulted, since the 1970s, in the construction of so-called “supertankers”; these are the largest ships afloat in the world, and larger even than aircraft carriers (Fig.

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