The Flaring of Energy Freedom
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) …If you were watching the second Obama-Romney presidential debate …, or heard about it, it might have struck you as significant that the two remaining candidates for the most powerful job on the planet spent zero time debating the issue of climate change, and five minutes debating the problem of $4 gasoline.
…From an economic point of view, natural gas producers flare around $100 billion in unused gas every year. Looking at climate impact, the resulting CO2 emissions are greater than the annual CO2 output of France, according to a Reuters report from last year.
It’s an energy independence issue, an economic development issue, and an emissions issue – the same three Es that drive biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels.
…OCM is a process that converts methane into ethylene – transforming a $200 per tonne molecule into the most widely-produced chemical compound in the world (109 million tonnes last year – and rising fast), currently selling for around $1200 per tonne. Glad Wrap, for example, is the polymerized version of ethylene. Plus, plastic bags, bottles, boxes, containers, pens, and on and on.
So valuable, in fact, that the price of ethylene makes it unusable as a transportation fuel, despite the little known fact that you get about 50 percent better mileage on ethylene than gasoline, and the CO2 emissions are lower (NOX is higher, though).
…Along comes Siluria, with a biotechnology approach, spun out of Angela Belcher’s lab at MIT. Inspired by the way nanomaterials are created by nature, Siluria develops metals and metal oxide crystals grown on biological templates.
Bottom line: the company makes breakthrough catalysts that enable OCM to work economically, and open up the opportunity to make money with gas, which enables it to be transported at a profit. READ MORE and MORE (Biofuels Digest on Calysta)