The Lowdown on Methanol and Dimethyl Ester as Advanced Biofuels
by Robert Rapier (Biofuels Digest/Energy Trends Insider) …Methanol is cheap to produce and has been tested extensively as a gasoline replacement. It is the simplest alcohol and one of the world’s most widely used commodity chemicals. Global capacity of methanol is similar to that of ethanol. Most of the world’s methanol is produced from natural gas, but it can be produced from coal or biomass.
The disadvantages of methanol as a transportation fuel are similar to those of ethanol (but more severe). The energy content is about half that of gasoline, and methanol is more toxic and corrosive than ethanol.
…Methanol can be converted into di-methyl-ether, which gets around methanol’s toxicity and corrosivity issues. DME can be used as fuel in either a gasoline or a diesel engine, which makes the potential market huge. DME is a gas at room temperature, but compresses to a liquid under mild pressures. …When combusted, DME burns very cleanly. There are no associated sulfur or particulate emissions (even in a diesel engine). READ MORE and MORE (Consumer Energy Report)