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Integrating methanol into our energy system would have numerous benefits in the not-so-distant future. As the authors point out, it would make the transportation of liquid natural gas much safer by converting it to less-hazardous liquid methanol before shipping it. Methanol could also be used to produce plastics, synthetic fabrics, and many other non-fuel products currently made from petroleum.Importantly, methanol can also be produced (in conjunction with an auxiliary electricity source, like nuclear power) by chemically recycling carbon dioxide, which can be found naturally in the air or readily captured from atmosphere-polluting industrial emissions. The methanol produced can, in turn, be used to produce synthetic hydrocarbons and other products now obtained from fossil fuels. If successfully tapped, methanol “has the ability to liberate mankind from its dependence on fossil fuels for transportation and hydrocarbon products,” while reducing the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere.Consider ethanol as a comparison. The commercial competitiveness of ethanol is somewhat confused by the complex influences of a variety of subsidies and tariffs. By contrast, methanol is currently selling—without any subsidy—for about $0.80/gallon. Given that methanol’s energy content is about half that of gasoline, that price is the equivalent, in energy terms, of gasoline for $1.60/gallon. In other words, we can produce a useful and economically viable vehicle fuel, using a huge domestic and Western hemispheric resource base, at prices lower than gasoline.
WASHINGTON - Even if the world can cap carbon dioxide emissions tied to global warming, expect to see droughts and sea level rise that span centuries, not just decades, according to a new study sponsored by the U.S. government."People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that's not true," lead author Susan Solomon told reporters.Instead, the team concluded, warming tied to higher CO2 "is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop."
During times of energy surplus, sea water would be pumped out of the reservoir into the surrounding North Sea, until it was completely empty. Letting the sea flood back in via turbines emplaced in the dykes could generate 2 gigawatts or more for up to 15 hours at a stretch. In other words, the "Energy Island" could store about 30 gigawatt-hours.