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Dimethyl Ether

 
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PS_RalphW



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 5267
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:38 am    Post subject: Dimethyl Ether Reply with quote

This is an alternative coal to liquids end product.

http://www.aboutdme.org/index.asp?bid=219

Surprisingly little on the web about it. China has some buses running on it.

The end product is apparently a clean burning wonder fuel - but they would say that wouldn't they?

The question is, what happens before you get to the end product?

What are the CO2 and other emissions of the conversion process, how much do the plants cost? What is the energy density, and
how much would it cost to retro-fit a modern car?

I very much doubt this will take off. Too far behind the curve as we go over the peak.
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 8640
Location: south east England

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ralph,

DME produces relatively small amounts of CO2 for one reason only: it contains the shortest possible carbon chains of any organic molecules. It is made from methanol/methane. So I think the answer to your question is that this fuel is made only from the parts of natural gas which naturally have the shortest carbon chains.

More info here: http://www.dotyenergy.com/Markets/DimethylEther.htm

Quote:

DME from fossil-derived methanol doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions. It increases them compared to convention diesel – mostly because of the huge CO2 releases from the plants producing the methanol and because of the reduced efficiency of DME engines.


UE
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kenneal - lagger
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 9822
Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lends itself to Carbon Capture and Storage then! TPTB will jump on that bandwagon.
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mikepepler
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2868
Location: Rye, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read about this recently too. An email I sent to a colleague about it:

Quote:

I’d not really read much about this before, but came across it in this article:
http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2011/06/09/roundtable-on-chinas-energy-future/
“To build a methanol plant based on coal or to build a dimethyl ether plant based on coal you can probably produce fuel for less than current oil prices. And China is building dimethyl ether plants. Dimethyl ether is a fuel that can be used in a combustion engine, it can be used in a compression engine like a diesel engine. It’s a gas at room temperature but it’s very easily compressible, non-toxic, so it has quite a lot of things going for it. We just don’t have the infrastructure here in the U.S. for it right now. So that’s one alternative. China is doing a few things as a result of having so much coal that we really haven’t touched upon a lot.”

There’s some more detail on this page:
http://www.energyandclimate.org/synthetic-diesel.html
including the fact that without CCS, the CO2 emissions of producing DME are 90% higher than using diesel from crude oil.

There’s then some old news stories about DME plants being started in China:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2006-08/18/content_668243.htm
http://en.sxcoal.com/14490/DataShow.html

and more recent ones too:
http://www.chinamining.org/News/2011-01-06/1294297007d42394.html

There’s figures around saying they produced 4 million tonnes of it in 2007, and 7 million in 2009, but that there’s scope to be in the hundreds of millions of tonnes by 2020 – just the one plant mentioned in the story above is going to produce 3 million tonnes a year!

It’s not surprising given oil prices, but obviously not good for carbon emissions – may be one to watch…

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