methanol, synfuel, CO2, scrubbing, Fischer-Tropsch, sequestration
Methanol production technology and systems are being developed to provide an economically viable fuel from a renewable energy source. Neither fossil fuel nor biological feedstock is required. The energy is principally used to extract hydrogen from water. Carbon dioxide is scrubbed from air. The hydrogen and carbon dioxide are combined catalytically to produce methanol using a modified Fischer-Tropsch process. The resulting methanol contributes zero net carbon dioxide emission when consumed. In the initial prototype, photovoltaic panels are used to capture solar energy. Carbon dioxide is scrubbed from air by exposure to potassium hydroxide which is converted to potassium carbonate. A novel aspect of the prototype is the use of a single electrochemical cell both to recover the carbon dioxide from potassium carbonate and to extract hydrogen from water (patent pending – US# 60/982,778). Modifications to the Fischer-Tropsch process favor the use of carbon dioxide over carbon monoxide as a feedstock, and help to preserve high conversion efficiency at small scale and during intermittent operation.