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Comments about ‘BYU chemist makes breakthrough discovery on natural gas’

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Published: Thursday, March 13 2014 12:00 p.m. MDT

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Rational
Salt Lake City, UT

Why not just develop natural gas stations and have automobiles run on the natural gas itself? There is already tremendous transport infrastructure in place (though it may not be sufficient to handle the increased demand) and the technology for cars to run on natural gas is already in place as well?

Natural gas burns 30% cleaner than gasoline, 42% cleaner than coal. Is liquid alcohol that much cleaner? Perhaps it reduces methane gas because it turns that into methanol.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

@Rational
Salt Lake City, UT

Agreed.
Using the Natural Gas without the added expense of this distillary process is the better way to go.

Besides,
Alcohol is a petroleum solvent.
Using it is harder on the engines,
because it dissolves the lubrication.

BTW --
There are about 20 different types of alcohol.
What kind is it, or is that the trade "secret".

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

Its because the gasoline you are now buying is 10% ethanol (more in some states) made from corn or sugarcane.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

So we have yet another low-heat-emission means of creating energy.

. . . Kind of like cold fusion.

Utah research universities are really imaginative.

Cool

rw123
Sandy, UT

There are exciting things happening every day in R & D in corporate, academic, and government labs. We only hear about a small fraction of them in the news. Having said that, this does sound like a significant breakthrough. Way to go researchers.

@Open Minded Mormon

No worries, just a small correction. If I remember my college chemistry, theoretically there are an infinite number of alcohols as all it takes to be an alcohol is for the molecule to have a hydroxyl group attached to an sp3 carbon, which is very common. It's been awhile, but that's how I remember it. Perhaps you mean there are only 20 commercially important alcohols used in bulk in industry or as precursors for other chemicals?

Jack from Ark
Hensley, AR

Folks the beauty of this is ambient temp storage and transport. It is much safer to transport and store methanol than it is to store and transport high pressure natural gas.You are correct that alcohol is a solvent and more work needs to be done to get it automobile friendly. But the technology is there to do this. This alone could be the discovery that truly brings the US out of foreign fuel dependency. Great work BYU

EPoint
Roy, UT

Is it too conspiratorial to wonder what the oil companies might do to thwart any alternative to being at their mercy?

airnaut
Everett, 00

Jack from Ark
Hensley, AR
Folks the beauty of this is ambient temp storage and transport. It is much safer to transport and store methanol than it is to store and transport high pressure natural gas.

=======

Agreed,
but isn't electricity the cheapest, easiest, and safest of all energy sources to transport/transmit?

Besides,
the internal combustion engine is only 16% energy efficient.

As good as an idea this maybe,
it is still finite, and not renewable.

It is a bridge or crutch technology at best,
limited by an ever dwindling supply.

An ouce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.

Save, conserve, and reduce demand is still our best hope.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

The real beauty of this process is the fact that it makes alcohol a viable alternative to oil as a fuel for our cars. In 2008 a 10% increase in production caused gasoline to drop from $4.40 a gallon all the way down to $1.85 in my town. Eliminate the scarcity of a commodity and it, and all the competing products experience a dramatic price drop.

It costs $6,000 to convert a domestic vehicle to CNG (Compressed Natural Gas). In Peru the cost is $300. There are difference in the safety requirement between the two countries. If the car is built to use CNG at the factory the is competitive with gasoline.

I wish that the auto industry was required to make all cars CNG ready (becomes a bolt on option). The conversion kits would be dirt cheap. Some states also prohibit the sale of CNG to the general public. I would deport all elected officials who supported that kind of nonsense.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

What it comes down to, is which energy producing company (oil, ethanol, solar etc) company can get in the pant pockets of politicians, is the one that will win.

We already see how green energy is in bed with barock, Pelosi, reid. As much as oil was in bed with bush etc.

Mikeylikesit
Davis, UT

Love my CNG!
Utah is close behind CA (leading the US)for infrastructure for fueling them, but more are needed. In a totally CNG car, one cannot go to Boise, Northern CA, etc. More stations are needed. Also miles per gallon are almost the same as the gasoline versions of the same vehicle and that number could easily be doubled if the car makers would actually utilize the technologies available.
Only total electric's run cleaner!
(A couple of corrections: the picture is not a CNG filling station, cost to convert is more in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.)

rok
Boise, CA

the drop in gas price in 2008 from 4.40 to 1.85 had little if anything to do with any increase in production. It had to do with a tanking economy and speculators no longer speculating that the price of oil would continue to rise, so they all bailed on the oil commodities bubble.

Shamal
Happy Valley, UT

airnaut-

"but isn't electricity the cheapest, easiest, and safest of all energy sources to transport/transmit?

No, no and no. Every mile of cable introduces greater resistance. Storage is woefully inefficient and expensive. Not sure how to quantify safety but transporting and burning coal has to be near the top.
Cheapest comes down to the cost of producing the energy. That starts will coal. Natural gas next. Hydro, wind and then solar at the far end of the spectrum.

The Final Word
Alpine, UT

@airnaut

"but isn't electricity the cheapest, easiest, and safest of all energy sources to transport/transmit?

You mean that stuff that we run short of in various States where we have rolling blackouts? I'm sure we are ready to provide enough electricity for all the cars in America. /sarcasm

Seriously...it would be really helpful if the left could see both sides of an issue and view it realistically instead of just believing and regurgitating the rosy propaganda the liberal media pumps out on a regular basis.

Tilka
PORTLAND, OR

I hope a BYU professor can start work on the abundant hot air coming out of Washington D.C. and find a way to turn it into some sort of useful product.

Bill McGee
Alpine, UT

Not sure how great this news is. The metals used to convert natural gas to liquid form are poisonous.

Thallium is highly toxic, soluble in water, readily absorbed through the skin, and is suspected of being carcinogenic. For many years it was used as rat poison, but even that use has been banned because it is so dangerous.

We removed lead from gasoline decades ago because of high toxicity - in fact, there is no known safe threshold for lead exposure. It is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems.

The risk here cannot be overstated.

Arizona Border Dude
NACO, AZ

Natural Gas requires a rather large and heavy bottle (tank) to contain it. It is usually loaded from a storage tank into the container by a compressor that fills the tank under pressure.

The tank on the car has an expiration date requiring it to be replaced every few years.
The average driver is not certified to fill their own tank.
An auto accident where a fuel line is ruptured becomes a major HAZMAT situation.
Natural gas stations are quite a bit more expensive to build and operate than gasoline.

The argument about electric being less expensive is a strange issue. The car isn't plugged into a wall with a 200 mile extension cord. It requires batteries to operate. Recharge stations are very expensive to build in the quantity needed for long trips. A trip of three hours in a gas car may take four in an electric due to recharge times.

The alcohol conversion seems to be a better way. The lubrication problem is a solvable issue. The distribution is a lot easier than Natural Gas fueled cars or electric recharge stations.

This looks like a good thing.

MormonSean
Provo, UT

My wish list: A BYU Hydrogen car!

Or a TARDIS... I'd be fine with either one. =)

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"In 2008 a 10% increase in production caused gasoline to drop from $4.40 a gallon all the way down to $1.85 in my town"

That is so far from true. You may want to look at the world economy. It tanked big time in 2008.

THAT is why gas prices plummeted.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@ Bill McGee

I was wondering about the metals. Metals usually don't mix well with the human body.

I'll wait for more information before I get excited. Still, the researchers deserve congratulations for the discovery and the hard work. Nice job.

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