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Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3527312757
ISBN-10: 3527312757
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Editorial Reviews


"A very well written standard work, related to the field of the properties, production, and present and future use of methanol as a direct or indirect energy source." (International Journal of Environment and Pollution, April 2009)

"…a well-written review of the energy situation in the global context…a valuable addition to the literature." (CHOICE, October 2006)

"...exceptionally clear and engaging. For anyone interested in the subjects of energy, fossil fuels, and energy solutions, this book will be a valuable resource...worth reading and considering in detail." (Chemical & Engineering News, October 2, 2006)

"..I am pleased to recommend most enthusiastically this inexpensive, forward-looking, and inspiring book to anyone concerned with the major challenge of future energy and environmental problems--a central issue for our society." (The Chemical Educator, May/June 2006)

From the Back Cover

In this masterpiece, the renowned chemistry Nobel Laureate, George A. Olah and his colleagues discuss in a clear and readily accessible manner the use of methanol as a viable alternative to our diminishing fossil fuel resources. They look at the pros and cons of our current main energy sources, namely oil and natural gas, and varied renewable energies, and new ways to overcome obstacles.

Following an introduction, Olah, Goeppert and Prakash look at the interrelation of fuels and energy, and at the extent of our non-renewable fossil fuel resources. Despite the diminishing reserve and global warming, the authors point out the continuing need for hydrocarbons and their products. They also discuss the envisioned hydrogen economy and its significant shortcomings. The main section then focuses on the methanol economy, including the conversion carbon dioxide from industrial exhausts (such as flue gases from fossil fuel burning power plants) and carbon dioxide contained in the atmoshere into convenient liquid methanol for fuel uses (notably in fuel cells) and as a raw material for hydrocarbons. The book is rounded off with a glimpse into the future.

A forward-looking and inspiring work regarding the major challenges of future energy and environmental problems.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-VCH; 1 edition (March 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3527312757
  • ISBN-13: 978-3527312757
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The increasing world population and the declining availability of cheap oil threaten to plunge the world into a global energy crisis. Concerns over our reliance on oil and gas and the impact of fossil fuels on the environment have escalated significantly in recent years. This book explores current energy sources (oil, natural gas, coal, atomic energy) as well as renewable alternative energies (wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, etc), the interrelation of fuels and energy, and the extent of non-renewable fossil fuel resources. Besides the need to find alternates to diminishing fossil fuels, the authors outline the need for hydrocarbons and their products way into the future despite depleting reserves and global warming, and examine the envisioned hydrogen economy and its significant shortcomings.It illustrates how methanol can be used as a convenient liquid fuel and a raw material for hydrocarbons and their products. The needed methanol can be made from a variety of sources including carbon dioxide (the main greenhouse gas). This timely book demonstrates how carbon dioxide from industrial exhausts (and eventually even atmospheric carbon dioxide) can be converted into safe liquid methanol. I thought that it was an insightful and inspiring guide to meeting the world's future energy needs while preserving the environment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Olah (1994 Nobel laureate carbocation chemistry, director of the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute) and his coauthors do an excellent job going over fossil fuel(coal, natural gas, oil) resources, how close we are to running out of each, the vast number of uses for these resources, and the likelihood of climate change due to their burning. It is assumed that in the future we will have abundant energy available from nuclear and alternative sources. Methanol would then be one of the prime carriers of this energy, and an alternate source for all petrochemicals.

They also cover alternative renewable energy sources, compare using hydrogen versus methanol as a carrier of energy from new renewable energy sources and nuclear energy plants. The authors do a thorough job pointing out the enormous use of hydrocarbons throughout the industrial world for a huge array of products. Not only do we need vast new renewable sources of energy we also need to be able to use this energy to change new carbon sources into useful products. The new source of carbon, methanol from CO2 and H2! Olah, et al shows in great detail how methanol can be changed chemically into the precursors for just about anything and at very high efficiencies. We would use energy from nuclear and new renewable energy sources directly where we can, such as powering our factories and homes' electrical systems. We would use some of this new energy to change CO2 from emissions and hydrogen from electrolysis of water, into methanol to run our cars, trucks, etc., and provide feedstock for all the products now produced from petroleum. Note that methanol formed this way adds no new CO2 since CO2 from the surroundings is used to make it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are facing a great dilemma: what type of energy and fuels will we employ once that fossil fuels are over? The authors of this book (one of which is a Nobel Chemistry winner) suggest methanol (CH3OH) as possible candidate. Why methanol? Simply put, methanol can be obtained from biomass such as algae or other plants and by using efficient catalysts it is possible to hydrogenate carbon dioxide (CO2) to obtain methanol and water: CO2 + 3H2 = CH3OH + H2O.
These characteristics open up the possibility of realizing an open biogeochemical cycle (see Figure 12.14 inside the book, 2nd edition) whereby atmospheric CO2 can be reduced thus, at the same time, contributing to solve the (hotly debated) problem of global warming. Furthermore, the dehydration of methanol yields dimethylether, DME, which is an important substitute for diesel. Hence, the premises for adopting a methanol-based economy are certainly interesting and both scientists and administrators should evaluate this important proposal. In my opinion, it is likely that the selection of future fuel(s) will be based mainly on the costs that society has to bear for adopting a new energy economy. Also, the possibility to mass produce methanol will be an important factor in this choice. Anyway, the book explores many issues, ranging from the scientific and technical ones to political and economical. Many aspects about industrial chemical processes are also included inside the book and these will benefit those chemical engineers involved in the design of new industrial plants and processes for the large-scale production of methanol.
A book that nicely complements "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy" is Armaroli and Balzani's book "Energy for a Sustainable World: From the Oil Age to a Sun-Powered Future".
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Format: Hardcover
Very interesting book showing our utterly dependence on fossil fuel and the consequences of this dependence including resource depletion and global warming. The authors offer an answer to these problems by the installation of a so-called methanol economy which will use liquid methanol as a convenient energy carrier and raw material for hydrocarbons and all the products derived today from petroleum or natural gas (plastics, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, etc..).
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