Methanol an EPA-approved alternative to ethanol

Published: November 23, 2012
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Regarding “EPA rejects ethanol waivers for states,” (Associated Press, Nov. 17): The Environmental Protection Agency's refusal to waive the law that requires ethanol mixed with gasoline is frustrating since it affects the price of feed for animal production and hurts consumers. Oklahoma could provide a plentiful alternative to ethanol, one that's approved by the EPA. It's methanol, which is easily produced from natural gas and can even be used to produce higher-density alcohols that approach gasoline's energy content. Methanol is also a great transition fuel, since it's more easily produced from biomass sources like switch grass than ethanol because methanol doesn't require fermentation.

High-percentage methanol, or the higher-density alcohols, can be used in flex-fuel vehicles, making the alcohols easier to implement than straight compressed natural gas as a substitute transportation fuel. Natural gas-derived methanol could solve the ethanol problem and provide a solid new market for Oklahoma's natural gas surplus.

Pat Kelley, Oklahoma City


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