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Methanol Factory to Launch Operations in Iceland

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Methanol Factory to Launch Operations in Iceland

It is planned that the first stage of a renewable methanol factory constructed by Carbon Recycling International (CRI) at the HS Orka geothermal power plant by Svartsengi on Reykjanes peninsula, southwest Iceland, will be completed in March 2011.

geothermalenergy-nesjavellir_ps

Geothermal energy. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Renewable methanol, alternative fuel, will be made from carbon dioxide extracted from steam emitted by the power plant; the production capacity in the first stage is 1.7 million liters per year. It will be the first factory of its kind in the world, Morgunbladid reports.

The second stage of the factory will be completed at the end of 2011 and 2012 if everything goes according to schedule. Once completed, the factory will be able to produce 5.1 million liters of methanol on an annual basis.

If this is achieved, another larger methanol factory will be built in a different location in Iceland, which will also produce the alternative fuel from the carbon dioxide emissions of geothermal power plants.

Managing director of CRI’s business development division, Benedikt Stefánsson, said the location for the second factory, which would produce methanol for export, has not been determined yet.

Methanol can be used for internal combustion engines in vehicles running on gasoline and diesel oil. To begin with, three percent methanol will be mixed with gasoline, potentially to be increased to ten percent.

Car engines will not have to be modified to run on such a fuel mixture but if the percentage of methanol is higher, minor modifications are necessary.

Stefánsson said it will soon be revealed where the fuel mixture will be available. He estimates that in a few years, a number of cars will be running on a higher-level blend of methanol and gasoline.

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