November 18, 2011. International experts will convene at the IASS, Potsdam, to discuss renewable energy storage alternatives on November 24-25, 2011. The brainstorming workshop Sustainable methanol: An alternative green fuel for the future will be hosted by the cluster “Earth, Energy, and the Environment” directed by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Carlo Rubbia.
A scientific and economic revolution is required in order to address the problems of energy, security and climate change. Hydrocarbon fuels are perfect energy carriers, but they can no longer be considered primary energy sources. Petroleum, coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels are the end result of a long process that begins with a biological organism capturing sunlight, and storing this energy by using it to drive chemical conversions of CO2 and H2O to hydrocarbons and oxygen.
Both methanol, which is the simplest oxygenated liquid hydrocarbon as well as being a convenient, safe liquid for storing energy, and its derivative dimethyl ether (DME), are excellent fuels for transportation and other energy applications. George A. Olah, Alain Goeppert, and G.K. Surya Prakash have argued for an energy economy based on the capture of CO2 and its conversion to methanol (CH3OH) in their book Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy. Although chemists have known since the early twentieth century how to convert CO2 and H2 into methanol, great efforts are still necessary to make the chemical recycling of carbon dioxide into methanol a reality.
The IASS workshop offers an opportunity to the world’s leading researchers and industrial representatives from the field of renewable fuel resources, CO2 capture and storage, and energy storage systems, to present and discuss their most recent results related to the green methanol production chain, CO2 capture and conversion, water hydrolysis and different methanol synthesis processes.