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The game here is the replacement of fossil fuels with manufactured liquid fuels storing solar energy. For that, it might be most efficient to look at solar-powered Dimethyl Ether factories. DME was discussed repeatedly here on ET by NNadir, for instance in the diary Obama's Energy Program Will Work: It's Why I Don't Want Him as Our Nominee. (January 16th, 2007)
On some level the depletion of oil is as much an opportunity as it is a threat.   The notion that we must continue to do things the same way our grandparents did thing is conservative, not liberal.  We have alternatives to oil, even if they are not being widely discussed in this country.   Asia is industrially developing DME, dimethyl ether infrastructure.

DME is so superior to oil as a fuel, that it is ridiculous even to consider making oil from mixtures of carbon oxides and hydrogen - the intermediates in FT chemistry.   The Japanese and the Chinese in developing DME are giving themselves a chance..   Now, it is true really regrettably too, that the Chinese are building several DME plants that are based on coal - and I oppose them - but I do not oppose the DME infrastructure since DME, even more so than oil, can be made from anything, including maybe, the ever popular renewable strategies about which people love to think.

Also by NNadir on January 24th, 2007: The Loss of Life Per Metric Ton of Carbon Dioxide Avoided: Considering Diesels.
Note that this work refers to petroleum based diesel and not biodiesel or the even better option of using DME based diesels.    While biodiesel does produce particulates, they are are lowered with respect to petroleum diesel, but, in some cases at least, NOx seems to increase with respect to petroleum diesel.    I argue to the extent that it is available, biodiesel is far superior to petroleum diesel.

The best diesel option by far though is DME, about which I've written in previous diary entries.

DME produces essentially zero particulates and very low NOx, and is clearly the superior choice.   However, the means that one uses to produce DME will itself involve parameters and variables that are subject to combinatorial optimization analysis.

I wonder whether one could engineer yeast to secrete not ethanol for booze but DME for fuels. That might be an alternative to using algae for cellulose.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 28th, 2010 at 05:42:15 AM EST

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