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Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 10:42 AM   #1
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Dimethylether

One of the sites I read on a daily basis had a very good writeup on producing dimethylether from coal. After reading it, i'm convinced that this is the technology (more so than other syngas technologies) which will power us in a post-peak (oil) world.

Which brings up the question- which companies will benefit the most from widespread adoption of this technology?
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 10:53 AM   #2
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Re: Dimethylether

Humm...

I agree with the Chinese, this process is only for large well designed facilities. DME is water soluable, getting it into the water table would not be good.
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 12:19 PM   #3
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Re: Dimethylether

To completely hijack your topic, Marshac, what happened with the biodiesel project? My DH just bought a homebrew guide and I told him your "dog vomit" commentary on the used oil.
Any updates?
He'd like to buy an old Mercedes diesel for work (he gets paid mileage and puts a lot of miles on the Saturn) and has a fantasy about getting to spend the difference between the cost of bio-diesel and the cost of gasoline. I'm letting him run with it for now...
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 12:39 PM   #4
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Re: Dimethylether

We made test batches and ran them in a diesel truck- the guy that owns the truck SWEARS the thing runs better (and it might- 100% biodiesel tends to clean out the fuel system (and clog the fuel filter in the process)).

After a few batches we quickly realized that we had a problem- glycerin. When you make biodiesel, you end up making a LOT of glycerin.... and this glycerin contains some methanol, so you don't exactly want to flush it down the drain, or make hand soap out of it. I did have an idea for solving this problem though- there are TONS of apple orchards out here, and all of them have 'smudge pots' they fire up in the fall to protect the apples from frost. I was going to mix up some of the glycerin with kerosene or something to see if it could be used as smudge pot fuel. Heck, I would GIVE the crap away if people would use it. I just haven't had the free time to investigate this yet.

The second (much less minor) problem is taxes. If/when we get to this point, we might just dye the biodiesel red and sell it to farmers.... this way we wouldn't have to collect and deal with any of those headaches.

If your DH wants to save money, he could directly burn the waste oil from your local Chinese buffet.... no conversion to biodiesel needed. It's trickier to do (he would need to modify the fuel system on the Mercedes), but he wouldn't have to deal with the biodiesel manufacturing process. Google for greasel conversion and you'll see what's involved. For the right person, it could be a really fun project.
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 01:13 PM   #5
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Re: Dimethylether

It looks like several companies in China and Japan are investing in DME, but I didn't find much for the US (seems like Colorado has some activity, though).

Japanese companies
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 01:28 PM   #6
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Re: Dimethylether

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshac
We made test batches and ran them in a diesel truck- the guy that owns the truck SWEARS the thing runs better (and it might- 100% biodiesel tends to clean out the fuel system (and clog the fuel filter in the process)).

After a few batches we quickly realized that we had a problem- glycerin. When you make biodiesel, you end up making a LOT of glycerin.... and this glycerin contains some methanol, so you don't exactly want to flush it down the drain, or make hand soap out of it. I did have an idea for solving this problem though- there are TONS of apple orchards out here, and all of them have 'smudge pots' they fire up in the fall to protect the apples from frost. I was going to mix up some of the glycerin with kerosene or something to see if it could be used as smudge pot fuel. Heck, I would GIVE the crap away if people would use it. I just haven't had the free time to investigate this yet.

The second (much less minor) problem is taxes. If/when we get to this point, we might just dye the biodiesel red and sell it to farmers.... this way we wouldn't have to collect and deal with any of those headaches.

If your DH wants to save money, he could directly burn the waste oil from your local Chinese buffet.... no conversion to biodiesel needed. It's trickier to do (he would need to modify the fuel system on the Mercedes), but he wouldn't have to deal with the biodiesel manufacturing process. Google for greasel conversion and you'll see what's involved. For the right person, it could be a really fun project.
Whats the by product of burning up glycerin?
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 02:38 PM   #7
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Re: Dimethylether

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mwsinron
Whats the by product of burning up glycerin?
That would be good to find out

"The glycerine by-product burns well, but unless it's properly combusted at high temperatures it will release toxic acrolein fumes, which mainly form at between 200 and 300 deg C (392-572 deg F)." Better make sure it's hot I guess
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 02:39 PM   #8
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Re: Dimethylether

Marshac and Wab- thanks for posting these excellent links.

Ha
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 02:40 PM   #9
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Re: Dimethylether

Thanks for the update Marshac, I'll put him on the research, we've seen a truck running on straight oil, from a tank in the bed. Didn't know you could do it with a car fuel tank like that. Cool.
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 02:53 PM   #10
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Re: Dimethylether

Quote:
Originally Posted by mclesters
Thanks for the update Marshac, I'll put him on the research, we've seen a truck running on straight oil, from a tank in the bed.* Didn't know you could do it with a car fuel tank like that.* Cool.
You'll have to take some photos and give us an update if he decides to do anything
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 08:33 PM   #11
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Re: Dimethylether

DME is easy to make from syngas. Most research went into how NOT to make it.

Syngas can be made (expensively) from coal, while putting a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere (sorry, no free lunch).

I have been told by an very knowledgable source that DME is an excellent diesel fuel.

I would much rather use DME than hydrogen to power vehicles.

But, yes, it does dissolve in water.
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-30-2006, 09:02 PM   #12
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Re: Dimethylether

It has a bp of -24C so it does need to be under pressure
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Re: Dimethylether
Old 08-31-2006, 08:41 AM   #13
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Re: Dimethylether

Yup. Like hydrogen, you can't just put it in your gas tank.
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