Search for alternative fuel which can replace diesel as a clean fuel that does not cause harm to the environment was increased when the concept of global warming came into the picture. An immediate replacement for fossil fuels and a fuel that produce harmful greenhouse gases made boost in several innovative research program around the global research organizations. Even though a sudden shift to energy providers is not possible so a perfect propagator which help people to reach the new technologies with a slow shift of their practice to prevent global warming and educating them to the objective.
Recent days researcher have brought a fuel which can be used an alternative to diesel and gasoline even long, they started using biomass and waste materials and low-cost solvent like methanol and converted into toxic and harmful compounds free automobile fuel.
Automobile engines are made and redesigned to produce more power and use less fuel but they are costly and not available to the common man with an affordable price so an alternative fuel can help to solve the problem slowly and prepare people to use new technology transports which are environmentally friendly.
Dimethyl ether an alternative fuel for automobiles which can be produced from methanol and other means of biomass and material it has advantages of producing energy equivalent to diesel having cetane number between 55 to 60. It has similar properties of diesel fuel and can dominate it when compared to the flue gas that is their exhaust gas produced from the engine, dimethyl ether does not produce sulphur compounds, carbon monoxide or nitrogenous compounds. It even produces less soot emission than commercial diesel fuel.
How dimethyl ether is made for alternative fuel application
- Dimethyl ether is the combination of two CH3 molecules bonded with oxygen. Which is represented as CH3OCH3, it is made by removing water molecule from methanol which can be shown by reaction equation,
2CH3OH →CH3OCH3 +H2O
This process is called as dehydration of methanol. Another process was developed which could eliminate methanol production from natural gas or synthesis gas and used directly to produce DME.
DME production plants constructions are encouraged and gaining attention in the market which even stands along with the refineries which produce gasoline and diesel. The market fluctuates in chemical products sector towards DME which will be a good environmental friendly fuel for time being. China produces DME at Sichuan a plant based in Toyo process with capacity 3500 tons/day. Investing in this sector could give much more profits in coming future.
Dimethyl Ether (DME) Production Technology Update In Japan:
Japan is changing its fuel consumption towards the green technology by improving the process and production of dimethyl ether, which is one of the green fuel, DME replaces fossil fuel and produced from carbon dioxide and water too. Meanwhile, the advanced development process is at the stage of using natural gas and coal gas conversion into best liquid fuel. Of course, the petroleum diesel and gasoline are the prominently used but by petroleum source. Using natural and biogas to produce liquid fuel will help to forward steps of producing green fuels. In such way that the natural gas usage also will be totally limited and the biomass and biogas are used in place of natural gas.
Japan is moving forward in the direct production of dimethyl ether that means synthesis gas that is produced from natural gas or coal gas will participate directly in the catalytic reaction of dimethyl ether by eliminating the methanol route. Plants with this process will consume lesser energy and produce DME in large quantity when compared with the industries using methanol step as intermediate.
Five ton per day pilot plant and one hundred ton per day demonstrating plant are successfully commissioned and runs were conducted with satisfactory results. Soon Japan is planning to establish fully commercial manufacturing industries that can produce DME so that the overall production rate increased more than 10,000 tons per year which are already achieved with more than 99 percent purity and with conversion reaching above 95%. The advanced technology will make the process so feasible that it can handle any type of natural gas compositions and shift the process towards biogas source in place of natural gas.