by Russel Davis, NaturalNews:
Researchers at the Cardiff University in the U.K. recently discovered a cheaper and cleaner way of producing methanol from methane using oxygen from the air.
Methanol was traditionally manufactured by converting methane into hydrogen and carbon monoxide at high temperatures, and then undergoing a second highly pressurized process to reassemble the chemicals in a different order.
However, the research team found that methanol can be produced by using gold nanoparticles to start a chemical reaction between methane, oxygen, and hydrogen peroxide. The chemical process can be accomplished at one stage and at temperatures no higher than 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), the experts noted.
“The current two-stage ‘steam reforming’ process is very energy intensive, as it requires a lot of fuel to achieve high temperatures, but for over a century no-one has been able to come up with a better system. Both methods essentially break a hydrogen bond in a methane molecule and introduce another oxygen atom, but in our process the gold palladium nanoparticles act as a catalyst to bring about this reaction in a single stage,” Professor Stuart Taylor explained.
According to Prof. Taylor, the end product can be used as an alternative to gas. He also noted that the new approach in methanol production may be used in chemical and plastic manufacturing.