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Create gasoline from natural gas.

So hard?
  (+2, -8)(+2, -8)
(+2, -8)
  [vote for,

Gasoline has become expensive this year. Natural gas, not so much. Electricity rates are also about the same.

I propose that natural gas could be reacted with itself (condensed?) to form longer chain alkanes which could be burnt as gasoline. Because natural gas is easy to transport, and the system exists, it would make sense for this to be decentralized - maybe at gas stations. Such a reaction would consume (electrical) power but I assert that the end product will be cheaper than gasoline. Or will soon be cheaper than gasoline.

bungston, May 25 2008

We've had one of these for ages. http://www.teara.go...urces/Standard/4/en
"The Motunui synthetic petrol plant was the first (and only) one of its type in the world. It converted gas to methanol (methyl alcohol), then to synthetic petrol." [Texticle, May 25 2008]

Bond energies http://www.cem.msu....rgPage/bndenrgy.htm
The more carbons in the alkane, the easier it is to strip off a hydrogen. [bungston, May 31 2008]


       Or just burn natural gas and avoid petroleum completely?
sprogga, May 25 2008

       So, im assuming you mean have a tank of highly pressurized natural gas in your car, run it through a special carb and power your car with it?
Its widely baked. Although it is known for being considerably less powerful than petrol as well as burning extremely hot and warping cylinder heads.
andrew1, May 25 2008

       It's possible to convert, without too much difficulty, a standard diesel engine to run on LNG, much as a gasoline engine can run on propane. The energy an complexity of converting methane to longer-chain molecules requires high pressure, high temperature plant, and catalysts. It can be done on an industrial scale, like a refinery, but since metane is a perfectly good fuel in itself, why ?   

       More rational is to oxidise it to Mthanol, which can be blended in to bulk up existing gasoline with no retuning; or you can run on pure methanol, an excellent, cool-burning fuel for ICE's, already demonstrated in light aircraft. Alternatively, how about Dimethyl Ether ?   

       If you're going to the trouble to build a plant capable of converting Mthane all the way to Octane, better to go for Fischer-Tropsch, or a coal hydrogenation plant. Ask SASOL .....
8th of 7, May 25 2008

       [+] for the concept of using a little energy to link molecules together to improve density and make them easier to transport.
FlyingToaster, May 25 2008

       Concept is baked on an industrial scale (see link).
Texticle, May 25 2008

       Wow I had no idea that LNG is similar enough to diesel fuel to be converted. Those diesel engines sure are versatile.
acurafan07, May 25 2008

       the cost of converting diesel engine to CNG engine is approximately 4 times compared to converting gasoline engine to CNG engine.
vedarshi, May 26 2008

       Baked, oil from coal. The intermediate step includes deriving the natural gasses from the coal. Possibly not widely known to exist. Some of the bigger oil from coal companies ship natural gas straight in to join the process "halfway".   

       But you can buy shares in the companies that do this, to prove you were one step ahead of the game.   

       And yes, it is cheaper than distilling gasoline (petroleums) from "heavier" crudes. Lots of useful by-products too.
4whom, May 27 2008

       I googled and googled trying to find the kj/mol for the methane + methane reaction. It seems that there should be a hydrogen byproduct too.   

       This chemistry might be going on in the deep earth. If so it should happen without oxygen - no methanol intermediate. It would require somewhere to put the hydrogen but I wonder if iron oxide would work too. It would be inline with the abiogenic methane theories of Thomas Gold. I apologize that I have neither the chemistry nor google powers to crunch the energetics on this, and I humbly invite anyone who does to do so. I predict that the following will be energetically favorable:   

       CH4+CH4 -> C2H6 (ethane) + H2 -> H2 + SO4 -> H2S + H2O. Starts with methane and sulfate, ends with ethane, H2S and water.   

       I predict that sticking a methane onto a longer alkane will be more energetically favorable than sticking 2 methanes together, thus favoring growth of long alkanes.   

       These deep bugs would have the advantage of pressure, but would probably have some nifty catalysts instead of requiring high temperature.
bungston, May 28 2008

       I'd hazard the guess that most "deep bugs" were near hot spots, and therefore catalysts are not likely to be necessary.   

       Interesting guy that Thomas... Did you know that Carbonaceous Chrondites can be burnt just like coal?
ye_river_xiv, May 28 2008


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