I heard a radio news story the other day which I thought was really significant. A researcher working with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was interviewed about a new methanol fuel cell that can be used to produce electricity (like a hydrogen fuel cell). The special thing about this new cell is that it can also be run in reverse to produce methanol from carbon dioxide. This means that industrial plants that produce lots of carbon dioxide can use this technology to scrub their output clean of carbon dioxide and also have methanol to sell in a methanol based economy.
This is significant beyond it's greenhouse gas reducing properties. Methanol can be transported and stored much more safely than hydrogen, can be mixed with gasoline, and burns cleanly. What's especially cool about it is that methanol is useful for more than just a fuel. It can easily be used to make all kinds of other useful things like ethanol, plastics, etc. You can't easily make anything useful out of gasoline or hydrogen (or ethanol).
Anyways, it's a really cool story. Check it out at:
Now back to our regular programming (pun intended).