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Using Geothermal to Power Cars?

Here’s a new energy source for automobiles – geothermal ! The news comes from Iceland, a country that is known for geothermal energy. The hot earth under Iceland generates 25% of iceland’s electricity and provides domestic heating to homes and businesses. Now, we can add to the list –cars.

Thanks to a deal struck by Reykjavik’s Carbon Recycling International (CRI) and Dutch oil company Argos, the geothermal heat sources in Iceland are going to assist powering cars. But, the process is not what many expect, that is, geothermally-produced electricity going into electric cars. It’s using methanol.


The methanol is produced from the carbon dioxide that is emitted from Iceland’s HS Orka, one of many geothermal plants in the country. What CRI wants to do is capture this CO2 and convert it into methanol. CRI refers to its product as “renewable methanol” precisely because it captures CO2 that would otherwise escape to the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. The methanol produced would be added to standard gasoline powered cars as is sometimes done in the US.

Of course, the methanol-enhanced internal combustion engines would still produce CO2 but CRI says that the overall benefit is that it could reduce vehicles’ over CO2 emissions by 30 percent. The reduction could be greater once regulators increase the permissible maximum mix of fuel additives, which today is around 5 percent in the European Union.


CRI now has a brand name for its product, which it calls Vulcanol - a wonderful evocation of the fiery forces that define Icelandic geology. Iceland, which straddles two argumentative tectonic plates, is the land where Jules Verne sent his travelers to the center of the earth, through a volcano nonetheless.

Even though the conversion of CO2 into methanol is a modest step, it is nonetheless another way to help power transportation that doesn’t directly use fossil fuels. A step in the right direction.


Article Resource: Lebanon Chrysler

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