Methanol Economy

First Minister of Scotland visits CRI

On Thursday October 12th, CRI was honored to receive a visit from First
Minister of Scotland, Ms. Nicola Sturgeon, to Carbon Recycling
International's George Olah CO2-to-methanol plant.

The First Minister came to Iceland to attend the Arctic Circle Assembly, an
annual gathering in Reykjavik of governments, organizations and
corporations with an interest in securing a sustainable future for the
arctic region.

Director of Sales and Marketing at CRI, Ómar Sigurbjörnsson, took Ms.
Sturgeon and her staff on a tour of the production plant and explained
CRI's unique process, which produces renewable methanol by combining
CO2 and hydrogen, generated from water with electricity from renewable
sources. The plant is the first of its kind and demonstrates the technical and
economic feasibility of production of low carbon intensity fuels and
chemicals with carbon capture and utilization. 

When asked about the potential for collaboration between Scotland and
Iceland in a subsequent interview with Icelandic Channel 2 TV,  Ms. Sturgeon
said "...I went to visit Carbon Recycling International, out near the
Blue lagoon, and learned a lot there about how they're using CO2 to
create methanol clean energy. There's a lot for us to learn there."

At the Artic Circle Assembly, the Minister remarked “...with
Scotland employing almost 60,000 people in low carbon industries,
there is still scope for significant further growth. Our northern
nation neighbours are obvious partners in this. Scotland is taking an
increasingly prominent role in the work of the Arctic Circle Assembly
and associated cooperation, and I believe there are clear benefits for
us all by forming closer ties.”

In memory of Professor George Olah, member of CRI's Board of Advisors

Professor George Olah, Nobel laureate and member of CRI's Board of Advisors, passed away at his home in Beverly Hills, California on March 8th 2017 at the age of 89. CRI's first industrial scale CO2-to-methanol production plant in Iceland, which was inaugurated in 2012, was named in honor of Professor Olah. He was awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry in 1994 for his contribution to carbocation chemistry. (Picture credit: USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Professor Olah was an early promoter of methanol as an alternative fuel and advocated the development of direct CO2-to-methanol synthesis technology. His influential book "Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy" popularized the idea of methanol as an energy carrier and carbon neutral replacement for fossil transport fuels.  Olah argued that methanol synthesized from CO2 and hydrogen could reduce the world's dependence on fossil hydrocarbons and usher in a new era of carbon neutral transportation and chemistry. 

Since 1979 Professor Olah directed the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at the University of Southern California (USC), where he helped to develop direct methanol fuel cells and catalysts enabling CO2 capture from ambient air. 

Professor Olah was born in Hungary in 1927 and studied chemistry at the Technical University of Budapest. After the Hungarian uprising in 1956, Olah fled to England and continued on to Canada, eventually settling in the United States. After a career in industrial research at Dow Chemical Co. in Michigan he joined the faculty of Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1977 he and members of his research team, including Professor Surya Prakash, Professor Olah's closest collaborator and member of CRI's Board of Advisors, moved to USC in Los Angeles, California.

Professor Olah will be missed by his friends and admirers from around the world. The CRI team owes a debt of gratitude to Professor Olah for his inspiration, encouragement and support and extends condolences to his family and colleagues.