Methanol Prices Going UP!

February 25, 2008

acat.org logoI ran into another biodiesel fella at talk put on by the Alaska Center for Appropriate Technology (who also organize the yearly Bioneers conference) out at Mat-Su College last weekend, he told me that methanol was running over $400 per 55 gallon drum, and that it “almost wasn’t worth it” to make biodiesel.

I called around Anchorage, and my usual source at Inlet Petroluem indeed quoted $435, or nearly $8 a gallon for a drum, larger quantities get discount, as usual. My backup supplier, wholesale only, is at Univar, and thankfully they quoted $325.88 for a drum, or around $6 a gallon. This is still way up from the $200 we were paying 2 years ago, or the $250 is was selling for last year.

This equals out to an average of $1.50 in methanol for every gallon of biodiesel made, whew!

It reinforces my intent to setup a methanol recovery system and to try using ethanol instead. I’ve heard the ethanol process is a bit trickier, since it’s a larger molecule, but we can make ethanol at home, right?

Does anyone in Southcentral have a methanol recovery system up and running, or has anyone locally made a successful batch with ethanol? Maybe the Fairbanks coop has taken a shot at these?!

Veg On!

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