TEHRAN ¨C The new dimethyl ether (DME) fuel produced by Research Institute for Petroleum Industry (RIPI) after three research studies is ready to be introduced to the market.
Official in charge of commercialization of the new fuel at Research Institute for Petroleum Industry told Petroenergy Information Network that DME production process is, in fact, changing gas to liquid and fuel products by taking advantage of modern technologies through chemical methods.
Hamid Reza Bakhtiari added that Research Institute for Petroleum Industry, as the main research body affiliated to the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum, which is active in upstream and downstream fields, has worked for three years to assess various aspects of the new fuel from production up to marketing.
Referring to specifications of DME, he added that physical properties of this fuel are very similar to LPG and its combustion does not produce air pollution. ˇ°It is nontoxic, does not produce fumes, contains low CO2 and entails much lower environmental contamination.ˇ±
Bakhtiari stated that, at present, Iran consumed 1.67 million tons liquefied petroleum gas per year, adding, ˇ°If liquid gas cylinders are filled up with a mixture of 80 percent LPG and 20 percent DME, 400,000 tons DME can be sold at domestic market without any need to change gas filling systems. In this way, we can save 335,000 tons LPG per year, which will amount to more than one billion dollars per year.ˇ±
The official further noted that Iran is contemplating a five-year and comprehensive research plan on DME, which will enjoy various dimensions and, thus far, feasibility studies with regard to technical and technological properties have been carried out.
ˇ°The National Iranian Oil Company, as the authority in charge of fuel cycle in the country, is in a good position to introduce DME to the market as a good substitute for LPG,ˇ± he said.
Bakhtiari further noted that since share of natural gas in global energy basket has increased, demand for clean fuel has also risen and many countries are trying to introduce such a fuel into the market.
ˇ°Some areas like central parts of China have been already using that fuel for 4-5 years,ˇ± he said.
Bakhtiari further noted that introducing DME to international market is one of the main challenges facing widespread consumption of this new fuel.
ˇ°The world markets will be ready to consume DME in 2010 and Japan is one of the most prepared of those markets. A lot of research has also been conducted by Southeast Asian nations in 1990s to introduce DME as a new fuel. However, Iran, as one of the main sources of natural gas in the world, is ready to pioneer those efforts,ˇ± he said.
At present, a semi-industrial DME project with a capacity of 2,500 barrels is underway in Assaluyeh region and a plant, with projected capacity of 800,000 tons per year, is to be established in the near future, which will greatly increase added value of natural gas.
Source: Shana News