Gas Technologies LLC founder Walter Breidenstein said Tuesday that work is continuing on a portable demonstration unit of the company’s technology.

Walloon Lake-based GasTechno has developed a uniquely efficient, low-cost way of turning methane gas into burnable methanol fuel. The unit that demonstrates the technology will retail for around $250,000 when it hits the market. And over five years, studies show it will produce between $250,000 and $1.25 million worth of methanol. (The lower figure assumes an input of 10,000 cubic feet of methane gas a day, which Breidenstein described as “a leaky well.” The higher figure assumes an input of 50,000 cubic feet of gas per day. “The more gas we can get, the better,” he said.)

The process also produces formaldehyde as a co-product, a key industrial chemical used in plastics and building materials, and with additional “add-on” process technology the plant can produce ethanol, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, DME and other fuels and chemicals.

Breidenstein says he’s seeking equipment or investor financing for future plants to get them into customer locations, and to complete several more mobile demonstration units.

He said the current unit under construction will go to work transforming methane gas to methanol, ethanol and formaldehyde at local landfills, dairy farms and gas wells around
Breidenstein said he’s building the demonstration unit because after years of talking to huge petrochemical companies and venture capitalists, he decided, “Let’s take this technology directly to the people — to farmers, small oil operations, municipalities.”

He said there are several buyers for methanol in Michigan, starting with giant Dow Chemical, and also buyers for formaldehyde too — “Georgia Pacific in Grayling is a big user of it, so is the auto industry,” he said.
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