The most practical and efficient way to reduce emissions and reach carbon neutrality is through clean methanol produced from sustainable and renewable sources. The benefits of methanol fuel are real and have been demonstrated in several applications throughout the world for decades. A path to a future that is greener and more sustainable is provided by methanol fuel options.
Due to its high octane rating and high heat of vaporization, using methanol as a fuel in spark-ignition engines can provide better thermal efficiency and increased power output (in comparison to gasoline).
Methanol can be produced from carbon dioxide
Methanol has significant energy and hydrogen storage capacity and is used to synthesize and reformulate fuels. The demand for methanol on a global scale has been rising rapidly in recent years, exceeding the capacity for methanol production, which stands at about 100 million tons annually.
Methanol is now made industrially by hydrogenating carbon monoxide (CO) over copper-zinc catalysts. Syngas, a mixture of CO and hydrogen used in the production of methanol, typically contains a sizable quantity of CO2.
According to the demonstration units, the heterogeneous catalyst-based methanol synthesis technique from CO2 has matured to a relatively high degree. 4000 tons of methanol from CO2 are already produced annually by a demonstration facility in Iceland.
Cars that use methanol as fuel
The Methanol Hybrid Emgrand combines methanol with NordThor Power hybrid technology, two of Geely Auto’s most environmentally friendly and sustainable powertrain options, to produce extremely low emissions and low operating costs.
The vehicle is powered by a 100kW (134HP) electric motor and a 1.8L naturally aspirated methanol engine that together provide a total 197kW (264HP) and 495 Nm of torque. The 1.8L methanol engine produces 97kW (130HP) of power and 175 Nm of maximum torque. The engine and strong e-motor are coupled to a 3-speed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (DHT). This transmission ensures smooth cruising by using the engine as a range-extender with the e-motor powering the wheels, and it provides bursts of power for high-speed overtakes with a transmission gear ratio that provides up to 4920Nm of output torque.
The 1.8L methanol engine can run at maximum efficiency and emit fewer pollutants because it only provides power to the wheels at high speeds and acts as a range extender at low speeds. It takes 8.8 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h, and 9 L (WLTP) of clean methanol are used for every 100 miles.
When compared to gasoline, the cost of Methanol is a viable, more affordable alternative to the world’s rising gas prices.
Problems to be solved
Because methanol and ethanol burn at lower temperatures and are less volatile than gasoline, starting an engine in cold weather is more challenging.
Similar to hydrogen/oxygen combustion engines, the extra water created makes the charge rather wet. Additionally, because acidic products are formed during combustion, valve, valve seat, and cylinder wear may be greater than with hydrocarbon burning. The gasoline may be supplemented with specific additives to neutralize these acids.
Like ethanol, methanol has soluble and insoluble impurities. These soluble impurities, halide ions like chloride ions, significantly affect how corrosive alcohol fuels are. Halide ions cause pitting corrosion by chemically attacking passivating oxide coatings on a variety of metals, and they also make the fuel more conductive. Elevated electrical conductivity encourages conventional, galvanic, and electric fuel system corrosion. Over time, soluble pollutants like aluminum hydroxide, which is a byproduct of halide ion corrosion, choke the fuel system. Methanol-compatible materials and gasoline additives that act as corrosion inhibitors have been developed to address methanol’s corrosivity.
Methanol will directly absorb water vapor from the atmosphere since it is hygroscopic. Containers of methanol fuels must be maintained firmly closed since absorbed water reduces the fuel value of the methanol (although it lowers engine knock) and may induce phase separation of methanol-gasoline mixes.