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Methanol-fuelled engine


Technology Description

Methanol engines (so-called ''M100'', as vehicles fuelled by 100% methanol) are similar in design to gasoline engines, with moderate changes: material compatibility to prevent corrosion, adapted injection system, a dedicated cold start device and strategy, and adapted after-treatment for exhaust gas. Due to the high octane of the fuel, methanol engines can benefit from a high compression ratio, thus increasing thermal efficiency, possibly up to higher levels than for diesel engines. Methanol engines generate very low particulate emissions levels due to the molecule's specificity of having a single carbon atom - just as in the case of methane. The methanol is in liquid form at standard temperature and pressure, making it relatively easy to handle and store, although it is toxic for humans.
Methanol can be produced as a biofuel or as a synthetic fuel (from electrolysis from low-carbon electricity with a carbon source). However, the availability of sustainably sourced biomass to produce methanol is limited.

Relevance for Net Zero

The availability of sustainably sourced biomass to produce methanol is limited and the cost of producing methanol as a synthetic fuel is quite high relative to alternative low-emission fuel options for transport.

Key Countries


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