Methanol in Automotive Fuel
As environmental standards become more stringent and the amount of technology needed for gasoline and diesel fueled automobiles to become environmentally compliant increases, alternative fuels are becoming more attractive.
Methanol for direct blending with gasoline
Methanol is a clean burning liquid that can be cost competitive with gasoline and diesel prices, especially as environmental emission standards become more rigorous. Methanol can be blended into gasoline at percentages lower than 15% (“M15”) or in flexible fuel vehicle engines at higher percentages from 85% to 100% (“M85-M100”). Methanol also can be used directly in dedicated methanol fueled vehicles.
As opposed to gasoline and diesel, volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) such as benzene and xylene and particulate matter emissions are eliminated while NOx emissions are greatly reduced. Methanol is also a sulfur free fuel, emitting zero SOx. As methanol is less reactive with the atmosphere, the amount of ground-level ozone is reduced.
Methanol as fuel is cost competitive with gasoline and diesel fuels.
Methanol is a high performance and efficient fuel, when used in dedicated methanol vehicles, it is as efficient as diesel and 25-30% more efficient than conventional automobiles operating on gasoline.
M15 blends can be used in conventional vehicles, and only minor modifications are necessary for higher percentages of methanol (M85-M100) to be used as fuel.
Modification of engines to run on methanol cost less than 0.5% that of a new vehicle.
In the 1990s, methanol was tested as an alternative fuel in the U.S. resulting in the production of methanol compatible vehicles with over 21,000 by 1997.
In conjunction with the Israeli government, DOR Chemicals began a methanol pilot testing program in early 2012. Results of the "M15 one million km" pilot test proved the viability of using M15 as a conventional transportation fuel in regular vehicles without any negative impacts to drivability or emissions.
Methanol is becoming a common oxygenate globally in places like the European Union, Australia, Israel and China. China’s methanol use in the transportation sector grew from virtually zero to a point where it has replaced nearly 10% of the country’s gasoline demand, with certain cars running on M100. In September 2015, Europe’s first methanol filling station opened in Denmark.
GEM Fuel is a blend of gasoline, bio-ethanol, and bio-methanol. GEM is a sustainable and high performance race fuel, most notably used in the World Rally Championship. Natgasoline is a GEM fuel partner.