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23.05.2024 | Research

Project start: Methanol as a fuel

A new literature study deals with the diverse potentials and challenges of methanol as an alternative fuel. The aim of the study is to analyze in detail the suitability of methanol for engine use, taking into account chemical, physical and safety aspects. In view of the urgent need to reduce emissions in the transport sector and develop sustainable fuel alternatives, methanol could play an important role in the energy transition.

The study will take an in-depth look at the chemical and physical properties of methanol. These include its flame properties, material compatibility with regard to the base materials and components used, as well as its safety and hazardous substance properties in comparison to conventional hydrocarbons. The mixing and dissolution behavior of methanol with other fuels and its interaction with lubricating oils are also being investigated.

Another central focus of the study is the consideration of various engine and fuel concepts that use methanol:

  • Considered engine sizes/application areas: Heavy-duty, on/off-road to marine engines (high-speed, medium-speed and low-speed)
  • Methanol-diesel concept
  • Methanol with spark ignition (gasoline engine)
  • Methanol-diesel emulsion
  • Methanol with ignition improver
  • Special firing processes (HCCI)
  • Comparison of motorized application to fuel cells

Another important aspect will be the analysis of the existing infrastructure and the necessary adjustments to make methanol usable as a fuel across the board. The storage and transportation of methanol differs in part from conventional hydrocarbons, which requires adjustments in logistics. The study will also examine the availability and market weighting of methanol in the automotive and maritime sectors and develop scenarios for the expansion of the methanol infrastructure.

The project was initiated by the members of the DGMK expert committee on fuels and the results can help to comprehensively assess the feasibility and advantages of methanol as a fuel and identify ways to successfully implement it.

Research Center:

FVTR GmbH Research Center for Combustion Engines & Thermodynamics Rostock GmbH