Methanol is traditionally made from wood and is also called wood alcohol. Methanol is a very flexible fuel that can be blended directly with petrol to improve combustion properties, but can also be used as the fuel in fuel cells. Methanol is currently produced mainly from natural gas, but in time will also be produced from a number of renewable energy sources such as biomass/biogas, refuse or wind energy. In the last-mentioned case surplus wind power can be stored as liquid methanol, thereby saving electricity for later use.
Methanol and fuel cells is a good match
As methanol is an excellent fuel for fuel cells it can be a future alternative to fossil fuels in the transport sector. Methanol used in fuel cells is highly efficient and in many cases makes twice as good use of energy as a combustion engine. Another asset is that methanol is produced as a liquid that can be easily stored and handled by the existing distribution system.
Methanol can be a sustainable fuel if it is produced from biomass resources. Bio methanol is methanol produced from biomass or the biodegradable element of waste (e.g. waste timber). The CO2, discharged from the fuel cell thus does not negatively impact the climate balance.
Methanol and safety
Methanol is toxic and must be used with care. However, there is considerable experience from using methanol in the chemical industry. The methanol used in EcoMotion is blended with water (40% water - 60 % methanol), and is therefore considered to be less flammable than petrol. Methanol also presents the advantage that it degrades much faster in the environment, with the help of micro organisms.