Is Methanol better than Hydrogen for the Energy Transition?

Methanol is currently being touted a fuel with special application in Energy Transition due to several advantages

-the fuel can be produced in a CO2-neutralmanner in the so-called power-to-X process, in which CO2 is captured from the air.

-The energy density of methanol is high compared to other sustainable fuels and, thanks to its liquid state, it can be easily stored and refuelled at ambient temperatures.

One big advantages Methanol has it that existing infrastructure can continue to be used in many cases.

-Unlike ammonia, methanol is not highl ytoxic and is environmentally safe.

- The combustion of methanol in a pure methanol engine can be climate-neutral with significantly reduced nitrogen oxide emissions, thus eliminating the need for complex SCR exhaust gas aftertreatment.

-Methanol tanks can be flexibly arranged in the ship and require significantly lower safety measures compared to hydrogen or ammonia.

Finally, methanol is not only suitable for use in combustion engines but also in combination with emission-free fuel cells:

For example, with the help of a reformer, hydrogen can be produced from methanol, which can then be used in fuel cells to generate electricity.

As a diesel replacement fuel, methanol is emerging as a clean, sustainable transportation fuel of the future.

Methanol can be blended with gasoline in low-quantities and used in existing road vehicles, or it can be used in high-proportion blends such as M85 in flex-fuel vehicles or M100 in dedicated methanol-fuelled vehicles as a substitute for gasoline or diesel.

As Methanol is a clean-burning fuel it produces fewer smog-causing emissions — such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter

Methanol is also one of the top five chemical commodities shipped around the world each year, and unlike some alternative fuels, is readily accessible through existing global terminal infrastructure.

With the growing demand for cleaner marine fuel, methanol is currently the leading alternative fuel for ships that helps the shipping industry meet increasingly strict emissions regulations.

Research is striving to rapidly scale up methanol availability in terms of infrastructure and onboard applications and installations.

McKinsey predicts that five years from now, we will see ships that are running on new kinds of zero-carbon fuels such as methanol and the supply chain enabled to actually demonstrate that ships can run on these new fuel and energy sources.