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Debate: Methanol fuel

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What are the pros and cons of Methanol fuel?

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Is Methanol attractive as a fuel?

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Yes

  • Methanol can be produced renewably and domestically. - While most of the methanol today is produced from natural gas, methanol can also be prepared through processes that takes hydrogen, CO2 and energy as their input - Green Methanol Synthesis. When the energy comes from renewable sources, hydrogen from the electrolysis of water and the CO2 from atmosphere, the methanol produced in this way is a true renewable fuel (renewable energy carrier).
  • Methanol is easy to handle and store. - As opposed to hydrogen, methanol is a liquid in a wide range of ambient temperatures and under atmospheric pressure. Therefore it can be easily stored and handled in a way similar to gasoline; no high-pressure tanks necessary, no need to cool it down in order to liquefy it.
  • Methanol can be used directly as a fuel in fuel cells. - Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC), while not yet ready for large scale production use, hold promise to efficiently produce electricity from methanol and oxygen in air.




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No

  • Methanol has lower energy content than other fuels. - The volumetric energy density of methanol is around 18 MJ/litre, while e.g. for gasoline it is substantially higher - around 32 MJ/litre. Ethanol is also better than methanol in this respect - it contains more than 23 MJ/litre. This makes methanol less attractive notably for automotive applications, where lower volumetric energy density translates to lower mileage and necessitates a larger tank.





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Safety: Is Methanol safe?

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Yes

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No

  • Methanol is highly poisonous. - As little as 10ml of methanol can cause blindness, with around 100ml being the fatal dose for most adults. Apart from ingestion, methanol can be also absorbed through the skin or its vapours breathed through lungs.





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Yes

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No

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