Methanol Economy – Understanding it all - Seeker's Thoughts

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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Methanol Economy – Understanding it all


Methanol Economy – The Origin 
The Concept of “Methanol Economy” is being actively pursued by China, Italy, Sweden, Israel, US, Australia, Japan and many other European countries. 10% of fuel in China in transport Sector is Methanol. Methanol Economy, if adopted by India can be one of the best ways to mitigate the Environmental hazards of a growing economy. NITI Aayog is preparing a road map for a full-scale implementation in the near future. 




A potential Fuel

Methanol has the potential to be an enduring solution to human energy needs is because the beltched out C02 (greenhouse gas emission) both from using Methanol and while producing Methanol can be tapped back to produce Methanol. Thereby a seamless loop of CO2 sequestration cycle is created to perpetually burn fuels without polluting the environment at all. C02 from steel plants, Thermal Power plants, Cement Plants etc. can be tapped in large quantities to produce Methanol.

Methanol is a promising fuel as it is clean, cheaper than fossil fuels and a good substitute for heavy fuels. India imports methanol from Saudi Arabia and Iran at present. Across the world, methanol is emerging as a clean, sustainable transportation fuel of the future.



Reasons

Methanol can be used as an energy producing fuel, transportation fuel and cooking fuel, cutting down India’s oil import bill by an estimated 20% over the next few years. Unlike CNG, using methanol as a transportation fuel would require minimal alteration in the vehicles.

Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions — such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter — and can improve air quality and related human health issues.

Methanol is most commonly produced on a commercial scale from natural gas. It can also be produced from renewable sources such as biomass and recycled carbon dioxide.

As a high-octane vehicle fuel, methanol offers excellent acceleration and power. It also improves vehicle efficiency.



 NITI Aayog- and Methanol Economy

This is India’s first step towards realizing the concept of ‘Methanol Economy’, the flagship programme of NITI Aayog. Through the programme, the NITI Aayog has been working on a roadmap to replace 20% of the country’s crude imports through methanol alone.

Under the pilot project, stove and methanol canister will be made available in a limited scale. The methanol cooking fuel will be available in canisters of 1.2 kg capacity each, which will be priced at around Rs 32 and around 18 of them would be equivalent to one conventional domestic LPG cylinder.

The technology for the canister and the special burner has been provided by Sweden. In two months, APL will start commercial production of methanol-based cooking fuel. Initially the product will be made available for the northeastern region.