Application of Synthetic Renewable Methanol to Power the Future Propulsion

Annukka Santasalo-Aarnio, Judit Nyari, Michal Wojcieszyk, Ossi Kaario, Yuri Kroyan, Mohamed Magdeldin, Martti Larmi, Mika Järvinen

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As CO2 emissions from traffic must be reduced and fossil-based traffic fuels need to phase out, bio-based traffic fuels alone cannot meet the future demand due to their restricted availability. Another way to support fossil phase-out is to include synthetic fuels that are produced from circular carbon sources with renewable energy. Several different fuel types have been proposed, while, methanol only requires little processing from raw materials and could be used directly or as a drop-in fuel for some of the current engine fleet. CO2 emissions arising from fuel production are significantly reduced for synthetic renewable methanol compared to the production of fossil gasoline. Methanol has numerous advantages over the currently used fossil fuels with high RON and flame speed in spark-ignition engines as well as high efficiency and low emissions in combustion ignition engines. Feasible options for engine development or upgrading for methanol have been presented separately in the past work but not considering the whole value chain. The results indicate that high concentration methanol blends will increase significantly tank-to-wheel efficiency, lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions, while their volumetric fuel consumption will increase compared to gasoline, due to the low calorific content of methanol. The work visualizes the impact on CO2 emissions for methanol-fueled transport applications and overall suitability for propulsion. For marine sector, successful demonstrations reveal high maturity of engine technology using methanol fuel. This work also highlights further development needs of synthetic renewable methanol to become a sustainable future transport fuel.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalSAE Technical Papers
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventSAE International Powertrains, Fuels and Lubricants Meeting - Virtual, Krakow, Poland
Duration: 22 Sept 202024 Sept 2020


  • power to X
  • methanol
  • future fuels


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