Growing recognition of the threat posed by man-made climate change has spurred government institutions, industry, and science to find clean fuels to power economic activity. Government legislation on emissions has created challenges for those who need to comply, opening new markets and opportunities for alternative fuels, including methanol.
In 2018, the European Parliament, Council and Commission agreed on the Renewable Energy Directive II (RED II), requiring 14% renewable energy to be used in transport by 2030. In total, 66 countries have put targets or mandates in place. Besides the EU-27, 14 countries in the Americas, 12 countries in Asia Pacific, 11 in Africa and 2 in non-EU countries in Europe all have implemented biofuels adoption policies, some as high as 15 to 27%2 *.
In this context, methanol has risen as a clean alternative to fossil fuels, offering a clear pathway to drastically cutting emissions in power generation, overland transportation, shipping, and industry. Methanol is an outstanding energy delivery mechanism and may therefore be considered as a unique storage medium for sustainable energy. As a result, methanol has become one of the largest commodities and methanol demand is expected to continue to grow. There is a well-established worldwide production with methanol plants in Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Middle East. Worldwide, over 90 methanol plants have a combined yearly production capacity of about 110 million metric tons (almost 36.6 billion gallons or 138 billion litres). According to renewable methanol provider Nordic Green, the global methanol market exceeds 100 million tons in 2020. The first year that the 100 million tons (125 million m3) barrier was broken**.
The fuel applied for Serene fuel cells is a pre-mix consisting of 60 % methanol and 40 % demineralized and de-ionized water (on a volume basis). This mixture provides many advantages as an energy-carrier, since it is less flammable than pure methanol and, therefore cheaper to transport. Moreover, there is no water condenser needed, which again means lower weight, higher efficiency, and lower cost compared to pure methanol.
The cleanest methanol variant is defined as green or renewable methanol: Bio-methanol or E-methanol (see illustration below on this page). Compared to conventional fuels, renewable methanol cuts carbon dioxide emissions by up to 95%, reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80%, and eliminates sulphur oxide and particulate matter emissions. Both methanols are available by Advent Technologies A/S.