NITI Aayog preparing roadmap for full-scale methanol economy

The NITI Aayog on Tuesday said it was working on a roadmap for full-scale implementation of methanol economy in the country in near future, which would not only curb pollution, but reduce India’s dependence on oil imports as well.

On the World Environment Day, the government think-tank said it had already drawn out a comprehensive plan to replace 20 per cent of crude imports using methanol alone, adding that adopting methanol in such a scale would bring down pollution in the country by more than 40 per cent.

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.

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.

Methanol is a clean burning drop in fuel which can replace both petrol & diesel in transportation & LPG, Wood, Kerosene in cooking fuel. It can also replace diesel in Railways, Marine Sector, Gensets, Power Generation and Methanol based reformers could be an ideal complement to Hybrid and Electric Mobility.

Methanol is a scalable and sustainable fuel, that can be produced from a variety of feedstocks like Natural Gas, Coal (Indian High Ash Coal), Bio-mass, Municipal Solid waste and most importantly from CO2.

Methanol burns efficiently in all internal combustion engines, produces no particulate matter, no soot, almost nil SOX and NOX emissions (NEAR ZERO POLLUTION). The gaseous version of Methanol – DME can blended with LPG and can be excellent substitute for diesel in Large buses and trucks.

Methanol 15 % blend (M15) in petrol will reduce pollution by 33% & diesel replacement by methanol will reduce by more than 80%.

Other major area where methanol can reduce pollution is the Energy sector. India has an installed capacity of 22000 MW on HFO (Heavy fuel oil) alone. HFO is one of the dirtiest fuel and most countries of the world have abandoned it. The entire HFO usage can be replaced by Methanol. Power Modules of Mobile Towers (about 750000) in India can fully be replaced by Methanol Reformer / Fuel Cell based platforms in the next two years. Diesel industrial Gensets, Gas Turbines running on Naptha, LFOI (Light Fuel Oil) and other dirty fuels can also be fully replaced. Industrial boilers which are running on diesel will also be replaced with Methanol.

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.

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