Published on June 14th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
China’s Geely Auto To Keep Testing Methanol Fuel
Geely Continues Its Development In Methanol Fuel Technology
Geely Auto has been pushing investment into the research and development of methanol fuel and vehicles since early 2005. For the past 16 years their engineers have been exploring ways of building a more sustainable mobility ecosystem and now Geely has become a leader in methanol fuel technology.
Rich in coal, poor in oil, and low on gas, that’s the situation for China today. Carbon or its compressed form, coal is the main raw material for the production of methanol and China accounts for more than 33 percent of the world’s supply.
This abundance allows China to control the price of methanol fuel. In its raw form, coal remains a dirty source of energy, but through new technologies, dirty coal can be transformed to clean methanol. Compared with conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel, methanol burns cleaner, significantly reducing emissions of CO, HC and NOx with almost no particulate emissions. In 2017, the global methanol production capacity was around 110 million tons with China producing 83.5 million of that total.
Geely Auto’s Emgrand M100, the world’s first mass produced methanol vehicles have been operated by Carbon Recycling International (CRI) on Icelandic roads. Iceland-based Carbon Recycling International, which is invested in by Geely Holding Group, is the world leader in power to methanol technology. They produce renewable methanol using recycled carbon dioxide emissions derived from a local thermal power plant and hydrogen made by splitting water with electrolysis.
The methanol fleet test is a collaboration between Geely, CRI and Brimborg, a local dealership and automotive service provider.
In the recently concluded first phase of the fleet test, the cars were driven over 150,000 kilometers over an 18-month period. Among drivers testing the vehicles were CRI staff and members of the Icelandic Automobile Association as well as several local automotive service providers. The participants reported virtually no difference in driving experience compared to regular gasoline or diesel fueled cars.
Just a day ago, Sunday, Geely chairman Li Shufu made this statement, “We will keep exploring methanol vehicle technologies. Of course it might fail in the end, but currently we are still working on it,” Li told an industry conference in the western city of Chongqing, without elaborating.
Methanol fuel would boost China’s energy independence as the country has huge amounts of coal, which can be converted to methanol. Geely’s Li has also said he expects methanol vehicles to be cleaner than gasoline models.
Li did not offer details of the technology. He has told Reuters that Geely would expand production of methanol-powered vehicles.
Zhejiang-based Geely, among a small number of automakers developing methanol-powered vehicles, is testing methanol taxis in some western Chinese cities as well as developing methanol-powered trucks at its commercial vehicles unit.
Li said Geely, which owns Volvo Cars and 9.7% stake in Daimler AG, invested in Carbon Recycling International, an Icelandic company, to work on technologies to produce methanol with carbon dioxide, in a way to lower overall carbon emissions.