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Will Methanol Fuel Cell Vehicle Kill the Hydrogen Car?


Will the methanol fuel cell vehicle (pictured above) kill the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle? In September 2015, the first methanol (wood alcohol) fueling station was opened in Europe. The station is located in Aalborg, Denmark.

Some of the advantages of methanol fuel cell vehicles are:

  • Methanol is a liquid and can be easily transported
  • Methanol can be produced from local, renewable resources
  • Methanol can be produced cheaper than gasoline
  • Methanol fuel cell vehicles can have a range of around 500 miles
  • Methanol fueling pumps can be easily integrated into existing gasoline stations
  • To the consumer, refueling with methanol is very similar to gasoline

On the downside, methanol fuel cell cars are not zero emission vehicles as some CO2 is emitted during operation.

So, will methanol FCEV’s dominate the future landscape of transportation?

According to Jørgen Wisborg, Managing Director at OK, “This hybrid solution is our way of including the electrical car into the transport sector, and we believe that this is one of many ways. We do not want to single out one final winner among the future’s energy technologies for the transport sector, on the contrary we believe that we are going to see more than one technology.”

This is my belief, too. The future won’t be hydrogen cars or battery electric cars or methanol FCEVs. The future will be hydrogen cars AND battery electric vehicles AND methanol FCEVs plus a handful of other alternative fuel vehicles. What is for certain is that we need to #keepitintheground in regard to fossil fuels.




About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. I believe that methanol fuel cells could be a great solution for lawnmowers, snowblowers, golf carts, and other devices that wouldn’t regularly travel to a hydrogen fueling station.

    The issue with methanol is that it is highly toxic and soluble in water, so a major spill could quickly contaminate a reservoir or aquifer, so replacing the entire gasoline infrastructure with methanol is hazardous to the environment.

  2. Hydro Kevin Kantola

    Hi Dave, thanks for the link and the reminder that methanol is indeed a hazardous material and needs to be handled with great care.

  3. For releases into soil, surface water or groundwater, methanol has a half-life of just one
    to seven days, and given its high rate of biodegradation, methanol spills are not likely to
    persist. Methanol is used extensively in the nation’s wastewater treatment facilities to
    reverse the damaging effects of nitrate buildup in sensitive aquifers and waterways by
    accelerating biodegradation. As a flammable and toxic chemical, caution must be
    exercised to avoid contact with methanol.

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