Government mulling over methanol-petrol fuel blend

Words: Ganesh Murthy

The government has given a serious thought towards introduction of methanol petrol blend in India that will reduce the fuel costs and pollution as quoted by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways of India. The government is working on a proposition to blend 15 per cent of methanol in petrol which will cut down costs. Petrol costs around Rs 80 per litre and methanol made from coal costs around Rs 22 per litre, which will have a positive impact on the multiple factors including pollution according to the minister. The move will also be beneficial in shifting towards Euro VI norms to be incorporated by 2020.

Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is derived from coal. Petrol or gasoline (E10) has 10 per cent of ethanol content. Methanol has properties similar to that of ethanol. Methanol also has the advantage of lower production costs as it is manufactured from carbon based resources like natural gas or coal and has lower flammability than petrol which is an important safety aspect. Methanol was already used as an alternative fuel in the 1990s and multiple research activities have been conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and National Renewable Energy Laboratory in USA.

But the use was stopped as automobile manufacturers ceased to make vehicle compatible with methanol as fuel. Methanol has only half the energy equivalent of petrol and the low energy content might pose a problem during cold starts. It also causes knocking in engines if blended with petrol. Knocking is the premature ignition of air-fuel mixture primarily caused due to mismatch of the quality of fuel and the engine’s compression ratio that can cause damage to the engine.  But methanol blended with premium gasoline with high octane numbers, will improve the distribution better as methanol has a higher octane number of 112 than regular gasoline or petrol (E10) which has an octane number of 83 to 93. The maximum octane number for petrol available in India is 99.

Watch out to this space for more upcoming info on the fuel-blend.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Evo India