Last week, the mayor of Aalborg, Denmark officially opened the first methanol refueling station for range extended fuel cell vehicles. The station is an initiative of the Green Methanol Infrastructure Consortium, a cooperation between Danish petrol company OK a.m.b.a., Hamag and Serenergy. The station is the first of its kind in Europe.
The ceremony was attended by MI EU Chief Representative Eelco Dekker. As part of the programme, Serenergy had organized a Methanol workshop, during which MI gave a presentation about the global methanol industry, and energy applications in particular.
Denmark aims to be free of fossil fuels by 2050. Electric vehicles are considered a potential pathway to achieve this objective. One of the major challenges with electrical cars however, is their limited range.
Danish fuel cell company Serenergy, addresses this problem by incorporating methanol powered fuel cell as a range extender to charge the batteries during the journey.
“The methanol fuel cell we have developed at Serenergy can solve the problem of limited reach for electrical cars,” says Mads Friis Jensen, Commercial Group Manager at Serenergy. He adds “The fuel cell works as a range extender and in principle it can, be installed in any electrical vehicle. By refueling with liquid methanol to power the fuel cell, the reach of the car is extended significantly.”
According to Serenergy the methanol driven electrical car can run up to 800 kilometers on one filling. It takes about the same time to refuel a car as with regular gasoline, but at lower fuel prices.
A methanol driven electrical car is a modern take on the hybrid car. It runs on renewable methanol, which is transformed into electricity in a fuel cell and without particle emissions. The methanol is currently being supplied by MI member, Carbon Recycling International.
Practical, user friendly solution
The relatively low investment required to establish a methanol refueling network compared to other energy sources is significant to 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,” says Jørgen Wisborg, Managing Director at OK.
“At OK, we are focused on finding out how to employ sustainable energy sources to replace fossil fuels,” says Jørgen Wisborg. He continues “One of the advantages of using methanol is that we can use it in our current distribution system, which is familiar to our consumers. The future refueling station is operated in the exact same way as a traditional refueling station, where you drive up to the fuel pump and insert the pump into the closed circuit and fill up in the exact same way as in a regular filling station.”
With methanol, the consumers will be able to refuel in the exact same easy and secure way as they always have.
Because methanol can be produced from local, sustainable renewable resources, and because it is a liquid, it is to easy to handle and can be used in the existing infrastructure.