SGS Inspire prepared a report for the Methanol Institute titled “Methanol: Properties and Uses,” providing an explanation of the main physical and chemical properties of methanol, as well as how these properties affect the different types of existing internal combustion engines in the market.
The report provides a summary of an analysis of physical properties of 19 samples of gasoline and methanol, as well as co-solvents ethanol, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and tertbutyl alcohol (TBA) in different blending ratios.
In total, 203 properties were analyzed in the laboratory, for a total of 3,857 tests. The results of these tests showed the following:
There is no copper corrosion in methanol gasoline blends, just some light tarnish.
Density values of the different blends are within the European standards limits.
Gasoline-methanol blends evaporate faster at a lower temperature when methanol and ethanol are added to gasoline.
RVP increases with the addition of methanol and ethanol in low and middle blends (up to 25 % vol.) but decreases when the methanol content reaches 56 % vol. and higher.
Methanol or ethanol addition in gasoline does not have a significant impact on electrical conductivity despite the fact that both alcohols are electrically conductive.
Methanol does not contain gum, and therefore high methanol blends have barely none existent gum in the fuel, which favors the functioning of induction-systems.
Octane increases when methanol is added to gasoline. RON is approximately 100 when methanol is between 10 % vol. and 25 % vol.
All low and medium blends (up to 30 % vol. of methanol and ethanol combined) have a similar calorific value to gasoline, which makes them suitable fuels for SI engines. For higher methanol blends, starting at 50 % vol. methanol, calorific value drops significantly, resulting in less efficient fuels for SI engines.
Water content in tested methanol gasoline blends is negligible.
Future Fuel Strategies prepared a primer report for the MI titled, “Methanol: A Future-Proof Fuel,” offering a status report and overview of methanol and its current uses in vehicle transportation fuels and its role in future fuels as well.
Methanol is increasingly being used around the world in several innovative applications to meet growing demand for energy, particularly in transport. The primer presents methanol’s fuel quality benefits, addresses concerns about the use of methanol, the history of methanol blending in fuels, and its future potential as a renewable fuel capable of significantly reducing CO2 emissions.
Low levels of methanol can be blended with gasoline and used in the existing fleet of vehicles. Mid-level blends of methanol as high octane fuels can provide potential efficiency gains of 40-45%, significantly greater than typical 25-30% gains from turbocharged diesel engines or hybrid vehicles, and at a much more affordable cost. Neat methanol can also be used in optimized vehicles as a substitute for either gasoline or diesel fuel in both spark-ignition and combustion-ignition engines.
The Methanol Institute serves as the trade association for the global methanol industry.