Methanol as a Hydrogen Carrier

As the global economy prepares for an energy transition that will change the future of energy landscapes, new alternative fuels are coming to the fore.  Hydrogen has been gaining traction as a clean alternative fuel as it only emits water upon combustion.  However, there are a number of inherent challenges with the production, handling, and consumption of hydrogen with the state of technology today.  It is still expensive to produce clean hydrogen from renewable sources.  As a gas, hydrogen also requires capital-intensive infrastructure for its storage and transport.

Methanol is tomorrow’s hydrogen, today.  It is an extremely efficient hydrogen carrier, packing more hydrogen in one simple alcohol molecule than can be found in hydrogen.  Being a liquid at ambient conditions, methanol can be handled, stored, and transported with ease by leveraging existing infrastructure that supports the global trade of methanol.  Methanol reformers are able to generate on-demand hydrogen at the point of use to avoid the complexity and high cost associated with the logistics of hydrogen as a fuel.  Methanol can also be produced from sustainable and green pathways to allow it to be a carrier of low carbon, and potentially carbon-neutral, hydrogen.

Learn more about methanol as a hydrogen carrier in this latest infographic developed by MI in collaboration with MI member, Element 1.  Key data about methanol as a hydrogen carrier used in this infographic can also be found in Element 1’s white paper titled “The Renewable Methanol Pathway to Green Hydrogen”.

The Methanol Pathway To Hydrogen Webinar

Fuel cells use hydrogen as a fuel to produce clean and efficient electricity that can power cars, trucks, buses, ships, cell phone towers, homes and businesses.  Methanol is an excellent hydrogen carrier fuel, packing more hydrogen in this simple alcohol molecule than can be found in hydrogen that’s been compressed (350-700 bar) or liquified (-253˚C).
Methanol can be “reformed” on-site at a fueling station to generate hydrogen for fuel cell cars. Or in stationary power units feeding fuel cells for mobile phone towers, construction sites, or ocean buoys. Methanol fuel cells can be fueled just as quickly as your current gasoline or diesel vehicle, and can extend the range of a battery electric vehicle from 200 km to over over 1,000 km.
Since methanol can be produced from a wide range of conventional and renewable feedstocks, it is the most affordable, sustainable and easily handled hydrogen carrier fuel.

"The Renewable Methanol Pathway to Green Hydrogen" White Paper

Element 1’s white paper titled “The Renewable Methanol Pathway to Green Hydrogen” provides detailed analyses of methanol’s role as a hydrogen carrier.  It explore the challenges associated with increasing interest in green hydrogen utilization as a solution to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and shows how methanol can circumvent these challenges.Methanol’s is a superior hydrogen carrier due to its physical characteristics of being liquid at ambient temperature and pressure.  This enables its ease of storage and transport with existing infrastructure without the need for intensive capital investments in new infrastructure.  Methanol has the highest hydrogen to carbon ratio of any liquid fuels, allowing it to be a highly efficient carrier of hydrogen.  Hydrogen generators that reform methanol can be deployed at stationary sites or onboard vehicles to deliver on-demand hydrogen, eliminating the need for energy-intensive storage and transport solutions for hydrogen.  Methanol enables the greater adoption of hydrogen-based applications and future hydrogen economies. 

Blue World Technologies

Blue World Technologies, headquartered in Aalborg, Denmark, is an advanced developer and manufacturer of Methanol Fuel cell components and systems for use in mobility and automotive applications. The result is Electric vehicles with 1000km range, 3 min refueling using existing infrastructure and zero harmful emissions.
The exclusive fuel for Blue World systems is Methanol which is a simple Liquid fuel – renewable and cost effective which can be stored for years and transported around the world unlike other alternatives.
Blue World Technologies is focused on the High-Temperature PEM-technology combined with methanol reforming. The combination ensures a simple system design with high conversion efficiency and compliance with automotive design requirements. The end solution is a vehicle with all benefits; long range, fast refueling, zero harmful emissions, and low fuel cost.

Element 1

e1 is the global leader in small-scale to medium-scale methanol to H2-generator technology with solutions for both fuel cell stationary power, and fuel cell HD mobility; hydrogen refueling stations (HRS), and on the vehicle hydrogen generators (trucks, trains, and marine vessels). The company maintains world-class product development and testing facilities in Bend, Oregon, United States, with a subsidiary office in Jiaxing, China. e1’s methanol reforming products are scalable, reliable, and affordable; solve the “H2 Challenge” for fuel cell power solutions, and are accelerating the adoption of fuel cell solutions globally. 
e1 has a licensing business model that was designed to support “Made in Country” Initiatives. e1’s products are integrated with PEM fuel cells provided by Ballard, Hydrogenics, Intelligent Energy, Nedstack, Horizon, and soon, PowerCell. e1 has several existing license partners in place that will quickly move to the manufacture and commercialization of our technology in China, and the USA.  e1 will soon announce a new partnership with a significant Asian vehicle manufacturer of HD trucks, as well as a new collaboration for distributed power solutions in Africa.

Palcan Energy

Palcan is a hi-tech enterprise whose mission is help drive forward the “hydrogen” economy. Palcan produces, reliable, affordable, power systems for the transportation industry that are powered by “hydrogen” NOT gasoline or diesel. China’s explosive growth came at a cost and now China’s environmental strategies for cleaner air and water are being rapidly developed and deployed, which Palcan is a part of. Palcan is the 1st company in China to obtain approval of its own designed methanol reformed fuel cell (MRFC), which will be integrated in fleet vehicles across China beginning in 2020.
Palcan has been involved in the fuel cell business for many years, initially in Canada where much of the fuel cell industry began to commercialize. Since 2016 Palcan made moves to launch business in China as China was committed to support a hydrogen society while other countries stood still. China’s foresight to create a “country wide” distribution of methanol, a fuel that enjoys the highest concentration of hydrogen will fuel Palcan’s MRFC. The MRFC benefits include; extend a vehicle’s range, the life of batteries, reduce operating costs and only discharge warm water and slight CO2.
Palcan is presently completing its manufacturing and research facility which is located near Shanghai. This new complex has a total surface area of 60,000 m², with a planed production scale of 500,000 various fuel cell systems for total investment of ¥500 million. Upon completion the facility will be the largest fuel cell production facility in Asia.


SerEnergy fuel cells convert methanol into electric energy with no harmful emissions, low noise, high temperature tolerance, and remote monitoring and self-maintenance capabilities. SerEnergy offers scalable solutions for both indoor and outdoor use. SerEnergy methanol fuel cells are available in small systems, ranging in size from 5 kilowatts (kW) to 15kW, large systems from 30kW to 300kW, and as unlimited parallel systems. SerEnergy fuel cells are an ideal solution for critical power & backup, remote off-grid sites, and for deployable and auxiliary power needs.

For additional information on Methanol Fuel Cells, visit our additional resources page.