DaimlerChrysler calls methanol fuel for the future
Methanol holds promise as the clean, sustainable transportation fuel of the future, and DaimlerChrysler is calling
for the support of the oil industry, government and science to help make the fuel available and affordable.
"Methanol is the fuel of the future, capable of fulfilling the requirements for sustainable, environment-friendly mobility in the long term, " said Dr. Ferdinand Panik, head of DaimlerChrysler's Fuel Cell Project Group. "However, in order to be successful in introducing new technologies on the market, business, government and science must work in closer collaboration."
Panik spoke at a recent fuel cell conference in Washington, D.C.
He appealed to attendees, which included automotive manufacturers, fuel cell developers, oil companies, environmental organisations and government officials, to strategically co-operate to develop a methanol fuel infrastructure.
"Automakers must develop affordable, practical vehicles that meet customer needs," Panik said, "and the fuel providers should work on availability, affordability and volume production of methanol fuel.
Government agencies should take this opportunity to promote and support environment-friendly mobility."
Panik called on the oil companies to concentrate more effort on alternative energy sources, such as methanol. DaimlerChrysler's goal is to introduce fuel cell vehicles running on methanol fuel in 2004.
Fuel cells generate their own electricity. Oxygen from the air and a hydrogen fuel are combined in a chemical
reaction that produces electricity, water and 30 % less carbon dioxide than what conventional vehicles produce.
Regulated emissions -- hydrocarbons, particulates and oxides of nitrogen -- are eliminated.
"Methanol can be derived from natural gas or regenerative sources, thus reducing dependence on foreign oil," Panik added.
The world's first methanol-powered fuel cell vehicle, NECAR 3, was demonstrated in a converted Mercedes Benz A-class
by DaimlerChrysler in 1996. NECAR 1 was a hydrogen-powered fuel cell van introduced in 1994. There was only room for
a driver and one passenger. The rest of the interior in the six-passenger van was used to house fuel cell
NECAR 2, introduced in 1996, was also a hydrogen-powered van, but it had seating for six.
DaimlerChrysler also introduced the world's first fuel cell bus in 1997. NEBUS was a hydrogen-powered fuel cell bus and could carry 60 passengers.