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Assessing the prospect of deploying green methanol vehicles in China from energy, environmental and economic perspectives

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 14:56 authored by Li, C, Jia, T, Wang, H, Xiaolin WangXiaolin Wang, Michael NegnevitskyMichael Negnevitsky, Hu, Y, Gang ZhaoGang Zhao, Wang, L
Since the early 2010s, China has been accelerating methanol vehicle development to secure energy supply and reduce environmental pollution. Although completed pilot projects have demonstrated the economic and technological maturity of methanol vehicles, their overall emissions are still high, as methanol is predominantly produced from coal in China. To combat this, two green methanol routes (CO2-to-methanol and biomass-to-methanol) have been proposed as vehicle fuels. Before further deployment, comprehensively comparing green methanol vehicles with other vehicles is crucial; therefore, based on life-cycle assessments and cost analyses, this study compared green methanol vehicles with coal-to-methanol, conventional gasoline, and electric vehicles considering energy-focused, environmental, and economic perspectives. Combined with these results, we developed a comprehensive evaluation model to prioritize green methanol vehicles among the different vehicles in China. The evaluation results show that biomethanol vehicle ranks first; the potential of CO2-to-methanol vehicle is limited because of its high fuel cost and high energy consumption: 2.6 and 13.9 times of biomethanol, respectively. Based on the designed scenarios, the government should develop a dynamic policy scheme consisting of scaling up the deployment of biomethanol vehicles according to local conditions and developing CO2-to-methanol vehicles if fuel technology advances considerably after carbon neutrality.


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Part E

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School of Engineering


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

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The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Ox5 1Gb

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Socio-economic Objectives

Energy systems and analysis