NSEFI And Methanol Institute Seek Exemption For Methanol Powered Gensets from Pollution Watchdog

The case for methanol use over diesel is certainly strong at a time of high pollution, and now, high diesel prices.

The National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) and the Methanol Institute, in an rare move together, have pushed for the inclusion of methanol powered gensets in the list of selective use of alternate power  through generating sets. In a letter addressed to Jasmine Shah, Vice Chairperson, Dialogue and Development Commission of the Government of NCT Delhi, Tim Chan, Asst. Director, Government and Public Affairs, Methanol Institute, and Subrahmanyam Pulipaka, CEO, NSEFI, make their case.

Under Direction No. 54 Para II (A) of the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021 for effective control of air pollution in Delhi-NCR -Regulations , most gensets are banned for use when pollution crosses fair threshold.
Delhi, as the most polluted capital in the world, and almost consistently in the top 10 polluted cities in the world, has been desperately trying to combat pollution with a graded response action plan (GRAP) devised by the commission.

The two make the case that Methanol is strategic to India’s efforts to be more self-sustaining as methanol can be produced with indigenous resources.

Unlike diesel powered gensets, the combustion of methanol significantly reduces emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter. Methanol’s ability to be produced from renewable sources offers a pathway to meet future greenhouse gas emissions regulations. Thus, they make the case that methanol is a substitute for conventional fuel which is used in Internal Combustion (IC) engines and can be a promising alternative to diesel gensets.

The letter points out that the inclusion of methanol powered gensets would benefit the economy in the following ways:

1. Low infrastructure and conversion costs: Methanol is a cost-effective, alternative liquid fuel for power generation that can utilize existing infrastructure for its storage and transport. Gensets only require minor modifications to accommodate the use of methanol as a fuel. It is also
beneficial particularly for areas that are not situated near natural gas pipelines due to its ease of transport and storage.

2. Safe and widely traded product: Methanol is a widely traded commodity that leverages existing supply chains which are mature and have the experience of safely being stored, transported, and distributed across the world.

3. Reduces GHG emissions: Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that significantly reduces emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter helping to meet environmental regulations and improving air quality.

4.  Diverse production pathways: Methanol has the ability to be produced from diverse feedstocks including natural gas, renewable sources such as municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural residue, and captured carbon dioxide with green hydrogen.

5.  Reducing carbon intensity: Renewable methanol produced from sustainable feedstocks cuts carbon dioxide emissions by up to 95%, reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80%, and eliminates sulfur oxide and particulate matter emissions.

They cite the example of  the Dor Group headquartered in Israel that provides methanol solutions as an alternative to diesel by utilizing methanol as a liquid fuel. Using their methanol-based fuel blend – “DOR-Mix”, they  has been offering solutions for a range of applications including methanol power generation on M100 genset (run on 100% methanol), gas turbines, medium-duty trucks, and M15 vehicles on gasoline engines (15% methanol). In India, the Kirloskar Group is cited for its work on a 100% methanol fuelled genset. They have developed and tested 5 – 15 kW generator on 100% methanol and are developing 125 kW generator which has the potential to replace diesel gensets in telecom towers. Kirloskar is expected to launch (globally) 20 kW and 62.5 kW 100% methanol genset soon.


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