A review of the methanol economy: The fuel cell route

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This review presents methanol as a potential renewable alternative to fossil fuels in the fight against climate change. It explores the renewable ways of obtaining methanol and its use in efficient energy systems for a net zero-emission carbon cycle, with a special focus on fuel cells. It investigates the different parts of the carbon cycle from a methanol and fuel cell perspective. In recent years, the potential for a methanol economy has been shown and there has been significant technological advancement of its renewable production and utilization. Even though its full adoption will require further development, it can be produced from renewable electricity and biomass or CO2 capture and can be used in several industrial sectors, which make it an excellent liquid electrofuel for the transition to a sustainable economy. By converting CO2 into liquid fuels, the harmful effects of CO2 emissions from existing industries that still rely on fossil fuels are reduced. The methanol can then be used both in the energy sector and the chemical industry, and become an all-around substitute for petroleum. The scope of this review is to put together the different aspects of methanol as an energy carrier of the future, with particular focus on its renewable production and its use in high-temperature polymer electrolyte fuel cells (HT-PEMFCs) via methanol steam reforming.
Original languageEnglish
Article number596
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Electrofuels
  • Fuel cell
  • High temperature PEM
  • Methanol
  • Power-to-X
  • Reforming


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