What are the advantages of methanol-based hybrid vehicles over lithium-ion batteries based electric vehicles. Elucidate the challenges faced in using methanol as a fuel in India.

Advantages of methanol-based hybrid vehicles over lithium-ion batteries based electric vehicles.

  • Methanol can be produced using municipal solid waste, while for lithium-ion batteries India is highly dependent on China and South American countries
  • Methanol is much cheaper than Lithium-ion batteries
  • Lithium-ion batteries face ageing problem. This means they are dependent upon the number of charge discharge cycles that the battery has undergone. On the other hand, methanol is cheap and green fuel that can be easily replaced as per requirement.
  • Extraction of lithium or lithium mining has negative environmental impacts, whereas producing methanol is environment friendly.
  • Manufacturing plants for lithium-ion batteries (LiBs) cannot be installed easily at any location due to difficulty in obtaining raw materials. This induces transportation problem. On the other hand, methanol can be produced from any resource (even urban waste) capable of getting converted into synthesis gas. This makes it comparatively simpler for methanol plants installation.

Challenges faced in using methanol as a fuel in India

  • Methanol can be produced from natural gas, coal, municipal waste and wood. However, highest efficiency is obtained in methanol plants which use natural gas. Those using municipal waste are somewhat less efficient. Since methane is not easily available in country, use of same for methanol production is not feasible.
  • Methanol production from coal gasification suffers due to infrastructure constraints and transportation problem.
  • Municipal waste segregation is a serious problem being faced in the country due to lack of right technology. This reduces the efficiency of plants using municipal waste for methanol production.
  • Very low investment by government as well as domestic private sectors coupled with zero assistance from foreign countries in terms of technology. (291 words)
Question for UPSC Mains:
What are the advantages of methanol-based hybrid vehicles over lithium-ion batteries based electric vehicles. Elucidate the challenges faced in using methanol as a fuel in India. (250 Words, 15 Marks)

Published: January 25, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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