The Sydney Morning Herald reported on May 24 about the latest public health incidents caused by adulterated alcohol consumed in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Twelve people died after drinking the toxic brew, known locally as miras oplosan, which costs US$1.50 per liter (34 ounces).
Methanol Institute staff approached The Herald about conducting a follow-up story on the methanol education programs that MI and The LIAM Charitable Fund have developed in Indonesia since 2013. The newspaper interviewed MI’s Dom LaVigne and LIAM representatives Lhani Davies and Dr. Di Brown extensively on June 8-9. The publication also spent the day with the LIAM team in Yogyakarta seeing firsthand the medical and community education programs which MI and LIAM are undertaking.
Both organizations feel strongly that a national protocol is needed to allow the use of oral ethanol for methanol poisoning treatment in suspected victims. While the administration of ethanol (drinkable alcohol) for lifesaving purposes is still viewed as haram (prohibited to consume in Islam) in Indonesia, oral ethanol remains the most cost effective option for treating patients until they can undergo hemodialysis. MI staff have been researching how to get IV ethanol and/or Fomepizole (options that might be more culturally acceptable) into Indonesia. However, these options are significantly more costly, requiring extensive donor funding, and ultimately Indonesian Ministry of Health (MOH) approval.
The Sydney Morning Herald published its article on Sunday. Several other international media picked up the story, including: The Canberra Times and The Taranaki Daily News, which includes a large number of positive comments. The Sydney Morning Herald story can be found HERE. The Taranaki Daily News story can be found HERE.
On Wednesday and Thursday, MI’s Greg Dolan, Chris Chatterton and Eelco Dekker participated in a workshop to launch the GreenPilot Boat project in Sweden. Funded by the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Methanol Institute as part of the SUMMETH program (Sustainable Marine Methanol), the plan is to test three different 450 Kw engines in the pilot boat over the next year, with engines from China’s Weichai supplied by MI member FiTech, Scania and Volvo Penta. The workshop featured presentations by ScandiNAOS, Stena Lines, Wartsila, Marinvest, Chalmers University, Lund University, Ghent University, Lulea University, VTT, and FiTech.
MI’s Greg Dolan provided an overview of the global methanol industry’s interest in marine fuels and sought feedback on the E4tech research recommendations around shipping. Stena’s Per Stefenson noted that Stena Lines had now received six international awards for its work to convert the Stena Germanica to methanol fuel operation, with now three of four Wartsila engines running on methanol and the fourth to be converted in September. Toni Stojcevski from Wartsila summarized the findings from their work on the engine testing that went into the Germanica conversion, and on-going development testing to further reduce emissions. Several of Europe’s leading academic researchers presented papers on their latest work on methanol fuel developments, including work funded by MI to optimize a Scania engine to methanol operation led by Paivi Aakko-Saksa of Finland’s VTT. FiTech CEO Kam Pui Koo discussed his company’s efforts to develop methanol engines for light- and heavy-duty road vehicles as well as marine vessels.
One of the highlights of the two-day session was a photo-op in front of the GreenPilot Boat, along with a converted SAAB running on methanol, a racing motorcycle fueled with methanol, and featuring the Stena Germanica steaming towards its Gothenburg dock and bunkering station.
The GreenPilot Project, in which MI is a partner, started on March 1 of this year with the goal of converting a Swedish Pilot Boat to methanol operation.
On 15-16 June, ScandiNAOS will host a seminar in Gothenburg presenting the GreenPilot project and also providing a status update on the development and introduction of methanol as a marine fuel.
Presenters will include MI CEO Greg Dolan, ScandiNAOS, Toni Stojcevski of Wartsila, Chalmers University of Technology, Lund Technical University, an update on the SUMMETH(Sustainable Marine Methanol) Project, and more.
The event will be held at restaurant and conference facilities adjacent to the ScandiNAOS offices at Klippan, Goteborg and a fee of €150 will be charged to non-project partners. The fee includes lunches both days and dinner on the 15th.
You can register for the event HERE. Lodging is available HERE.
The European Commission (EC) says that a new study from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) shows that fuels such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and methanol are “the most promising” alternatives to conventional bunkers for reducing shipping sector emissions.
“Results show that from a long-term perspective, moving to LNG and methanol is strategically attractive as each of the two fuels has a biofuel counterpart, biomethane and biomethanol,” the EC said.
EC says that vessels and infrastructure built for LNG and methanol can also supply bio methane and bio methanol “without a large overhaul,” making it possible to use the two fuels as transition bunkers before completing a shift to biofuels.
However, their potential use will depend on a number of factors, including environmentally sustainable biomass feedstock for their production, cost-effective production technologies and ultimately on their market penetration.
“The EU aims to shift some of the road transport load to the more efficient marine and inland waterways systems,” said EC, noting that a specific renewable fuel mandate for shipping could complement the current road transport mandate.
Further, EC notes that the results of December’s COP21 summit in Paris makes this an advantageous time to invest in the shipping industry’s decarbonisation. More information can be found HERE, and HERE.
FiTech, MI’s newest member from China, recently concluded an agreement with Beiben Heavy-Duty Trucks of Baotou, Inner Mongolia, for the production of methanol fuelled, heavy-duty trucks based on Beiben’s popular V3 model, which was originally designed and built in a joint venture with Daimler-Benz.
The trucks will be available worldwide based on a modified Weichai engine designed by FiTech which requires no additional reconfiguration of the original V3 chassis. FiTech has exclusive global distribution rights for the Beiben methanol model with the first truck expected to roll off the assembly line in August, 2016.
Hanoi, Vietnam – On Tuesday, MI and Hanoi Medical University’s Institute for Preventative Medicine & Public Health (HMU-IPMPH) held a successful launch of their Vietnam Methanol Education Programs (VMEP), jointly supported by Bach Mai Hospital’s Poison Control Center (PCC) and The LIAM Charitable Fund.
More than 100 senior government officials, medical and public health experts, and media participated in the half-day workshop. There was also extensive media coverage, including TV and print media interviews with HMU senior officials and MI’s Dom LaVigne. Dom and Lhani Davies presented on the MI-LIAM collaboration in Indonesia and the work by MI’s Product Stewardship Committee and Bootleg Alcohol Prevention Subcommittee. Professor Nguyen Duc Hinh (HMU President), Professor Le Thi Huong (Director of IPMPH), Dr. Nguyen Trung Nguyen (Director, PCC), and senior officials from Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH), Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) also presented during the workshop.
MOH indicated that Vietnamese consumers drink 3.4 billion litres of beer and 600 million litres of liquor annually. This is worth US$3 billion, or three per cent of the country’s GDP.
On Wednesday, HMU-IPMPH researchers and Dom LaVigne went to Phu Tho Province to begin a study on medical and community knowledge of adulterated alcohol and methanol poisonings, symptoms, and treatment. Researchers also engaged homemade alcohol producers and took random product samples for testing. They also met with key provincial officials to discuss public policy and law enforcement efforts to mitigate harm from adulterated beverages.
IPMPH expects to complete the study by July. They and MI will share the results with member companies and other stakeholders. From these findings, IPMPH and other partners will develop targeted medical, community, and alcohol producer trainings in Phu Tho and Hanoi. MI is currently working with IPMPH and PCC to structure the VMEP’s strategic outreach and public communications initiatives for April-December. Vietnamese media coverage can be viewed HERE
(in English) and HERE
The Methanol Institute has released the 2016 edition of our yearly newsletter Methanol Milestones.
Milestones 2016 features: a message from our newly-elected Board Chairman Ben Iosefa of Methanex; articles highlighting our recent FCBI Methanol as a Marine Fuel report and our Methanol Safe Handling and Safe Berthing Bulletin; our ongoing collaboration with the LIAM Charitable Foundation to save lives and prevent bootleg alcohol poisoning in Indonesia, and expanding into Vietnam this year; the 2015 European Methanol Policy Forum and inaugural Lake View Methanol Dialogue in China; and reports on the development of methanol fuelled vehicles in China, as well as new methanol applications for industrial boilers and cook stoves in China.
Milestones also welcomes new members; highlights upcoming industry events; and provides information on MI’s committee structure. An electronic PDF-version of the newsletter can be found HERE.
MI member Methanex this week released a new video on the benefits of methanol as a vehicle fuel.
Across the world, methanol is emerging as a clean, sustainable transportation fuel of the future. Methanol can be blended with gasoline in low-quantities and used in existing road vehicles, or it can be used in high-proportion blends such as M85-M100 in flex-fuel or dedicated methanol-fueled vehicles. Technology is also being commercialized to use methanol as a diesel substitute. Methanex is working with partners worldwide to promote methanol as a clean, sustainable road fuel.
The video, and more information on the many benefits of methanol as a clean, sustainable transportation fuel, can be found HERE.
Methanol industry members are invited to join fleet owners, OEMs, and members of the DME, propane and alternative fuel industries in Houston this September to learn about the opportunities being created by DME’s introduction as a fuel in North America and other markets, and to engage directly with those in the vanguard of these international developments from across the industry.
DME 7 will take place at the Hilton Houston Post Oak from September 14 – 16, just following the Argus JJ&A Methanol Forum nearby.
DME 7 is the industry’s flagship event, and brings together the companies and organizations most active in the commercialization and development of DME as a fuel worldwide, representing a wide range of interests within both the upstream and downstream value chains, including methanol. The event will feature an international conference, DME heavy-duty vehicle display, panel discussion, poster session, DME Fundamentals Tutorial, workshops related to key industry topics, top-level networking and more. More information can be found HERE.
This week, MI member Carbon Recycling International hosted in Reykjavik the “1st Global Symposium on Advancing Methanol Engines for Sustainable Transport.”
The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a Geely Emigrand 7 M100 car powered by CRI’s Vulcanol “liquid electricity.” Geely delivered the car from China, and CRI will be test driving six of the M100 vehicles in Iceland for the next 12 months fueled with renewable methanol from CRI’s Svartsengi plant.
The Tuesday symposium was kicked off by Ms. Ragnheidur Elin Arnadotttir, Iceland’s Minister of Industry and Commerce who noted that the country was fortunate to have an entrepreneurial company like CRI working to tackle climate change while improving Iceland’s national energy security. CRI CEO and co-founder KC Tran noted that one of the goals of the symposium was the formation of a global methanol research council. MI Board Chairman and Methanex VP Global Market Development & Stakeholder Relations Ben Iosefa gave an overview presentation on the status and trends of methanol as a global transportation fuel. Geely’s Head of Research and Development Xian Yang Jin discussed the Chinese automaker’s 10 years of experience developing methanol vehicles, with the Emigrand 7 representing their fourth generation methanol car. Massimo Ferrara of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles noted that on a well-to-tank basis methanol is a very promising alternative fuel for greenhouse gas emission reductions, while discussing the automaker’s pragmatic introduction of methanol fuels focusing first on M15 vehicles (including trials in Israel) and then moving on to M56 and M85 cars to help facilitate awareness of methanol’s benefits within the European Union.
Other presentations were made by key global methanol vehicle researchers including: Leslie Bromberg of MIT; Mike Jackson of Fuel Freedom Foundation; Sebastian Verhelst from Ghent University; Jesper Schramm of Denmark Technical University; Mads Friis Jenson from Serenergy; and Paul Wuebben with CRI.
The symposium also featured a session on marine engine applications that featured Karin Anderson from Chalmers University (author of MI’s FCBI Methanol as a Marine Fuel report); Per Stefenson from Stena Lines; Martin Turner with Lund University; and Joakim Bomanson of ScandiNaos who discussed MI’s sponsorship of the Sustainable Marine Methanol (SUMMETH) project in Sweden and Finland to develop an methanol-fueled ropax ferry. More information can be found HERE.