Methanol fuel cell vehicles to reach commercialisation

11th November 2019
Joe Bush

AIWAYS has signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Blue World Technologies, a Danish developer and manufacturer of methanol fuel cell components and systems for the automotive industry. The companies will collaborate on new energy vehicle development and explore ways to deploy methanol fuel cell technologies in production AIWAYS vehicles.

The agreement was signed by Fu Qiang, President and Co-Founder of AIWAYS and Anders Korsgaard, CEO of Blue World Technologies, during the Chinese International Import Expo (CIIE) this week. The parties agreed to cooperate in the application of methanol fuel cells in electric passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Fu Qiang said: “AIWAYS is a smart new energy company driving the development of the automotive industry. We are constantly working towards our sustainable development goals and are committed to promoting the transformation of automotive power through battery technology. Methanol fuel cell technology is the focus of AIWAYS’ automotive energy plan. Through our partnership with Blue World Technologies, we look forward to utilising their expertise to apply methanol fuel cell technology to AIWAYS vehicles and continuing to lead in new vehicle development."

Anders Korsgaard, CEO at Blue World Technologies, added: “We are very pleased that the signing of this strategic cooperation agreement will facilitate further close cooperation with AIWAYS. With a fast-moving approach and a high focus on quality and driving experience, AIWAYS is the right player to lead the way for the commercialisation of methanol fuel cell vehicles.”

Earlier in 2019, AIWAYS became a shareholder in Blue World Technologies with a view to collaborating on new energy vehicle development. The methanol fuel cell technology is more efficient, environmentally friendly and convenient to use than traditional methanol fuel and hydrogen vehicles.

In a hybrid-setup that includes a small battery pack, the methanol fuel cell acts as a range extender delivering long range, fast refuelling with a liquid fuel and a reduction in air pollution. Using methanol as fuel provides an opportunity to utilise the existing fuelling infrastructure, and, when using green methanol produced from renewable sources, is CO2 neutral.

AIWAYS has demonstrated a strong commitment to reducing the environmental impact of transportation, in accordance with guidelines laid out by the Chinese government. In March this year, eight Chinese ministries, led by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), issued a Methanol Vehicle Policy. This policy stated that the application of methanol fuel in vehicles should be accelerated due to the technology’s low-carbon footprint.

During CIIE, held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, Gumpert AIWAYS presented a methanol fuel cell system in a pre-production Gumpert Nathalie, developed by Roland Gumpert. The methanol fuel cell system gives the Nathalie a range of over 1,000km (when driven at a constant speed of 120km/h) and can accelerate from zero to 100km in under 2.5 seconds. Gumpert Nathalie will be the first electric super sports coupe to bring methanol fuel cell technology to production when it goes on sale in Germany in summer 2020.

An all-new methanol fuel cell EV platform developed by AIWAYS and Blue World Technologies was also displayed for the first time during the event. Visitors to CIIE were invited to watch videos and animations to enable them to better understand the methanol fuel cell technology. By bringing this technology to the public, AIWAYS hopes to accelerate the application and integration of methanol fuel cell systems into vehicles across the world.

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