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China announces guidelines to encourage use of methanol vehicles

BEIJING – Eight ministries and commissions headed by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) jointly released the Guidelines from Eight Government Organizations for Application of Methanol Vehicles in Select Regions on March 19.

The Guidelines comes out less than three weeks after Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Holding Group and NPC member, submitted a proposal on promoting methanol fuel and methanol vehicles on March 1 before the start of the annual Two Sessions this year.

The Guidelines consists of 22 articles in seven sections including general requirement, speed up the formation of methanol vehicle manufacturing system, facilitate production of methanol fuel and construction of methanol fuel stations, accelerate the establishment of methanol vehicle standards, encourage the use of methanol vehicles, strengthen the administration of methanol vehicles, and improve administration methods for introduction of methanol vehicles and production of methanol fuel.

To encourage the use of methanol vehicles, the Guidelines said the introduction of M100 methanol vehicles should be accelerated in those areas with rich methanol source and experience in operating methanol vehicles such as Shanxi, Shaanxi, Guizhou and Gansu provinces. The Guidelines encourages those areas with proper conditions to adopt methanol vehicles in official business, taxi fleet and short-distance passenger transport as well as to introduce commercial methanol vehicles in the municipal vehicle fleet and special logistics and transport. The Guidelines requires that preferential policies should be offered in purchasing and operating those methanol vehicles which meet China 6 emissions standards and emissions limit for methanol vehicles.

To strengthen the management of methanol vehicles, the Guidelines said that newly produced light methanol vehicles should be inspected (including fuel evaporation and acceleration emissions) according to the methods and limits stipulated in the China 6 Emissions Standards and Inspection Methods for Light Vehicles (GB18352.6-2016). Before the release of relevant standards, emissions of both methanol and formaldehyde should be temporarily controlled at no more than 2.5 mg/km. And starting from July 1, all light methanol vehicles produced, sold and imported should satisfy China 6 emissions standards and the emissions limit mentioned above for methanol and formaldehyde.

Newly produced heavy-duty methanol vehicles should be inspected using the methods and limits stipulated in the China 6 Emissions Standards and Inspection Methods for Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles (GB17691-2018). Before the release of relevant standards, emissions of both methanol and formaldehyde on such vehicles should be temporarily controlled at no more than 20 mg/kWh.

To improve the administration methods for methanol vehicles, the Guidelines said that motor vehicle registration should be available for those methanol vehicles which are listed in the Catalogue of Road Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and Their Products and satisfy Technical Standards for Motor Vehicle Operation (GB7258). Regular motor vehicle plates should be issued to those registered methanol vehicles with fuel type indicated as methanol. The safety of methanol vehicles should be inspected according to Technical Tests and Methods for Motor Vehicle Safety (GB21861), and methanol vehicles should be compulsory certified products with environmental protection information published as required by law. Sales of methanol added regular gasoline is strictly forbidden to ensure the stable and safety of methanol vehicles in operation. It is strictly forbidden to have methanol vehicles tuned and modified into other types of fuel vehicles or visa versa.

China has put 1,024 methanol vehicles into pilot operation in 10 cities in the four provinces listed above as well as Shanghai since 2012, which have operated for a combined 184 million km and consumed more than 24,000 tons of methanol, with single vehicle operating mileage exceeding 350,000 km, according to MIIT. It has issued 17 batches of circulars involving 32 methanol vehicle products from nine methanol vehicle manufacturers so far, covering methanol cars, methanol/diesel heavy-duty commercial vehicles, micro vehicles and city buses.

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