Pilot program begins for new mixture of fuel
Benzene, methanol mixture sparks hopes of bringing down gas prices, providing environmentally friendly alternative.
Person filling car gas tank [illustrative] Photo: Thinkstock/Imagebank
A new experiment that will combine methanol and regular petroleum gasoline has
sparked hopes of reducing gas prices by 50 agorot per liter, as well as
providing a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional
The Netanya-based Ten Petroleum Company, an owner of many gas
stations around the country, has partnered with Haifa firm Dor Chemicals, which
is manufacturing a fuel called M15 – which is 85-percent benzene and 15%
methanol – to be used in an upcoming pilot program.
During a six-month
experimental phase, Ten will provide a line of 11 cars to operate on the new
fuel, with the ability to fill up their tanks at local Haifa Ten stations. The
companies, led by Dor Chemicals, are working with the support of both the Energy
and Water Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry.
of this experiment is to show that with this blend, there is no need to make any
changes or any adaptations – not to the car and not to the gas pumps,” Danny
Ben-Ner, CEO of Ten, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
Methanol is a
particularly attractive fuel substance to Israel, as it can be easily extracted
from natural gas.
“Because Israel has become rich in natural gas, this
method of using methanol can be used instead of gasoline,” Ben-Ner said. “Here
we have a chance of being independent in our energy sources.”
emissions from natural gas, and thereby methanol, are much less toxic than those
of regular benzene, explained Dr. Lea Carmel Goren, a cleantech expert and
scientific advisor to Ten.
While the caloric values of methanol are about
half those of benzene, the price is less than half – so per kilometer, using
some portion of methanol is also beneficial, Goren told the
Meanwhile, she said, because it is biodegradable, methanol provides
a decreased risk of environmental damage, should leaks occur.
Goren had particular praise for the Energy and Water Ministry’s support for the
project, noting that “it’s not very popular to support government offices in
their activities but I have to say that in this case, it’s a great collaboration
between different ministry offices and this pilot is led by Uzi Landau’s
The project, she stressed, will be highly monitored from all
aspects, testing and evaluating the fuel’s performance in all ways
Natural gas is not only being used to create methanol for
vehicles, but it is also being used in some vehicles in the form of compressed
natural gas (CNG), an entirely natural gas fuel source.
CNG requires an entirely separate tank, at this point, Ben-Ner said he thinks it
will remain less popular than using a benzenemethanol blend.
believe that in the near future, we’ll see it – I call it a supermarket of
energy sources in our gas stations,” he said, predicting a wide array of natural
gas, benzene and electric fuel options to be on the market soon.
believe that we are going to produce a diverse range of sources.”
being said, also on Monday, the Israel Standards Institute announced that it had
published a new standard – Standard 6235 – for CNG-vehicle gas stations. The
standard was written by the Energy and Water Ministry, stipulating the technical
requirements for design, construction, operation and maintenance of such fueling
stations, and for integration at existing fueling stations.
documents that provide technical specifications for products to ensure that they
are suited for their intended purpose, according to the Israel Standards
Institute. After receiving institute approval, a standard is voluntary, until
the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry determines that all or part of it is
binding, according to elements such as public health, safety and environmental
quality. Only then does it become an official standard.
Energy and Water
Minister Uzi Landau announced two weeks ago that it had achieved the publication
of another natural gas standard, Standard 6119, about CNG-vehicle propulsion,
enabling natural gas’s vehicular use in a much more regulated, widespread
fashion. That same day, the ministry said that it was working on the publication
of a second Israeli standard dealing with natural gas refueling stations – the
standard announced by the Standards Institute on Monday.
is another significant step that will allow use of green and cheaper transport,
and will reduce our dependence on oil, using natural gas reserves found off the
coasts of Israel,” said Danny Goldstein, CEO of the Israel Standards
“In addition, this standard will help in implementing the
government’s decision on reducing oil dependence by directing resources to
developing alternative fuel.”
Yossi Antverg, a coordinator of the pilot
project on behalf of Dor Chemicals and a former CEO of the company, said that
the ultimate purpose of the experiment is to “confirm and prove that this can
work in Israel,” noting that methanol is already widely used in other
Antverg added that after the pilot concludes, Dor Chemicals
intends to build a $400-million factory in the Negev that will produce about
half a million tons of methanol per year.