Denmark-based methanol fuel cell (MFC) technology developer Blue World Technologies ApS has announced that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the fast-moving China-based new energy vehicle manufacturer AIWAYS, with the purpose of supplying the market with vehicles powered by MFCs for fast refuelling and long-range.
The agreement with AIWAYS is for the development and supply of methanol fuel cell systems for their vehicles. It was signed on November 7, 2019, in Shanghai, China at the “Global Automotive Development Forum” at CIIE, hosted by China-Europe Association for Technical and Economic Cooperation (CEATEC) during the Chinese International Import Expo 2019 (CIIE 2019), taking place November 5-10, 2019.
Blue World Technologies joined partners AIWAYS, a Chinese manufacturer of high-end electric vehicles and Germany-based Gumpert AIWAYS, a methanol fuel cell (MFC) performance car joint venture between legendary German sportscar developer Roland Gumpert and AIWAYS, in the presentation of the methanol fuel cell technology.
We strongly believe that methanol is the way to go in the transition for green liquid fuels – but we also need to create a technology for our cars that will help us overcome the environmental challenges we are facing with severe air pollution. Therefore, we have made this strategic cooperation with Blue World Technologies to provide both the methanol fuel cell components to our cars as well as to support the development with their extensive knowledge and experience with the methanol fuel cell technology, said Fu Qiang, President, and Co-founder of AIWAYS, stated after signing the agreement.
AIWAYS to launch methanol fuel cell SUV U5
Later this year, AIWAYS will launch the battery-electric version of their SUV U5 to the market, and towards the end of 2021, the U5 will also be launched in an MFC hybrid version.
Blue World Technologies and AIWAYS are already in the process of developing the system design ensuring easy integration in the existing platform, in addition to long-range and fast refuelling by liquid methanol.
At Blue World Technologies, we are very pleased that we – with the signing of the strategic cooperation agreement – are intensifying our close relationship with AIWAYS. With a fast-moving approach and a strong focus on quality and driving experience, AIWAYS is without a doubt the right player to lead the way to commercial success for the methanol fuel cell vehicle, said Anders Korsgaard, CEO and Co-founder of Blue World Technologies.
China a methanol first-mover
Back in March, eight Chinese ministries led by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a Methanol Vehicle Policy with an aim to deploy methanol fuelled vehicles across China.
China is already the country with the world’s largest production and consumption of methanol, and the sustainable potential of methanol is substantial.
The potential of producing methanol as a carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral fuel with recycled CO2 from either a concentrated CO2 source or using direct air capture was of high value to AIWAYS when making the decision to enter the cooperation with Blue World Technologies on the development of MFC technology.
With an electrical efficiency of 45 percent, the Blue World Technologies methanol fuel cell system based on high-temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology ensures the efficient and cost-effective use of methanol as an alternative to fossil fuels.
In September 2019, Blue World Technologies held a ground-breaking ceremony at the Port of Aalborg, Denmark for what is being hailed as the world’s largest methanol fuel cell factory. Production is planned to start in the late summer of 2020 and from then ramp-up to reach a full production capacity of 50 000 methanol fuel cell units per annum in 2023-24.