Mobile Methanol Utilisation

In the project ‘Mobile Methanol Utilisation (MMU)’, VIL and UGent have researched what role green methanol can play in making ‘heavy duty’ logistics more sustainable.

status: Closed | theme: Green Supply Chains | type: Regional

Methanol is already a widely used raw material for industrial applications, but its current production is mostly based on fossil sources. However, it is also possible to produce methanol from biomass or from green hydrogen and captured CO2. This is called green methanol.

The CCU technology (Carbon Capture and Utilisation) that can be used to convert CO2 into green methanol is one of the most mature CCU technologies. Investments are also planned in Flanders that will enable production of green methanol by CCU.

Green methanol as a climate-neutral fuel has a number of interesting properties. It is liquid at ambient temperature, has a high energy density, and greatly reduces emissions of nitrogen components (NOx), sulfur components (SOx) and particulate matter. Because of its chemical properties, green methanol can be transported, stored and refueled in a manner very similar to conventional fossil fuels. Green methanol can be gradually introduced into the internal combustion engine, which is important for feed and watercraft or equipment with a long service life.


With this project, VIL and UGent have investigated the role green methanol can play in making specific ‘heavy duty’ logistics applications more sustainable, such as inland navigation, rail, specific port activities and cargo handling. It is essential that the technical possibilities of green methanol can be fitted into the operational needs of companies within the economic context in which they operate.



  • Methanol as a fuel for heavy-duty logistics applications is a promising contender to become one of the carbon-neutral powertrains of the future
  • According to The Methanol Institute, the use of green or renewable methanol – especially when compared to conventional fuels such as fuel oil and diesel – can reduce net emissions of carbon oxide by 60-95% and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 60-80%. Moreover, methanol even almost completely eliminates sulfur oxide and particulate matter emissions in the process
  • Methanol is a compact fuel that is easy to transport, use and store. It can also be produced from biomass, which eliminates uncertainty in availability.
  • Thanks to its excellent combustion properties, it can be used both in methanol-specific engines and in transitional technologies, such as dual-fuel
  • To assist companies in making choices regarding alternative fuels, VIL and WaterstofNet developed a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) tool. For the applications cited, the tool compares methanol with hydrogen and conventional diesel
  • This shows that, when the report was published, methanol dual-fuel excavators are 35% cheaper than current hydrogen dual-fuel technology. Nevertheless, it is still 27% more expensive compared to current diesel technology.
  • The use of green methanol may become more economically attractive if methanol is added to the list of excise tax exemptions. Another concern is the local availability of green methanol. Here additional efforts are still needed to establish a (inter)national coverage network

Practical details

Start: December 2021
End: February 2024

Participating companies
25 participants: Aertssen Services, Anglo Belgian Corporation, Barging Solutions, Boluda Towage Europe, Deme, Denys, Havenbedrijf Antwerpen-Brugge, Herbosch-Kiere, Inovyn, Jan De Nul Group, JoGo Logistics, Lineas, Lloyd’s, Naval Inland Navigation, North-CCU-Hub, North Sea Port, POM Limburg, Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen, PSA Antwerp, Roose, Shipit, Soliqlux, Urban Waterway Logistics, Victrol and WeBarge.






Would you like to know more?

Contact Julie Stuer (

VIL stands for strong logistics in Flanders


De Burburestraat 6-8
B-2000 Antwerpen (Belgium)
T: +32 3 229 05 00
VAT: BE 0480.185.038