American and European technology is being used to demonstrate the suitability of neat methanol as a fuel for transit buses. The project is sponsored by the California Energy Commission (CEC), and transit buses are being operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (GGTD). Project management and bus testing are performed by Acurex Corporation. Test data are being obtained on performance, fuel consumption, exhaust emissions, noise levels, and operational suitability.
One of the coaches was obtained from General Motors Corporation and the other from M.A.N. in Germany. The GM coach employs a Detroit Diesel Allison 6V-92TA two-stroke-cycle engine, which burns methanol by compression ignition. The M.A.N. engine is a spark-assisted diesel, operating on a four-stroke cycle. Both buses are being tested in parallel with diesel-powered counterparts.
In comparing diesel with methanol fuel, road performance is nearly identical for each pair of buses. Fuel consumption is similar on an energy basis. The methanol buses have a cleaner exhaust, with smoke and odor eliminated. Oxides of nitrogen and particulates are also considerably lower with methanol.