Methanol-Capable Vehicle Development: Meeting the Challenge in the Crankcase 902152
A major drive to develop methanol-fueled vehicles began with the 1973 oil embargo. Early work with dedicated methanol-fueled vehicles demonstrated that lubricant choice influenced engine durability. The qualities desired were not defined by the gasoline engine oil classification system in place at the time. As a result oils were developed which optimized those properties deemed desirable for methanol fuel.
The advent of fuel sensors made it possible to design a vehicle which can operate on gasoline or gasoline with varying levels of methanol without intervention by the operator. This created a need for a lubricant that can handle a diversity of methanol/gasoline mixtures as well as conventional gasoline.
The paper reviews some of the lubricants that have been used in prototype methanol-capable vehicles and the improvement of these formulations to meet the latest gasoline engine performance criteria while maintaining satisfactory methanol performance.
One of the major difficulties in developing lubricants for methanol-containing fuels is the lack of short, field-correlated laboratory tests to define methanol performance. This need may not be fully resolvable without further field evaluations.