A Multi-Source, Multi-Purpose Fuel for the Future

(Paris) — 31 May 2001

An environmentally-friendly compound that is used as a propellant in about 10 billion aerosol spray cans each year, could become a significant source of energy in the decades to come.

Dimethyl-ether (DME), a new fuel for power generation, domestic use and transport, was the subject of a workshop hosted by the International Energy Agency today. It was attended by more than 30 experts, from major oil and energy companies, vehicle and fuel injection system manufacturers, the research community and Board members of the newly established International DME Association (IDA).

This workshop was organised under the aegis of the IEA Implementing Agreement on Advanced Motor Fuels.

DME is a clean and safe fuel that can be made from natural gas, coal or biomass. In addition to its applications in power generation, domestic fuel use and diesel engines, DME has a potential use in fuel cells. It is environmentally benign and can be handled like LPG.

Workshop participants discussed DME production, notably BP’s large-scale DME project for India and Atrax Energi’s production of DME from bio-sources in Sweden. They also examined DME applications in the transportation sector, and some technical aspects of its use.

The IEA believes that DME offers a great potential as a multi-source, multi-application fuel and expects DME to achieve recognition as an alternative to conventional fuels.

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