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More vehicles to use dimethyl ether as clean fuel


By Yang Jian | September 6, 2013, Friday |  Online Edition 


Shanghai will test the use of a cleaner fuel on heavy trucks and gradually expand it to buses and taxis to help bring down PM2.5 pollution, authorities said today.


Dimethyl ether, a non-toxic hydrocarbon gas that burns without emitting sulfur or nitrogen particles, will also be tested by 50 or so taxis in Minhang District and a few local bus lines as well, the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission said.


“We will coordinate with other departments to build required infrastructure to spread the use of this clean fuel,” the commission told the local legislature.


Vehicle emissions are the biggest source of PM2.5 pollutants, accounting for a quarter of air-borne particles in Shanghai, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.


However, the efficiency of dimethyl ether as new fuel for buses still needs to be proved, said the Shanghai Transport and Port Authority that oversees public transport and taxi companies.


"It is time for the city to promote new energy among buses and taxies to help lower the PM2.5 level," said Ding Kuiling, director of Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry and a lawmaker.


Engines only need slight modification to use dimethyl ether, which can power vehicles for a longer distance without a refill, therefore fewer pump stations are needed, Ding said.


Dimethyl ether, somewhat similar to LPG gas, costs just 3,000 yuan (US$482.10) a ton, cheaper than gasoline, he added.