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Dimethyl ether (DME) is an organic compound with the formula CH3OCH3

DME is an ideal carrier for hydrogen fuel

Dimethyl ether has a number of qualities that make it an excellent carrier molecule for transporting hydrogen to power a new generation of fuel-cell electric vehicles and to provide increased supplies of renewable hydrogen:

  • DME is particularly dense in hydrogen, with six hydrogen atoms in each DME molecule.
  • DME can be made from a wide variety of renewable feedstocks, creating a new pathway for renewable hydrogen production.
  • DME liquefies at low pressure (~73 psi), making it much easier and less expensive to transport than hydrogen, which can be compressed at up to 10,000 psi of pressure.
  • Converting DME into hydrogen a simple, inexpensive process compared to natural gas to hydrogen conversion.

These qualities mean that the roll-out of increased DME production, DME-powered trucks, and blending DME with propane can also accelerate the expansion of hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

As trucking fleets begin to use DME as a diesel replacement or blending it with propane, the same equipment and feedstocks can also be used to bring DME directly to hydrogen fueling stations, where it can easily be converted to fuel fuel-cell electric vehicles as well.

With DME engines and trucks in development now, propane/DME blending tests moving forward, and with hydrogen vehicles pushing into the market, these three fuels can quickly become natural allies – three different applications for the same molecule DME.

A more detailed description of the potential for DME to play a multifaceted role in a cleaner, zero-emissions transportation future is described in  our Medium post.

To learn more about how DME can boost the development of hydrogen infrastructure please contact us.