The self-ignition temperature of alcohols is so high that abnormally high compression ratios would be required to use them in conventional diesel engines. This paper presents a novel approach of force igniting methanol or ethanol alone in a diesel engine at normal compression ratios. The well established proneness of methanol to pre-ignite in SI engine is made use of in the present method by employing a heated and insulated surface to initiate ignition. A conventional single cylinder diesel engine was modified to work on this principle. The engine operates satisfactorily at the rated speed (1500 RPM) on methanol and ethanol with thermal efficiencies comparable to the normal diesel engine of the same configuration. The operational experience further shows that it is possible to design a self-sustaining hot surface to initiate ignition. The engine also exhibits multi-fuel capability. A new direction for the use of methanol in diesel engines can follow from this technique. Copyright © 1980 Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.