What is Methanol?


Methanol or methyl alcohol at standard temperature and pressure is a colorless liquid produced from natural gas or coal.

It is commonly used as a feed in the manufacture of chemical derivatives.

It contains CH3OH chemical formula with a molecular weight of 32.042 g / mol.

Methyl alcohol is a toxic substance and is used as a solvent and an intermediate in chemical synthesis.

In addition, it is a flammable material.

Swallowing this toxic substance can lead to blindness.

The boiling point and the melting point of methyl alcohol are -148.3 and -144 degrees F, respectively.

The solubility of this substance in water is high and is set at about 100 mg / L at 70 ° F.

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It has a density of 0.792 at 68 F and a pressure of 100 mm Hg at 70.2 F.

The methyl alcohol viscosity was also reported to be 0.544 MPa at 25 ° C.

This combination has a sweet and pungent sweet smell.

In petrochemicals, methanol is an upstream material.

Formaldehyde has the largest share in the conversion chain of this substance.

According to an estimate in 2014, the share was about 31 percent.

Other Names: Methyl Alcohol or Methyl Alcohol or Wood Alcohol

Generally speaking, about 90 percent of the cost of producing this material is related to the cost of the feed. However, using natural gas is very effective in reducing costs.

Therefore, the process of producing methanol from natural gas is more common than other methods of producing this material such as production from natural sources such as methanol production from wood, imposing less cost on the producer.

In recent years, it is estimated that methyl alcohol is the second largest producer of natural gas after ammonia.

The overall processes of wood alcohol production are the same but differ in production methods.

Generally, three steps can be used to produce this material:

1- Synthesis gas production
2- Methanol synthesis from the synthesis gas produced in the first step
3- Distillation

First step: Synthesis gas production

The first step is to produce synthesis gas or syngas with water and methane sealants, this step, also called steam reforming, is one of the most common methods of producing synthetic gas  materials.

The reaction is as follows.





Methanol application

According to a report released in 2015, methyl alcohol is the largest contributor to formaldehyde production.
 The main uses of methyl alcohol can be seen below.

As you can see in the figure, dimethyl ether is one of the uses of methanol.

Acetic acid is another derivative of methyl alcohol, which has made its mark in the textile industry.

In general, the use of this material can be classified into two categories: industrial and non-industrial.

Industrial use
:1. Used widely in adhesive and sealing industry2- Applicable in the industry of antifreeze and desalination of pipes

3. Applicable to corrosion inhibitors and anti-scaling agents

4- Use in Fuels and Fuel Derivatives

5. Use in drinking water agents

6. Application in laboratory chemicals

7- Applicable to paint and coatings industry

8. Used extensively in industry as a solvent

9- Application as oxidizing and reducing agent

Non-industrial uses:
1- This chemical compound in agriculture also has many uses.2. It is also used in the manufacture of car care products.

3. Used in construction and construction as well as in the woodworking industry.

4- The production of electric and electronic icebreakers is also one of its important uses.

5- It is also used in cases such as foam chairs and bedding.

6. It is also used in laundry and dishwashing products.

7. It is also used in paper, plastic and rubber products.

8. They are also used in the production of personal care products.

Global demand and market

It’s worth noting that China is also one of the largest importer of this product with about 63 methyl alcohol production.

The country, while holding about 12 percent of the market in 2000 and ranking first and second in the US and Europe, managed to account for 63 percent of total production in 2016 and North America and Europe.

To marginalize in this area.

Last year, China accounted for 30 percent of China’s imports, up from 50 percent this year.


Forecast the global demand forecast for this material as follows.

Market trends

More than 90 methanol plants with a capacity of over 110 million tonnes or 36.6 billion gallons or 138 billion liters are operating worldwide.

In 2015, demand for this substance reached 75 million tonnes per year.

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Plans for the global methanol market based on compound annual growth rates from 2016 to 2021 show that the value of the substance by 2021 will reach US $ 54.16 billion.

Using it as a fuel in the automotive industry, increasing olefin production through MTO and MTP units in China and increasing petrochemical demand are among the most important growth factors for methanol production worldwide.


Methanol Tips

1) Methanol can be directly used in the combustion engine of vehicles and aircraft and has the same efficiency as diesel engines.
Recently, it has been used as one of the main fuels due to its efficient combustion and lower cost than other fuels in the shipping industry worldwide.
The largest market for this substance is in Asia and Oceania, and this trend will continue until 2021.

2) Use of this material in the fuel will result in better combustion, increase the octane number of gasoline and thus cause less pollution.

3) Formaldehyde, which is one of the derivatives of the above, has a very good market.


The graph below shows the demand for methanol for its various derivatives during 2009 to 2024 .

Global Manufacturers

China and India market for high methanol production capacity in IranThe most important importers of this material are in Iran, China and India.

China and India have purchased about 2.4 and 1.2 million tons of Iranian methanol in 2018, respectively.

This amount is far from the production of three new units of methanol production in Iran:

Given the new production capacity of this product in Iran, consumption and demand patterns of both China and India play a key role in exporting this product.

Due to the size of the market in these two countries, methanol producers in Iran should carefully consider the amount of exports to these two countries.

It is worth noting that the Indian market is not capable of absorbing much of the material produced by the new units and only China can be a good market for new products.

Existing problems

Especially during the winter, when gas shortages are common in the country.Coral Petrochemical reached commercial production in mid-summer 2018 and sold quantities of new products to India and China.

Overall, China and India have purchased 2.4 million and 1.2 million tonnes of methanol in 2018, far short of the 5.6 million tonnes of new units.


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