Methyl alcohol (methanol) is a clear, colourless liquid. It is one of the primary commodity materials used in chemical syntheses, with derivatives having applications in virtually all walks of life.

Methanol is a raw material for many important chemicals such as formaldehyde, MTBE, acetic acid, methylamines, methyl methacrylate and dimethyl terephthalate.

The main chemical derivatives, formaldehyde and acetic acid, could be found in a number of everyday products like glues, adhesives, paints, laminates, pharmaceutical products, textiles, press wood products, construction materials and fiberglass installations.

While considered to be highly toxic if digested orally by humans, methanol in its clear liquid chemical form is water soluble and readily biodegradable. Methanol is also a clean-burning fuel with environmentally friendly properties due to its low Sulphur and Nitrogen Oxide emissions. Increasingly, methanol’s environmental and economic advantages are making it an attractive alternative fuel for powering vehicles and ships. At present approximately 44% of methanol’s global consumption, which was estimated to be around 70 million tonnes in 2015, is used in energy applications. 

With the International Maritime Organization (IMO) introducing more stringent SOx and NOx regulations in Emission Control Areas (ECAs), marine methanol is viewed as a cost effective alternative to LNG and Marine Gas Oil (MGO) to meet future IMO SOx emissions, which could result in a 0.5% global fuel Sulphur cap from as early as January 1st, 2020 from the current 3.5% in areas outside of the ECA. 

In China, methanol’s use in gasoline blending, Dimethyl Ether (DME) and Methanol to Olefin (MTO) has contributed to China becoming the largest consumer of methanol globally, with China consuming approximately 50 million tonnes of methanol. 

At MHTL, methanol is produced utilizing the ICI Low Pressure Methanol Synthesis Process. (link to process).

Learn more about the safe handling of methanol.