Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH (often abbreviated MeOH). It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colourless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odour very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol (drinking alcohol). At room temperature, it is a polar liquid, and is used as an antifreeze, solvent, fuel, and as a denaturant for ethanol. It is also used for producing biodiesel via transesterification reaction.
Methanol is produced naturally in the anaerobic metabolism of many varieties of bacteria, and is ubiquitous in the environment. As a result, there is a small fraction of methanol vapour in the atmosphere. Over the course of several days, atmospheric methanol is oxidized with the help of sunlight to carbon dioxide and water.
Producing other Chemials
The largest use of methanol by far is in making other chemicals, as below:
- About 40% of methanol is converted to formaldehyde production which is used in MDF and plywood industry.
- Methanol is mixed with water and injected into high performance diesel and gasoline engines for an increase of power and a decrease in intake air temperature in a process known as water methanol injection.
- Melamine resin production for use in range of utensil, inbuilt switches and ranges of industrial glue.
- Acetic acid productionfor use in VAM andcellulose acetate in textile industry.
- Methyl Metacrylate (PMAA) for use in laminates.
- Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) production as a gas online enhancer
- Producing DME for substituting diesel fuel.
- Producing ethylene and propylene as raw material of petrochemical companies.