What is Methanol?
Methanol can be made from virtually anything that is, or ever was, a plant. This includes common fossil fuels – like natural gas and coal. It can also be used as renewable resources ranging from biomass to landfill gas. Methanol can also be made from wasted CO2 from the atmosphere to generate electricity and technology. With its diversity of production feedstocks and array of applications, it’s no wonder that methanol has been one of the world’s most widely used industrial chemicals since the 1800s.
Production of Methanol
Today, methanol is typically produced on an industrial scale using natural gas as the principal feedstock. A world-scale methanol plant produces 5,000 metric tons per day – 600 million gallons/2.3 billion liters per year – by reforming natural gas with steam and then putting the resulting synthesis gas through conversion into liquid methanol. But this simplest alcohol can be made from many more feedstocks, including coal, biomass, municipal solid waste, biogas, waste CO2, and even renewable electricity. Methanol production offers a “future proof” transition to sustainable fuels and chemicals.