Methanol, also called wood
alcohol with the chemical formula CH3OH, is a widely used organic
solvent. As the simplest alcohol, methanol is volatile, light, colourless and
flammable liquid with a special odour similar to drinking alcohol. Due to its
toxicity, methanol can cause metabolic acidosis and even death.
Methanol can be produced from
many kinds of feedstocks in a series of reactions. Methanol is obtained in two
stages. Feedstock natural gas is first converted into a synthesis gas stream
including CO2, CO, H2O and hydrogen in a typical plant.
Catalytic reforming of feed gas and steam helps to make the reaction happen.
The next stage involves catalytic synthesis of methanol from the synthesis
As a perfect and common
solvent, methanol has a broad range of applications. The largest one is to
produce other chemicals. It is a key component of hundreds of chemicals that
are necessary in our lives. Methanol is usually converted into acetic acid,
formaldehyde, and olefins. In Paint industry methanol is also an essential
material to produce paints and other important components.
It is a key component of
hundreds of chemicals that are necessary in our lives. Methanol is usually
converted into acetic acid, formaldehyde, and olefins.
In wastewater treatment
plants, a small amount of methanol is added to provide a carbon food
source for the denitrifying bacteria, which converts nitrates to
nitrogen to reduce the nitrification of sensitive aquifers.
Methanol is used on a limited
basis to fuel internal combustion engines. When produced from wood or other
organic materials, the resulting organic methanol is a renewable alternative to
petroleum-based hydrocarbons. Low levels of methanol can be used in existing
vehicles, with the use of proper co-solvents and corrosion inhibitors.