The uses of Methanol

Chemical Precursors (55%)

As the simplest alcohol, methanol is used in the production of many secondary chemicals.

  • Many of these, such as MMA, chloromethane, and acetic acid, are important in polymer production.
  • Others, such as methylamine, are used in pharmaceuticals.
  • Methanol - to - Olefin / Paraffin produces other feedstock chemicals.

Formaldehyde production is the main use of methanol, accounting for 29 % of global production.

  • Formaldehyde is used in the production of a wide range of plastics and resins, such as melamine and formica.

Fuels and additives (34%)

  • Methanol can be used as a fuel, both directly and through blending with gasoline.
  • It can be used to produce other fuel additives such as MTBE.
  • It features prominently in the production of biodiesel, and in the production of dimethyl ether, a green diesel substitute.

Other uses (11%)

  • As well as being used as a common solvent, methanol has many uses in the energy industry.
  • Methanol is useful for both hydrogen and energy storage
  • It can be used in Methanol Fuel Cells, which have higher energy density than Li batteries

James Hayward and Michael Bowker
Cardiff Catalysis Institute
School of Chemistry
Cardiff University

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement
No 637016.


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