What is Methanol?
Methanol, CH3OH, is a clear and colorless liquid used to manufacture a wide variety of chemical products. It is employed as a Hydrogen carrier for fuel-cell applications and as an alternative fuel. Methanol is also known as “wood alcohol” because it was originally a byproduct in the distillation of wood. It is produced in a number of different ways, but the primary method is through the synthesis of Natural gas. The gas is first compressed and then purified by removing sulfur compounds. The purified Natural gas is saturated with heated water. The mixed Natural gas and water vapor then goes to the reformer to be partially converted to synthesis gas, a mixture of Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and Hydrogen. In reaction with Oxygen, this synthesis gas is then converted to crude Methanol in a catalytic synthesis converter. Distillation removes water and organic impurities, producing Methanol with a purity of 99.5%.
Methanol has many uses. It is a very important intermediate component in the production of numerous chemicals, materials and products.
Methanol Usage List
|Carpets (synthetic)||Antibacterial items||Autobody polish||Batteries|
|Cleaning fluids||Clothing (e.g fleece)||Antifreeze||Car battery / Fuel cells|
|Flooring||Cosmetics||Bio-diesel||Blackberry / PDAs|
|Garden fertilizers||Detergent||Fuel additive||Cellular phones|
|Laminate Tiles||Leather goods||Denaturing agent||MP3 Players|
|Mattress foams||Mouthwash||Vehicle body panels||Computer mouse|
|Paper products||Perfume||Light covers||Fax machines|
|Plastic bottles||Pharmaceuticals||Polyester carpets||Microwaves|
|Refrigerators||Shoes||Safety glass||Plastic casing|
|Roofing material||Soap (bar/liquid)||Tire cores||CDs / DVDs|
Energy equivalence facts
Every fuel has an energy content, which means that when it is released –burnt in an engine, for instance– it can be used for any purpose. The energy content of each material, especially fuels, means that a given volume (1 liter, for example) can power a car a certain distance. Methanol has lower energy content than Gasoline or Diesel (17MJ/L compared to 34.2 for Gasoline and 37.3 for Diesel).
This means that theoretically, about 2.15 liters of Methanol are required for each liter of Gasoline and 2.346 liters of Methanol for each liter of Diesel fuel.
In fact, high-octane Methanol actually increases engine efficiency. This means that the volume required is no longer 2.15 liters of Methanol for every liter of Gasoline or 2.346 liters of Methanol for every liter of Diesel. Due to the increased engine efficiency, only 1.6 liters of Methanol are needed for every liter of Gasoline or for every 1.8 liters of Diesel.