Methanol is a liquid petrochemical that is predominantly produced from natural gas and is utilized in a variety of industrial and energy related applications.
The primary use of methanol is to make other chemicals, with approximately 60% of global methanol demand being used to produce formaldehyde, acetic acid and a variety of other chemicals that form the foundation of a large number of chemical derivatives. These derivatives are used to produce a wide range of products, including adhesives for the lumber industry, plywood, particle board and laminates, resins to treat paper and plastic products, and also paint and varnish removers, solvents for the textile industry and polyester fibers for clothing and carpeting.
Energy related applications consume the remaining 40% of methanol demand. In recent years, there has been a strong demand for methanol in energy applications such as gasoline blending, biodiesel and as a feedstock in the production of dimethyl ether (DME) and Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), particularly in China. Outside of the United States, methanol is used as a direct fuel for automobile engines, a fuel blended with gasoline, and an octane booster in reformulated gasoline.