Methanol is produced from synthesis gas, which is a mixture of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas. Methanol is further processed to produce other industrially important chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetyls. The largest application of methanol is processing it into formaldehyde which is further treated to form resins, glues and various plastics. Methanol is also being considered as an alternative transportation fuel, as it is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions.
The top five companies covered are Methanex Corporation, LyondellBasell Industries Holdings NV, PetroChina Company Limited, SABIC, and OCI N.V. Methanex Corporation was the largest competitor in the methanol market in 2017.
The countries covered are China, India, Japan, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, USA, Brazil and Australia.
The global methanol market was valued at $10.9 billion in 2017. Asia-Pacific was the largest region in the global methanol market, accounting for 44% of the market. China was the largest country in the market, accounting for 21% of the market.
Large-scale plants using natural gas as feedstock are increasingly using auto thermal reforming (ATR) for production of methanol. In this process, instead of a tubular reformer, an ATR is used which significantly reduces steam addition to freestreams. Pre-reformed natural gas is transferred to ATR reformer, where hydrocarbons undergo combustion in presence of oxygen. Dissipation or supply of thermal energy is not required in this process, which makes it preferable. ATR can be used in combination or as a standalone technology providing flexibility to manufacturers. ATR is cost effective as well as provides high operational reliability. Companies using this technology include Sasol and Royal Dutch Shell.
The Methanol Market is segmented into Formaldehyde, MTO/MTP, Fuel Blending, Acetic Acid, Dimethyl ether, MTBE, Solvents, Methylamines, MMA, Chloro-methanes, and Others.
Formaldehyde Market formaldehyde is produced by oxidation of methanol using a catalyst such as silver or metal oxide followed by dehydrogenation. Formaldehyde is an important raw material for production of plastics and paints. Other industrial applications of formaldehyde include the use of this chemical in production of drugs, pesticides and also as a preservative, disinfectant and antiseptic in embalming solutions.
MTO/MTP Methanol-to-olefin (MTO) is a process which is used to convert methanol to products such as olefins and gasoline. Methanol is converted to olefins such as ethylene and propylene, which are used to make many plastic materials. Critical catalyst called zeolite is involved to speed up the process and make it economical. This segment is the fast growing segment, especially in countries such as China which does not have access to low cost ethane or naphtha, thus making it an attractive alternative to produce plastic products.
Fuel Blending Methanol’s environmentally friendly characteristics as a liquid fuel at room temperature makes it an attractive alternative for automotive. Methanol is also used as a feedstock for the production of dimethyl ether, a clean burning liquid gas used primarily for cooking and heating applications and also acts as a suitable replacement for diesel fuel. This simple molecule packed with hydrogen and no carbon-to-carbon bonds burns cleaner than most energy sources
Acetic Acid Consumption Market acetic acid is produced by methanol carbonylation (addition of carbon monoxide), methyl acetate is a byproduct of this reaction. Acetic acid is majorly used to produce vinyl acetate, a precursor to polyvinyl acetate and also used as laboratory and industrial solvent. Major applications of acetic acid include use in production of dyes, perfumes, fibers and textiles
Dimethyl ether is produced from methanol by a process known as methanol dehydration in the presence of catalysts such as silica-alumina. It is used as a replacement for propane in LPG, it can also be used as a replacement for diesel fuel in transportation.
Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Market Isobutylene, produced as a byproduct in refinery catalytic crackers and in petrochemical ethylene plants, is reacted with methanol to produce methyl tert-butyl ether. MTBE is used as a fuel additive in motor gasoline. It is one of a group of chemicals known as oxygenates because they raise the oxygen content of gasoline.
Solvents Methanol is a polar protic solvent, which means it serves as the medium for a chemical reaction. Methanol has high dielectric constants and dipole moments, which allows the chemical reaction to move forward. They can also participate in hydrogen bonding and can also serve as acids and weak nucleophiles (forming bonds with strong electrophiles). They are used as solvents for their conjugate bases. These type of solvents are more likely to participate in reactions
Methylamines are produced by the reaction of methanol and ammonia at high temperature and high pressure over a dehydration catalyst. It is commonly used in areas such as pesticide production, solvent production, pharmaceuticals, rubber vulcanization accelerator, dyes, explosives, leather, petroleum, surfactants and water treatment
MMA Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is an organic compound which is produced using ethylene, methanol and carbon monoxide as feedstock. The principal application of MMA is the manufacture of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA)
Chloro-methanes are industrially produced by reaction of methanol and hydrogen chloride. Chloro-methanes are used as intermediates in the production of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, refrigerants, silicone polymers and fluoropolymers, and are important raw materials for the construction and automotive industries, water treatment, cookware and electronics.
Others This segment covers other methanol derivatives such as dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) market and chloroform.