Methanol is primarily used as a chemical feedstock for production of a wide range of important industrial chemicals, primarily acetic acid, formaldehyde, methyl methacrylate and methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE). Information shows about 40% of methanol is converted to formaldehyde, and from there into products as diverse as plastics, plywood, paints, explosives, and permanent press textiles. Methanol is also used directly as a fuel or fuel supplement. And the methanol industry is growing very fast that new applications for its use are rapidly explored. Methanol is being seen as a product that can be blended into the gasoline pool directly. This can help to reduce dependence on crude oil which is being proved as environmental friendly.
Most methanol is made from syngas today. The synthesis processes are designed by using different operation conditions, for using different pressure, there are High pressure, Low pressure etc. The reaction is summarized as below:
2 H2 + CO → CH3OH
CO2 + 3 H2 → CH3OH + H2O
CO + H2O → CO2 + H2
By utilizing coal and natural gas as feed material, the methanol production capacity of China is around 51,000,000 metric tonnes in 2013. Both capacity and production ranked the first in the world.