Methanol is the simplest type of alcohol, or methyl alcohol. This material can be classified as one of the basic materials of the petrochemical industry. In 2014, the substance was produced and consumed by about 64 million tons worldwide. Methanol is produced from synthesis gas, and synthesis gas is also produced from various sources, including natural gas (methane), coal, and liquid fuels.
In 2014, 59% of the world’s methanol was produced from natural gas and 31% from coal. Methanol, as a raw material, has the ability to be converted into various products. Formaldehyde has the largest share of methanol consumption with 31%. Octane-boosting compounds, including methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and the direct use of methanol in combination with gasoline, account for 22% of methanol consumption. Other products, including acetic acid, dimethyl ether, and solvents, each with 10, 10, and 5 percent, respectively, are in the next place in methanol consumption.
An important point in the production of methanol in different parts of the world is to pay attention to the feed used in the production of this substance. The Middle East produces 100 percent of its methanol from natural gas, while the Northeast Asia region (China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) produces 67 percent of its methanol from coal and only 17 percent from It produces natural gas.
The European Union produces 46 percent of its methanol from heavy liquids and 47 percent from natural gas. North America, like the Middle East, produces 96 percent of its methanol from natural gas. The difference in the type of feed used to produce methanol in different parts of the world has made it a competitive advantage over areas with natural gas. This has led to a huge gap between the world’s methanol production capacity and real methanol production.
In 2014, the world’s methanol production capacity was about 106 million tons, and the volume of methanol produced was only 64 million tons, which compares the two figures to indicate that there is a 40% vacancy in the production and supply of methanol in the world. For various reasons, including the production of methanol, it relies on cheap resources in areas such as the Middle East. A major share of the world’s vacant methanol capacity is in far-flung countries such as the European Union and Asia-Pacific, which are unable to compete with the newly established complexes in the Middle East.
The Value Chain Studies Center believes that the production, conversion and export of methanol in our beloved country of Iran can be one of the priorities for the development of the petrochemical industry. However, it should be noted that planning in this regard requires answering the following questions:
How much methanol is produced in the country and at what time?
How much of the methanol produced in the country will be exported? What will be the export destinations of the countries?
How much of the methanol produced in the country and what products are converted from the value chain of this substance?
The Value Chain Studies Center believes that answering any of the above questions will require analysis. It is also noteworthy that other parts of the world, including North America, have made serious plans to produce methanol in the coming years. It is worth mentioning that you can refer to the website for better analysis of methanol value chain.