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.
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Methanol is being blended into gasoline and is being used in vehicles to improve safety, reliability, fuel economy and lower environmental impact. Methanol can be blended in smaller quantities with gasoline and can be used in existing vehicles or can be blended in larger quantities in dedicated methanol-fueled vehicles. It can also be used as a substitute to diesel fuel. For example, China has tested 4000 vehicles including cars, trucks and buses and has proved that vehicles run on methanol are clean, economical and reliable to use. In 2018, central government of China is expected to commercialize these vehicles. Geely, an automotive manufacturer in China plans to invest RMB 8 billion ($1.26 billion) in plant and equipment for methanol vehicles.
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The methanol industry explains that 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 chemicals market, of which the methanol market is a segment, consists of the sales of chemicals by entities (organizations, sole traders and partnerships) that produce chemicals based on the transformation of organic and inorganic raw materials by a chemical process and the formulation of products (but excluding beneficiating of mining output, refining of crude petroleum, manufacturing of aluminum oxide, primary metal manufacturing, beverage distilling, tobacco manufacturing).The chemicals industry establishments produce a variety of chemical products by processing raw materials such as air, water, natural gas, oil, metals and minerals.
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The methanol market report covers market characteristics, size and growth, segmentation, regional and country breakdowns, competitive landscape, market shares, trends and strategies for this market. It traces the market’s historic and forecast growth by geography. It places the market within the context of the wider chemicals market, and compares it with other markets.