Methanol has the advantage that it can be produced from a wide range of feedstock. It is in fact one of the most flexible sources of energy we know today. It is simple to make and cheap to produce.

The methanol industry spans the entire globe, with production in Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. On a global scale, over 100 methanol plants have a combined production capacity of about 100 million metric tons (125 billion liters). Every day more than 180,000 tons of methanol is used as a chemical feedstock or as a transportation fuel (225 million liters). The methanol industry creates over 100,000 jobs around the globe.

Most methanol is produced from natural gas and coal, but renewable methanol (green methanol) do exist in form of biogas or biomass gasification. Through a power to gas process based on renewable hydrogen and carbon dioxide synthesis, it is possible to balance the energy mix and fix carbon emissions from related industrial production.

Methanol can be produced from the following: 

  • Black methanol: Produced from coal. China, who consume 30% of the methanol in the world, produces 75% of their methanol from coal. In 2010 China consumed 22.7 million tons methanol and in 2015 it is expected to be 50 million tons.
  • Grey methanol: Produced from waste- and by-products. It is renewable to the extent that it is produced from waste- or renewable by-products. It can however not be regarded as green and sustainable methanol, as it is not produced from renewable sources.
  • Green methanol: Green methanol can be produced in various ways and is thus CO2 neutral from well-to-wheel.
    • Bio-mass: Green methanol can be produced from bio-mass or the biodegradable part of garbage, such as wood waste.
    • Syngas: Another way to produce green methanol is from the extra sustainable wind power, which is contained in a liquid form in methanol and converted into energy. This method is called green methanol synthesis.

Below is listed some Renewable Methanol production facilities:

Carbon Recycling International – Iceland

Producing 2nd generation methanol from geosynthesis.

Carbon capture combined with renewable hydrogen equals methanol.

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 BioMCN – The Netherlands

Production of 2nd generation methanol from biogas.

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Chemrec – Sweden

Production of 2nd generation methanol from forrest waste.

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Produces 2nd generation methanol from municipal solid waste (e.g. gabage).

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