Getting to know methanol

At a glance

When we think of alcohol, perhaps many of us immediately conjure up images of alcoholic beverages. But the kind of alcohol that we’re “getting to know” in this article is methanol — and it’s not the kind that anyone should be drinking. In fact, doing so with even a small amount could be fatal.

Methanol is also referred to as wood alcohol, and was originally distilled from wood by Irish chemist Robert Boyle in 1661. He distilled boxwood and found the result to be a flammable, clean-burning liquid, which he called “spirit of box.” Two hundred years later, the scientific community agreed to call the substance “methanol.”

With its relatively simple chemical structure, CH3OH, methanol is usually produced today by directly combining carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen with a catalyst. It can boast a range of important industrial uses, so let’s find out more.

The many uses of methanol

There are thousands of applications of methanol, including many in our daily lives. These include in gasoline, plywood, and high-performance plastics.

There is also growing interest in methanol-powered ships and automobiles. In particular, it is quite useful as a fuel because it has all the properties that we expect from one: liquid at room temperature, flammable, and easy to transport and manufacture.

Methanol-powered ships are currently being developed with the idea of having ships run on the same substance that they are transporting. Also, as shipping is a significant consumer of fossil fuels, finding alternative fuels is better for the environment.

Demand for methanol fuels steady market growth

The global methanol market is forecast to reach USD 38 billion by 2028, rising from USD 30.9 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 4.2%.

The market is being driven by demand in the construction and automotive sectors as well as electronics and appliances.

You can also see in the infographic below how Saudi Arabia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States were listed as the largest methanol exporters as of 2021, while China, the United States, India, and Korea were the most significant importers.

Where does Samsung C&T come in?

Given the vast global reach of the market, companies trading methanol can benefit from developing wide-ranging capabilities.

Samsung C&T Trading & Investment Group uses its own logistics facilities to conduct various methanol-related sales operations in the Asian market, including in Korea, China, and Vietnam.

Based on stable business relationships with major domestic chemical companies and global suppliers, Samsung C&T ranks first in methanol market share in Korea and Vietnam and continues to expand its sales to other countries such as China.

Samsung C&T will continue to strive to drive this important commodity that has very different associations than those that usually surround alcohol!

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