Methanol, also popularly known as , along with its additives, has a variety of industrial applications, apart from its direct and extensive use as fuels in internal combustion engines of vehicles and aircrafts. The popularity of pure methanol as alternative, eco-friendly fuel is attributed to several notable benefits such as efficiency comparable to diesel, high safety, and pollution. When mixed with gasoline, it reduces the inflammability and also serve as viable compound for biodiesels in the automotive industry. Methanol has been widely used as reagents in a number of industrial reactions, acting as feedstock, and as denaturing agent. Other popular applications of methanol are in the production of biodiesel in the trans-esterification stage, and its use as antifreeze agents in pipelines and windshield washer fluid, and wastewater treatment plants. The markedly rising demand for biodiesel in the region is also boosting the market.
The myriad number of applications drive the demand in various end-use industries. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the opportunities in the global methanol market is projected to surge to US$131,344.3 mn in revenue, clocking a CAGR of 5.4% from 2017 to 2026.
Research world over have also focused on ways on improving the manufacturing techniques of methanol, making the process more eco-friendly and cost-effective. This has opened exciting avenues for market players.
Which end-use application is expected to bolster the demand for methanol?
The most prominent use of methanol is in the manufacturing of other chemicals, which have wide applications in making a variety of end products. Some of the major end uses of the compound are in the making of formaldehyde, acetic acid, MMA, gasoline blending, methyl tert-butyl ether, biodiesel, dimethyl ether, and methanol-to-propylene or methanol-to-olefins. Among all these, methanol is extensively used in the conversion of formaldehyde, which in turn have wide applications in industries such as construction, textiles, automotive, furniture, paints and coatings, and pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, the use of formaldehyde in making amino resins with several amazing properties, such as marked adhesive strength and high moisture resistance, stoke the demand for methanol.
As per an estimate by TMR, the formaldehyde segment is projected to garner maximum market volume exceeding 37,200 KT by the end of 2026. The growth in the segment is attributed mainly to the substantially high demand for formaldehyde as a cost-effective way in the production of fuels and a number of useful materials, including paints and adhesives, plastics, and explosives.
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The need for reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing process of methanol has led to some exciting research world over. A recent research by scientists at Osaka University, have developed a smart process to convert methane into methanol using aerobic oxygenation of methane using free radicals. Such breakthroughs help in paving way for phasing out energy-intensive methods for the production of methanol, using greenhouse gases. These research and development activities are accentuating the market through the assessment period.
Which region is anticipated to present attractive prospects for the demand for methanol?
Geographically, Asia Pacific Excluding Japan (APEJ) is projected to witness vastly rising demand for methanol. APEJ is estimated to rise at a promising pace and the market is projected to remain dominant throughout the assessment period. The substantial demand for methanol and its derivatives in industries such as construction, furniture and textile, and automotive is fueling the regional market over the period. Methanol has also gained traction as a source of energy in several of its economies. The rising production of eco-friendly compounds in the region, coupled with several national governments in the adoption as transportation fuel, is stoking the demand for methanol as feedstock in industrial applications.
Meanwhile, Latin America is expected to witness emerging demand for methanol, especially in countries such as Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. A burgeoning end-use industries in these countries is a key factor catalyzing the growth of this regional market. North America is also expected to witness substantial demand for methanol, chiefly on account of the rising natural gas supply in the U.S. in recent times.