Methanol (Methyl Alcohol)

Definition - What does Methanol (Methyl Alcohol) mean?

Methanol is a volatile, light, flammable and colorless liquid with a peculiar odor similar to but little sweeter than ethanol. It is known by various names such as wood alcohol, methyl alcohol, methyl hydrate, wood spirits and wood naphtha. Its chemical formula is CH3OH, which is produced in the catalytic industrial process from carbon dioxide, hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It is a highly toxic chemical which is unfit for consumption. Methanol is a polar liquid used as a solvent, antifreeze, fuel, and denaturant for ethanol. It is poisonous to the central nervous system and can result in coma, blindness or even death.

Petropedia explains Methanol (Methyl Alcohol)

Methanol is truly a global commodity and a plays a key role in new applications and modern life. Methanol is used in numerous applications such as:

  • Wastewater Denitrification: It used by the private and municipal wastewater treatment that remove nitrogen from the effluent streams.
  • Electricity Generation: Various companies have power plants which use methanol to drive turbines which generates electricity.
  • Transportation Fuel: It is the most basic alcohol and is easy to transport. It is readily available and contains high rating of octane that allows for a superior vehicle performance as compared to gasoline.

It is ubiquitous in the environment and is naturally produced in anaerobic metabolism of various kinds of bacteria. It is called wood alcohol as it was once produced as a byproduct of destructive distillation of wood. It is a colorless liquid which solidifies at -93.9° and boils at 64.96°C.

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