Methanol is a colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor. It is the simplest alcohol and is used as a solvent and fuel. Methanol is produced from natural gas, coal, or biomass, and is used in a variety of products and industrial processes, including as a feedstock for the production of other chemicals, as a fuel for vehicles and ships, and as a fuel and fuel additive for internal combustion engines. Demand for methanol has grown over the past decade, driven by increasing demand for petrochemicals, transportation fuels, and other industrial uses.
The global methanol market size is expected to grow from USD 30.7 billion in 2021 to USD 36.3 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 3.4% during the forecast period. . The growth of the construction, automotive and electronics industries plays a key role in driving the methanol market.
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Methanol manufacturers are the most important players in the value chain as they produce and provide various derivatives and sub-derivatives of methanol based on their required properties for the specific end-use applications. The end-use industries such as construction, automotive, electronics, appliances, solvents, paints & coatings, pharmaceuticals, insulation, packaging (PET bottles), and others use these derivatives and sub-derivatives. This provides additional value to the chain.
Automotive is the largest market of methanol, with a 24.6% share, globally. Alcohol-based fuels have been used in automotive applications, for many years. Methanol can be used directly in internal combustion engines of vehicles and aircraft, showing similar efficiency to diesel engines. Earlier, methanol was used as an anti-freezing agent in a car’s cooling system, but then it has been replaced with more effective alternatives, such as propylene or ethylene glycol. However, it is still popular as a windshield water fuel. Methanol is a desirable choice as a transportation fuel due to its efficient combustion, ease of distribution, and wide availability worldwide.
Methanol is used large-scale production of petrochemicals. The growth in petrochemicals demand in APAC is driving the methanol market. The use of petrochemicals in end-use industries such as automotive and construction is the main driving force for the methanol market. In the petrochemical industry, organic chemicals with the largest production volume are methanol, ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, and xylenes. Ethylene, propylene, and butadiene, along with butylene, are collectively called olefins. Methanol is a forerunner to a variety of chemical products and is generally referred to as primary petrochemical.
Asia Pacific accounted for the largest share of the Methanol market in 2020. Factors such as the rapidly increasing consumption of methanol in the automotive, construction and pharmaceutical industries in countries such as China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia have led to an increased demand for Methanol in the Asia Pacific region.
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Celanese Corporation (Texas), BASF SE (Germany), Methanex Corporation (Canada), SABIC (Saudi Arabia), PETRONAS (Malaysia), Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company (Japan), and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (Japan) among others are the leading methanol manufacturers, globally.