4 Facts and Uses about Methanol You Need to Know

4 Facts and Uses about Methanol You Need to Know

Methanol is a non drinking type of alcohol (otherwise known as wood alcohol and methyl alcohol) which is generally used to create fuel, solvents and antifreeze. Methanol is a colorless liquid that is volatile, flammable; and unlike ethanol, methanol is very poisonous for human consumption. Methanol is also used to produce a variety of other chemicals, this includes acetic acid. Small amounts of methanol naturally occur in many living organisms as part of their metabolic processes. For instance, methanol occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables.

Menthol is a chemical compound that is extracted from peppermint or corn mint plants, or it can be synthetically created. Menthol decreases the harshness of cigarette smoke due to its distinctive cooling effects on the mouth and throat. Menthol also suppresses the coughing reflex, which makes inhaling smoke from cigarettes more tolerable.

Here are some of the chemical safety facts and uses about methanol you need to know about: –


1. The Creation of Methanol 

  • Methanol is synthetically produced by a multi-step process that involves natural gas and a process known as “steam reforming” in industrial settings. 
  • In the past, methanol was once created by the distillation of wood, which explains why methanol is sometimes known as wood alcohol. 
  • The distillation of wood is the process in which the wood is heated to form charcoal and vapors. 
  • The vapors are then condensed and collected to form a liquid that is brownish in color, thus explaining the creation of methanol.


2. The Differences Between Methanol and Ethanol 

  • Methanol is very poisonous.
  • Methanol is one of the chemicals that can be used in little amounts to denature alcohol (commonly known as ethanol) to keep people from drinking ethanol products like mouth wash and fuel blends.


3. The Uses and Properties of Methanol 

  • Methanol can be used as Antifreeze
    • Methanol has chemical properties which enables it to lower the freezing point of a water-based liquid and increase its boiling point. 
    • These characteristics of methanol can be used as an antifreeze in windshield washer fluid to prevent the cleaning fluid from freezing. 
    • Methanol is also injected into natural gas pipelines, which lowers the freezing point of water during oil and gas transport.


  • Methanol can be found in Food
    • Methanol occurs naturally in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. Dietary methanol helps to regulate human gene activity . 
    • Methanol is created in the human digestive system to help metabolize food.


  • Methanol can be used as a Solvent
    • Methanol is mainly used as an industrial solvent to help produce inks, resins, adhesives, and dyes. 
    • Methanol is also used as a solvent in manufacturing important pharmaceutical ingredients and products, like cholesterol, streptomycin, vitamins and hormones.


  • Methanol can be used as Fuel
    • About 45 percent of the world’s methanol is used in energy-related applications. 
    • Methanol can be used as a type of vehicle fuel or marine fuel for boats. 
    • Methanol can also be blended into gasoline to create an efficient fuel known as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) which has lesser emissions than conventional gasoline. 
    • Methanol is also used in biodiesel, which is a renewable type of fuel made from plants or animal fats that can be used in place of, or blended into conventional fuel.


To conclude, methanol has many properties and uses and is often used in our daily lives.