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How is methanol produced?

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Quick Answer

Methanol is made by transforming carbon monoxide and hydrogen into an artificial gas. Methanol can be produced using any plant-based resource that is transformed into gas. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen are produced using waste materials such as feedstock or landfill waste, which are mixed with zinc or copper to trigger the gasification process.

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Full Answer

The production of methanol is a simple procedure carried out all over the world using different natural resources as a starting point. While methanol production was mainly based on coal in the past, the process has since evolved and now generally involves carbon monoxide and hydrogen as main gasification components. To create these types of gases artificially, specialized plants use feedstock and waste material, such as timber, biomass or agricultural waste.

There are clear advantages for using natural waste products to start off the production process. Methanol production plants can use general or agricultural waste from landfills, that would otherwise be discarded. The process, called biomass gasification, is simple, efficient and part of a global effort to embrace renewable energy production. It converts organic or fossil materials into natural gas that is converted into methanol using small amounts of metals, such as zinc or copper. Trinidad and Tobago are currently the biggest producers and exporters of methanol in the world.

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