Methanol is used in the oil and gas industry primarily to prevent hydration and icing when transporting fuel from offshore locations. The oil and gas industry accounts for less than one percent of worldwide methanol usage, as of 2015. Methanol is growing in popularity as a safe source of fuel for the environment.
Methanol traditionally has been used in producing formaldehyde and other chemicals that are used to make products such as plastics, magnetic film, carpeting, windshield washing fluid and safety glass. Demand for methanol as a fuel source for vehicles is growing because it is inexpensive, easy to transport and produces less toxic emissions than fossil fuels. Vehicles perform better when fueled with methanol instead of gasoline.
Use of methanol in the production of fuel cells is growing because it contains more hydrogen per gallon than any other liquid. Methanol is crucial to the production of biodiesel fuel from the triglyceride oils in vegetable oil, animal fats and cooking grease. Biodiesel fuel is growing in usage because it is not toxic to the environment.
Research is ongoing into use of methanol as a means to produce electricity. Methanol can be used to produce steam that moves turbines, generating electricity.