Methanol FAQ’s

1. What is methanol?
Also known as “wood alcohol,” methanol is a clear, flammable liquid. Methanol occurs naturally in the environment because of biological processes conducted by vegetation, microorganisms, and other living species.
2. How is methanol produced?
Methanol can be produced from any carbon-based source. These would include: natural gas, coal, municipal wastes, landfill gas, wood wastes, and seaweed. Methanol is primarily produced by steam reforming natural gas to create a synthesis gas combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which is fed into a reactor vessel in the presence of a nickel catalyst to produce water vapor and methanol. A distillation step is used to remove water from the finished methanol.

3. What are the raw materials used for making methanol?
natural gas, carbon dioxide, and water.

4. Are animals and/or animal parts used in the manufacturing of methanol?
No animals or animal parts of any kind are used in making methanol nor does the methanol come in contact with animals at anytime during storage or transportation. No contact even under tertiary status.

5. What are some common uses of methanol?
Methanol has a number of uses. As a basic building block for hundreds of chemical products, methanol is being used safely and effectively in everything from plastics and paints, to construction materials and windshield washer fluid. It is the principal ingredient in various organic chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetic acid, chloromethane, and MTBE. Since 1965, methanol has been the only racing fuel used by the Indianapolis 500. Methanol also is an ideal hydrogen carrier fuel for fuel cell
technology applications. In addition, methanol is used for denitrification in municipal wastewater treatment plants and can be an excellent turbine fuel for electric power generation.

6. Are your manufacturing facilities ISO 9000 or ISO 9001 certified?
SCC’s supply source, Methanol Holdings Trinidad (MHTL) is ISO certified.

7. How often are your Material Safety Data Sheets updated?
Material Safety Data Sheets are regularly updated every three years. In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that SDS be available to employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace under the Hazard Communication regulation. The SDS is also required to be made available to local fire departments and local and state emergency planning officials under Section 311 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The American Chemical Society defines Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CAS numbers) which provide a unique number for each chemical and are used internationally in SDSs.

8. Is methanol toxic?
Methanol can be harmful if swallowed, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. Ingestion of as little as one to four ounces can cause irreversible injury to the nervous system, blindness, or death. However, methanol is already present within the human body in small quantities from eating fruits and vegetables, and drinking diet soda containing artificial sweeteners. When properly contained and handled, methanol can be a safe and effective product for a wide range of applications. Please refer to our SDS for additional information.
9. What is the shelf-life of methanol?
Without interference from or interaction with contaminants, methanol will not deteriorate or decompose, thus the shelf life would be indefinite. Problems may arise if the product is not protected from exposure to contamination, including exposure to the atmosphere. Methanol is very hydroscopic and will readily mix with water if the product is left open. Methanol should always be stored in appropriate containers.

10. What are some common methanol conversion factors?
One metric ton of methanol (2,204.62 lbs) = Approximately 333 U.S. gallons. The production of methanol from natural gas consumes about 100,000 BTUs per U.S. gallon, or 333.3
million BTUs per metric ton.

11. How is methanol identified?
Methanol – CAS Number #67-56-1
Chemical Formula – CH3OH
Synonyms – Methyl Alcohol, Wood Alcohol; Wood Spirits
DOT Hazard Class – Flammable Liquid, Class 3
UN Number – 1230
DOT Placard – Flammable Liquid, Class 3, Color: Red
OSHA Label Required
Reportable Quantity – 5000 pounds or approx. 755 gallons
STCC Number – 4909230

12. What are the disposal considerations for methanol?
Methanol must be disposed of in accordance with federal, state, and local environmental control regulations. Waste methanol in concentrations equal to or greater than 24% by weight meets the definition of an ignitable hazardous waste. Product grade methanol, when disposed, is a listed
hazardous waste.