PEP Review IX-1-2
Methanol from Non-Hydrocarbon Sources
Published: September 1973
Process patents to Tenneco chemicals for the separation of carbon monoxide from gaseous mixtures and to Bethlehem Steel for the direct synthesis of methanol from carbon monoxide, suggest that by-product gases containing carbon monxide may offer an alternative to natural gas as a source of methanol.
Carbon monxide rich gases, such as basic oxygen furnace (BOF) gas and phosphorus or carbide furnace off-gases, are unfortunately not currently available in sufficient quantity and reliability at a single location to support an economic size methanol production. However, blast furnace gases, with a lower carbon monoxide concentration, are available in large quantities.
While the economics of the combined Tenneco and Bethlehem processes for methanol from blast furnace gases were found to be poor relative to methanol from hydrocarbon sources, the novelty of these processes and their possible application to other situations may justify the inclusion of the detailed evaluation of the CO + H2) route to methanol. For example, the lower pressures of the Tenneco carbon monoxide separation process may make it preferable to the existing high pressure chemical systems for the removal of carbon monoxide from hydrogen. Simularly, the Bethlehem Steel process for methanol may have application to higher carbon monoxide content gases, such as "blue gas" or "water gas." A combined high pressure gas-generation and methanol synthesis from carbon and water may also be interesting.