EXPLAINER: What You Should Know About Methanol, It Uses

EXPLAINER: What You Should Know About Methanol, It Uses

It is no longer news that millions of people in Nigeria have been challenged with securing petrol for their day-to-day businesses, as long queues return to filling stations across the country.

In what appeared to be a fuel subsidy, several filling stations in major cities of the most populous African country, including Abuja, and Lagos, have not been dispensing petrol since Monday, February 7, 2022.

Addressing the fuel scarcity issue, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) blamed the development on the discovery of petrol with methanol quantities above the country’s specification.

It was gathered that adulterated petrol that was discovered in the country’s supply chain, was over 100 million litres. Although, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stated that the commodity had been withdrawn, and isolated from public consumption.

BizWatch Nigeria, however, presents below what you should know about methanol

Often used as a blending component in fuels, or for the production of fuel components, methanol is a multipurpose being component from petrol that is sourced from alternative non-petroleum energy sources.

The energy source, from which methanol, is sourced include -natural gas, coal, and biomass.

Methanol is not new to the global oil community. According to Methanol Institute, as far back as the 1970s, methanol has been commercially blended into petrol in different parts of the world. Although methanol has been widely manufactured for use in chemical production, it has also been successfully used for extending petrol supplies in many markets around the world.

For conventional engines, methanol use is straightforward when converted to a petrol component called methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), or to a diesel component called fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). High concentration methanol blends, such as 85% methanol in petrol, can be used in special automobiles such as the Flexible Fuel Vehicles.

Can a high percentage of methanol affect your vehicle?

Methanol is toxic, just as other transportation fuels. Should the content quantity be too high, it can destroy your car engines.

Even though the blending of methanol increases the octane of petrol, and minimizes engine knock, when the mixture comes in a high percentage, it decreases the density of the fuel, such that one can experience structural failure or explosion.

Methanol is highly corrosive to aluminum components, and when it is not moderately applied to petrol, it can damage vital parts of an automobile like gaskets and rubber hoses.

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