Dynamics of the global methanol market distorted rapidly during recent years primarily led by the economic recession.
The precipitous fall of construction and the auto industries in North America and Western Europe drastically decreased methanol demand in downstream products including formaldehyde and acetic acid. The overall downstream methanol requirement remained weak during 2009 with the market witnessing a modest growth in fuel additives segment. Consumption of formaldehyde, the biggest single by-product of methanol, dropped significantly across the globe due to decline in various end-use sectors. The automotive, construction and furniture businesses, which utilize formaldehyde for various activities suffered during 2009 as the car sales and housing starts touched multi-year lows. However, with the recovery of economic situation in 2010, methanol market is poised to demonstrate robust growth in the coming years. The huge opportunities in the Asia-Pacific market, led by the Chinese demand are expected to fuel the market growth.
The usage of methanol for fuel purposes is poised to create additional opportunities for the market in the coming years. Methanol is currently being used in transesterification stage of biodiesel manufacturing process. Given the fact that numerous biodiesel projects are under consideration or construction stage, the demand for methanol is likely to increase in this space and compensate for some of the demand lost to MTBE. Methanol is increasingly being used to produce DME, which is utilized as a substitute to diesel, an add-on to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and for power generation. Further, methanol based electricity is alleged to be competitive as compared to diesel on the parameters of capital costs and fuel and could be used in some heavily populated regions possessing easier discharge norms and additional niche markets.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest as well as fastest growing regional market for Methanol worldwide, as stated by the new market research report on Methanol. Rapid development of chemical, agricultural, construction and automobile industries, and increased usage of the chemical in various end-use segments including alternative fuels, acetic acid, pharmaceuticals, and fuel cells among others is encouraging the market growth in the Asia-Pacific region. A significant portion of methanol consumption in Asia-Pacific originates from the Chinese market. Asia-Pacific methanol market is projected to demonstrate a CAGR of 9.6% over the analysis period. Europe represents the second major market for methanol in the world.
Formaldehyde constitutes the largest methanol end-use segment. Formaldehyde is one of the most important basic organic chemical industrial materials and is widely used in cumber processing, plastics and resin production, pharmaceuticals, chemical fibers, paint and pesticides among others. Alternative Fuels represents the fastest growing methanol end-use segment with consumption projected to register a CAGR of 22.4% over the analysis period.
Methanol-based fuel cells represent one of the promising sectors for methanol market. Initially, methanol-based fuel cells were aimed at automotive purposes, however, preliminary uses are likely to be in transportable power generation such as for laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras. The application of fuel cells in customer electronics is getting encouragement in the form of many countries including the US permitting travelers to bring fuel cell cartridges along with them. Toshiba introduced direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) battery charger in mid-2009 and DMFC packs for cell phones and personal computers during the later part of 2009. The move offers the methanol industry with additional opportunities in the consumer electronics fuel cells space. By 2015, when fuel cell automobiles are expected to enter the market, customers are expected to be well versed with the use of methanol-based cells in laptops and portable generators.
Major players profiled in the report include Atlantic Methanol Production Company LLC, BASF SE, BioMethanol Chemie Nederland B.V, Eastman Chemical Company, LyondellBasell Industries, Methanex Corporation, Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Limited, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Inc., National Iranian Petrochemical Company, PETRONAS, Qatar Fuel Additives Company Ltd., Repsol YPF, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Statoil ASA, among others.
The research report titled “Methanol: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a comprehensive review of the methanol markets, current market trends, product overview, end-use market analysis, recent industry activity, and profiles of major/niche global as well as regional market participants. The report provides annual consumption estimates and projections for methanol market for the years 2007 through 2015 for the following geographic markets – US, Canada, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Rest of World. Key end-use segments analyzed include Formaldehyde, Acetic Acid, MTBE, MMA, DMT, Alternative Fuels, and Others. Also, a seven-year (2000-2006) historic analysis is provided for additional perspective.