In addition to the connection with oxygen (H2O), hydrogen is particularly often combined with carbon. Both compounds, water and hydrocarbons, have led to the flowering of life on our home planet. Hydrocarbons are not only the focus of organic chemistry, but in their fossil version the motor of our economic system. Our organisms are not only composed of water and hydrocarbons, the modern civilization of our species is also based on the intensive use of coal, natural gas and oil.
One of these terrestrial hydrocarbon compounds is methanol. With the empirical formula CH3OH, methanol allows itself not only hydrogen and carbon, but also the luxury of polarizing oxygen. In the article on the Potentials of the methanol economy it is presented as a sustainable pioneer in a post-fossil world. Innovative paths of methanol production can bind the greenhouse gas number one, carbon dioxide, and return it to the carbon cycle. The speed of construction of these CCU paths is mainly dependent on the political framework and the Amount of the CO2 price dependent. Many countries are already using methanol.
From the perspective of the hydrogen economy, methanol, as the simplest alcohol, is a first-class LOHC (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier), which only weakens the weakness of molecular H2, only at very low temperatures (- 252 ° C) or very high pressures (700 bar) to be balanced. There is a greater amount of hydrogen in one liter of liquid methanol (98 g) than in 1 liter of liquefied hydrogen (70 g). So methanol is an effective and safe carrier of hydrogen. The methanol industry in turn needs hydrogen for the production path via CO2, which suggests a close symbiosis of both energy sources. Both make use of resources that were previously unused in their manufacture: hydrogen on excess electricity and methanol on CO2. Sector coupling and closing of circuits are important system functions that can be taken over by the methanol and hydrogen industry. Both system approaches benefit from the expansion of the respective colleague.