Methanol, CH3OH, is the simplest alcohol. It is commonly used as a building block for other chemicals, such as formaldehyde, acetic acid, and dimethyl ether. Like ethanol and other alcohols, methanol is toxic and highly flammable.
Methanol is a liquid carbohydrate, thus capable of storing large amounts of energy. In a settlement on Mars it has the potential to play a central part of energy management. Additionally, it can be used as a resource for making other carbohydrates, finally to produce synthetic materials.
First step: Production of synthesis gas
- CH4 + H2O → CO + 3 H2
Second step: Synthesis of methanol
- CO + 2 H2 → CH3OH