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Methyl alcohol with the chemical formula CH30H? containing one carbon atom per molecule, generally made from natural gas, with about half the energy density of petroleum; usually produced by chemical conversion at high temperatures and pressures. It can be produced from gasified biomass (syngas). Methanol is used as a component in the transesterification of triglycerides to give a form of biodiesel.

Methanol is the most dangerous ingredient used in making biodiesel. Methanol can cause poisoning, systemic acidosis, optic nerve damage, and impact the central nervous system if a person is exposed to it. When making biodiesel, one should wear proper personal safety equipment when handling methanol. Exposure to methanol can occur via inhalation, ingestion, or absorption. Inhalation of methanol vapors is the most common type of exposure. Because methanol has no scent, keep methanol containers sealed at all times. If exposed to the eyes or skin, irritation may occur but flush eyes or the skin area with water for at least 15 minutes plus remove contaminated clothing and shoes. Methanol ingestion can cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or headache while posing a serious threat to life. Promptly get medical attention for anyone who has ingested methanol.