Methanol, the simplest form of alcohol, is used for a variety of purposes. The vast majority of it is used in the production of other chemicals. It is also used as a solvent and in the production of many common household items such as paints, lacquers, thinners, and other such products. Because methanol use is so widespread and such large quantities of it are used, safe storage is an important concern.
Methanol is a highly flammable, toxic substance, so extreme caution should be exercised during storage and dispensing operations. When storing methanol, proper precautions should be taken to ensure the safety and efficacy of the methanol as well as the safety of the surrounding area.
The previously listed requirements are general. Companies should always check state and local requirements for bulk storage of any substance.
Store methanol in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Be sure tanks have an inert gas pad with a floating, internal roof to minimize vapors. To minimize the risk of fire, fully enclose storage tanks in a dike or some other secondary containment system, and do not store methanol near oxidizing compounds such as:
- Chromium trioxide
- Sodium hypochlorite
- Hydrogen peroxide
Storage Container Materials
Methanol can cause corrosion to some metals and plastics. Prior to storage, it must be ensured that the storage tanks or containers being used are constructed of the correct material with no traces of unacceptable materials.
Acceptable Storage Container Materials
- Mild steel
- Stainless steel
- High density vulcanized polyethylene
- Vulcanized natural rubber
Unacceptable Storage Container Materials
- Magnesium or magnesium alloys
- Plasticized PVC
Methanol is a substance that must be taken very seriously. Proper storage procedures and precautions should be observed at all times to prevent health problems, loss of life, fire, explosion, and environmental contamination. The previously listed requirements are general. Companies should always check state and local requirements for bulk storage of any substance.