Fatty alcohols, both in the free state and combined with fatty acids as waxes, are found in large quantities in many marine oils but they do not occur to any significant extent in land animal or vegetable oils. In fact, commercially available fatty alcohols are obtained by either high pressure hydrogenation or sodium reduction.
The first method is predominantly used for the production of saturated fatty alcohols. Sodium reduction of the methylester is used for unsaturated fatty alcohol. Fatty alcohols are not only used as chemical intermediates, but also in formulation chemistry.