What is ethanol?
Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is produced by fermenting sugars, such as those found in corn or sugar cane. The fermentation process produces alcohol and carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere. Ethanol mfg (mfg full form is manufacturing) is also possible from other sources, such as plant matter and even animal fat.
Ethanol is a colourless, flammable liquid with a characteristic taste. It is used as a fuel, solvent, and even alcohol. The chemical formula for ethanol is C₂H₆O. Ethanol is a polar molecule that carries a positive electrical charge over its entire length.
Ethanol has a high molecular weight and low vapour pressure. As a result, it can be easily absorbed by the human body. Alcohols are also soluble in lipids such as fats and oils.
How is ethanol manufactured?
1. Dry Mill Ethanol Process
This extraction process uses a dry mill where the raw material is ground up, then mixed with water and heated under pressure. The resulting mixture is dried and then pressed, which produces a liquid product known as ‘ethyl alcohol’. The amount of ethanol produced by this method depends on the quality and purity of the raw material used, but it can be around 80% or more.
The dry mill process uses a pressurized tank to force the fermented liquid through a series of screens, which remove particles from the liquid. The remaining solids are typically dried and sold as animal feed or as industrial lubricants.
2. Wet Mill Ethanol Process
This extraction process uses a wet mill where the raw material is partially refined (i.e. ‘cracked’) into smaller particles before being added to water for processing under high temperature and pressure. This results in a sludge which can be further processed into ‘ethanol’ through distillation or other methods depending on the type of plant being used (e.g., grain versus corn). The amount of ethanol produced by this method depends on the quality and purity of the raw material used, but it can be around 80 per cent ethanol and 20 per cent water. Wet mill ethanol processing uses an enzyme-based separation system to separate the ethanol from the water in the fermented liquid. This process requires less energy than dry milling, but it’s more expensive because it requires additional equipment and processing steps, including additional filtering systems and dehydration units for cleaning the solids left after drying.
What are the most important uses of ethanol?
- Solvent in paints, varnishes and gums, resins
Ethanol is commonly used as a solvent for thinners and other materials in paint and varnish manufacturing processes because it evaporates quickly when exposed to high temperatures, leaving behind a suitable film on surfaces that have been coated with the substance being painted or varnished. It also serves as a solvent for synthetic resins such as polyvinyl acetate, polyvinyl chloride and others such as vinyl esters and phenols which are difficult to dissolve with water alone; it is particularly useful in coating plastics with lacquers that are sensitive to moisture.
- Manufacture of alcoholic beverages
Alcoholic beverages are made from ethanol and other ingredients, usually water, sugar or yeast. Most of the alcohol produced for beverage uses is used in the production of industrial alcohols.
- 3. Substitute for petrol
Ethanol has been used as an alternative fuel for internal combustion engines since the early 20th century because of its high octane rating relative to gasoline and its relatively high energy content per volume compared to gasoline (which is measured in Btu). Ethanol is often blended with gasoline to create a fuel that can be used as an alternative to straight-run gasoline. The government has recently been asking ethanol manufacturers in India to produce larger volumes of ethanol so that the dependence on traditional gasoline can be reduced.