Sunday, February 15, 2009

About Ethanol Distillation

Through the years, people have been used to oil price hikes, such that even when prices rise to a seemingly unreachable scale, people are not surprised anymore. But then, with the continuous improvements made through science and technology, many people still have an inkling of hope left that much cheaper alternatives to our fast diminishing fuel would be found.

No wonder, people are embracing the idea of producing bio fuels (any fuel derived from living organisms harvested within ten years before it was manufactured) – one of which is ethanol distillation.

To have a better understanding of what ethanol distillation is, let’s get into the basics of ethanol.

Ethanol fast Facts

• Systematic Name: Ethanol

• Other Names: Ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, hydroxyethane, EtOH

• Molecular Formula: E2H6O

• Physically, ethanol may be described as a colorless, flammable, slightly toxic chemical compound that has a distinctive perfume-like smell.

• It is produced from sugar cane and used as automotive fuel in Brazil. Ethanol made out of corn, on the other hand, is being used widely as a gasoline additive and direct fuel in the United States. Straw, meanwhile, is being used to manufacture ethanol as well.

• Ethanol is currently the leading bio fuel provider in Europe.

A Little Bit of History

Mankind has been using ethanol since the prehistoric years as an intoxicating component in alcoholic drinks. Dried residues found in the pottery of Neolithic people from China serve as proof for this assertion. Persian alchemists who developed the art of distillation, however, first achieved its isolation as a relatively pure compound

In 1796, Johan Tobias Lowitz, produced the first absolute ethanol by filtering distilled ethanol through charcoal.

Many scientists and experiments after, ethanol was used as fuel for lamps in the pre-Civil War of United States, as well as power for Model T automobiles. Ethanol could not compete with the availability and low cost of petroleum, however, that it disappeared from the public eye.

Ethanol Distillation

Most of us already have an idea on how distillation happens. Let’s have the production of distilled water as an example. When water is subjected to heat, it is expected that steam would conduct away from a tube. A tube looped and oriented downward and allowed to cool would yield condensed vapor and eventually, water.

Simon Oldmann is an avid writer and a green activist, he has been writing about Ethanol use since the growing popularity of alternative fuels has erupted in the last few years. Anyone who is interested in the future of fuel, fuel prices and cleaner and alternative fuel resource should know something about Ethanol Distillation, visit

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