What is ethanol?

Spec Table 2Bioethanol, often shortened to just ‘ethanol’, is a sustainable liquid transport fuel derived from biomass.

It is sometimes called ethyl alcohol, grain spirit or moonshine – but is commonly referred to as just ‘alcohol’.Ethanol (and its derivatives) has a long history of different uses – in industry (as a solvent), food (in alcoholic beverages), medicine (as a sterilising agent), transport (as fuel) and agriculture. It is a colourless, flammable, oxygenated hydrocarbon. Ethanol is also hygroscopic – that is, it can absorb water from its surroundings.  Ethanol has a boiling point of 78.5°C, a density of .789gcm and a molecular weight of 46.0684gmol.

Ethanol is now predominantly used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form as a replacement for gasoline, where it is blended with gasoline to improve vehicle emissions and power.


Ethanol – From it’s Origins to a Fuel