Is the ethanol used for fuel the same as one used in alcohol consumed by us?

Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is the most common alcohol found in many of the alcohol beverages. Yep, the booze you slurped last night most likely had ethanol in it.

Ethanol is also a biofuel that can be used as a blend for gasoline.

A question naturally arises: Are these two ethanols the same?

Yes, almost.

Technically, the ethanol we drink is the ethanol used as a blend in gasoline too. The two are pretty much the same.

However, in overall purity and quality, the fuel ethanol might not be scoring as high as the ethanol used as a beverage. This is mainly because alcohol produced for fuel isn’t made with the same care and purity as alcohol for consumption.

While purity of the beverage alcohol might be an important factor in many developed countries, a good number of drinkers in developing countries are OK with the average quality ethanol. In these countries, in order to ensure that the ethanol earmarked for fuel is not diverted to the beverage market, a frequent practice is to add some additives that make the fuel ethanol undrinkable!

Having learnt this, you should no longer be surprised if you hear the local sugar factory owner talking about biofuels next time you hear him. The ethanol from his distillery that used to earlier go to booze shops could now also be reaching the petrol distribution outlets for blending with petrol (gasoline).

Is the ethanol used for fuel the same as one used in alcohol consumed by us? - Cleantech Guide

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