It is a clear colourless, flammable hydrocarbon that is completely miscible with water and organic solvents and very hydroscopic.
It is also known as fuel ethanol and is used as a solvent for industrial applications where water will not react with other chemicals. It is majorly used in blending premium motor spirit (PMS) to obtain products like E-10, E-20 etc. The product means 10% ethanol and 90% crude oil. The essence is to slow down the effects of global warming because crude oil contains CO2 and ethanol contains oxygen
It is also known as food grade ethanol or wet ethanol and it is the most concentrated grade of ethanol that can be produced by simple distillation.
Uses of Ethanol:
It has several uses and these are some of them:
- In the manufacture of alcoholic drinks e.g. whisky, Vodka etc.
- As solvent for paints, varnish, drugs, chemicals etc.
- As fluid in thermometers
- In preserving biological specimens
- Production of cosmetics, body care products etc.
- Production of self flavored spirits like brandy, gin, creams, cognac
- Food industry, vitamins, flavours, mouth wash, blood products etc.
Demand for Ethanol:
The demand for ethanol in Nigeria is about 500million litres per year and only about 5% of this is met locally. There are about 5 major local producers and some of them are:
- Unikem Industrial Ltd at Kogi State,
- Nigeria Distilleries Lid at Igbesa, Ogun State
- Euroglobal Ltd also at Ogun State.