Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Properties 4

  Physical Properties of Ethanol 4

  Chemical Properties of Ethanol 5

Sources of Ethanol 5

Production of Ethanol 5

  Conventional Batch Fermentation Technology 6

  Sulfuric Acid Technology 6

  Gasification or Bioconversion 6

  Catalytic hydration 7

Uses of Ethanol as a Fuel 7

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ethanol 8

  Advantages of Ethanol Compared to Coal 8

  Disadvantages of Ethanol Compared to Coal 9

Conclusion 9

List of References 10

List of Tables

Table 1: Physical Properties of Ethanol 4

Table 2: Comparison of the Advantages between Ethanol and Coal 8


This century, the energy and chemical industries are challenged by the increasing scarcity of oil (Howell, 1981). Several alternative fuels have been introduced to overcome this problem. Ethanol, as a renewable fuel, is one of the alternative fuels that appears to have the potential to substitute the demand for petrol. Several countries have been using ethanol, either in its own right or mixed with petrol, as liquid transport fuel (Enecon, 2002). Blends that contain petrol and ethanol are presently used by about 80 million vehicles throughout the world (Schell and Hogan, 2003). In fact, using ethanol as transport fuel is not a new idea as ethanol had been used to run the Model T Ford, which were first produced in 1908 (New Scientist, 2006).

      Ethanol, with a chemical formula of C2H5OH, is an organic compound and has been classified as alkanol (Schell and Hogan, 2003). Ethanol can be produced through the fermentation of sugars and starch as well as the hydration of petroleum fractions (Eng, Lim and Lim, 2007). Ethanol produces 70% of the heat that is produced by petrol. However, carbon dioxide and water are the only products of ethanol combustion, and hence it is known as a clean fuel (ibid.).

      This report will emphasize both the physical and chemical properties of ethanol,...