Ethanol Gas

CornEthanol is a colorless liquid that has a strong odor. It is a very volatile compound, and burns with a smokeless blue flame. Ethanol acts as a very versatile solvent and is also used to make alcoholic beverages. This versatile chemical has a long and colorful history throughout the world. Residues on 9,000 year old pottery found in China seem to prove that people were imbibing alcohol in Neolithic times. In the early 800’s a.d. ethanol is believed to have been used to distill wines. Pure ethanol was achieved in 1796 by filtering distilled ethanol through charcoal. Ethanol was first made in a synthetic form in 1826 by a similar process as those used today. In the 1840’s ethanol became widely used as lamp fuel in the United States until a tax caused as a reaction to the Civil war made it too expensive for most people to use. Ethanol then fell into disuse for several years afterward. The tax on ethanol was repealed in the early 1900’s opening the door to new uses. Ford Model T’s were adapted to run on ethanol by 1908. This trend lasted until the 1920’s when prohibition caused producers of ethanol to be in violation of these new laws against alcohol. Moon-shining was a serious charge during those times and most people would not risk being charged with a crime to produce a fuel source. Until recently ethanol has been forgotten about for most uses. It has recently been advertised as an alternative fuel, producing lower emissions than it’s oil based counter parts, however, it has yet to achieve wide usage.

Ethanol is a renewable energy source found in corn and sugar cane. In order to be used as a fuel the water must first be removed through dehydration which can cause it’s own pollutants. This is a problem that is being looked into and new methods of extracting ethanol are on the horizon.This may be the new trend in vehicles in the near future though, especially considering how widely available ethanol is and it’s lesser impact on the environment. There are also implications that ethanol may be used to fuel other gasoline powered eqipment such as tractors and even airplanes. In 2008 two separate companies announced home ethanol production systems, hinting at the possibility of wide scale use in the not so distant future.