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Uses of Ethanol

Updated on September 21, 2011

Here are twenty uses of Ethanol that spans across almost all aspect of Life that include: Food, Research, Industry, Energy, Medicine, Religion, Education, Culture, Environment, Defence, Space Exploration, and more.

As Beverage

This is possibly the most popular use of Ethanol. Ethanol is routinely consumed in different forms around the World. In some cases, it is of minute content, and in others, it's so highly concentrated that a little amount could intoxicate an Individual. Beer is the most popular Ethanol Beverage in the World. But there are a whole lot of other beverages that extends beyond Wine, Gin, Whisky, etc.

Herbal and Alternative Medicine

It is used as a Carrier or Solvent for the active Ingredient in African Herbal medicine. Pieces of Plant Roots, Stems and Leaves; are cocked in bottles with Ethanol to dissolve out medicinal organic components. Bark of Mango Trees, Citrus Trees and Neem (Dongoyaro) are usually dissolved in Ethanol to form a native or African Alternative Medicine.

As an Industrial Solvent

Ethanol is an organic Solvent that also dissolves in water. As such, it's effective in making industrial emulsification Products as Emulsified Paints, Perfumes, Markers Inks, Pomades, Soaps, and other Products.

Food Processing

Ethanol is important in food processing for two reasons: It is used to sterilised materials used in food processing and also an important Ingredient in some Food Products. Certain types of Cakes are prepared with large quantity of Ethanol, while some types of Bread are treated with Ethanol before packaging.

Food Preservation

Ethanol is used as a potent food preservative in homes. Certain Cakes and Bread are prepared at home with Ethanol to increase their Shelf Life.

Traditional Rituals

Ogogoro Ethanol is used for traditional offerings and Prayers in Nigeria. The Urhobos would pour drops of Ogogoro or the ground why they make special Prayers and Request to their Ancestors. Other cultures also pour the Drink on Shrines like the Ogun Shrine.

Symbol of Native Social Gatherings

Ethanol Beverages and Kola nuts are a symbol of Tradition and Custom in southern Nigeria. Indigenous Marriages such as the Nigerian native law and Customs cannot be said to be complete if Ethanol and Kola nut are absent. Also festivals and tribal meetings are convened around Ethanol and Kola nut.

Material Cleaning

Ethanol is used in private, public and industrial cleaning. It's effective in cleaning glass Windows and Doors, Office Furniture, etc.

Use as an Antiseptic

Ethanol is known to discourage the growth and multiplication of Germs, as such it is used in making Antiseptic Soap and Cosmetics.

Use in School Research and Experiment

Ethanol is used in Schools to demonstrate small laboratory chemical Experiments such as the oxidation of Ethanol to Aldehyde/Ketones and Carboxylic Acid. It is also useful in Biology for the preservation dead organic Tissues or whole Specimen.

Making Pharmaceutical Drugs

Ethanol plays an important role in making Drugs and Pharmaceuticals. It a component of so many Drugs and Syrups. Iodine Tincture, for example, is a mixture of Ethanol and other constituents that are used for treating fresh Wounds.

Clinical Use and Medicine

Doctors use little Methylated Spirit on Cotton Wool to clean the surface of the Skin before administering Injections. Methylated Spirit is also used to arrest bleeding when applied on fresh wounds. Here, its highly volatile nature allows for rapid evaporation that dries of the bleeding area, thus clotting the Blood.

Direct Fuel in Car Engines

Ethanol low Carbon (IV) Oxide formation and production from Non-Petrol Source, as well as its renewable nature; makes it useful for fueling clean environmentally friendly Cars.

Making Biodiesel

Ethanol is combined with Fatty Acids in the presence of Alkaline to form Esters that are either directly used as B100 Bio-diesel or mixed with Petrol Diesel in various proportions as in B5 that contains 5% Bio-diesel and 95% Petrol Diesel.

Fuel in Cooking Stoves and Lighting Lanterns

Although is Ethanol is regarded as dangerous for domestic lighting and cooking, diluted ethanol is used as a safe Fuel for specially designed Lanterns and Stoves. Ethanol as a lighting and cooking fuel is clean and available that it is prescribed for Rural Areas of some Countries like India.

Rocket Fuel

The fuel potential of Ethanol was explored during the second World War when Germans used it as rocket fuel. This application was explored in the US when they used it as Satellite Rocket Fuel.

Treatment of Poison caused by other Alcohols

Ethanol is used to treat poison due to the ingestion of Methanol or any other poisonous Alcohol. Ethanol competes with other Alcohols for the catalytic bind site of the Enzyme Alcohol Dehydrogenase, thus impeding their poisonous action.

As Stimulant

People in Certain parts of the World, such as in Nigeria, are fund of a popular belief that the hot sensation of Ethanol Drinks (such as the Sea-mans Aromatic Schnapps) to the Bowel can helps to stimulate an internal heat that can reduce, prevent, or cure shivering due to low Temperature.

Sailors are also reported to drink Ethanol Drinks to prevent vomiting and suppress the irritating awful smell of the Ocean.

Stain Removal

.Stains on close (especially organic Stains like Ink Stains, Palm Oil Stains, Grease, etc.) are easily removed from clothes and Fabrics when Ethanol is used than water and soap (or Detergent).

In Religion

Finally, the Catholic Holy Communion is by eating Bread and drinking Wine.


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      okello peter 4 years ago