A renewable and sustainable fuel made from natural plant materials like maize, sugarcane, and other agricultural products, ethanol is sometimes referred to as ethyl alcohol. The sugars in these plant components are fermented and refined to create them. Because it emits much fewer greenhouse gases than conventional petrol or diesel fuel, ethanol is a great substitute for fossil fuels. Ethanol is a high-octane fuel with excellent combustion properties, and it may be added to petrol at various concentrations up to 10%. The chemical name for the toxic, colorless alcohol known as methanol is CH3OH. Due to its low cost and ease of availability, it is largely employed as an industrial solvent and fuel source. There are various ways to make methanol, including gasification of biomass, natural gas, or coal, and alternative renewable sources such as carbon dioxide capture or waste methane utilization. Two often employed solvents for the extraction of different chemicals from natural sources are ethanol and methanol. But for a number of reasons, ethanol is favored over methanol. The benefits of using ethanol instead of methanol are covered in this blog post. For more information, keep reading.

Why ethanol is used for extraction instead of methanol?

Comparing ethanol to methanol, ethanol is a significantly safer solvent. Methanol is extremely harmful to human health and can lead to blindness, convulsions, comas, and even death. On the other hand, ethanol has fewer harmful effects and is less poisonous. As a result, using ethanol for extraction is often safer, and handling methanol has substantially fewer dangers. As ethanol has a greater boiling point than methanol, it is simpler to extract ethanol from the end product. Methanol boils at 64.7°C, whereas ethanol reaches its boiling point at 78°C. This implies that even if some ethanol is still present in the finished result, it won’t significantly affect the extraction compound’s quality and purity. Since ethanol is a more potent solvent than methanol, it extracts certain chemicals more successfully. As an illustration, it is frequently used to extract essential oils from plants since it is good at dissolving the hydrophobic molecules in the oil. Due to its powerful solvency, ethanol is also used to extract flavonoids, alkaloids, and terpenes, among other chemicals. Methanol is more costly and less easily accessible than ethanol. Due to its widespread production as a fuel and beverage, ethanol is widely available. On the other hand, methanol is less available because it is primarily produced for industrial usage and cannot be consumed. Additionally, ethanol is substantially less expensive than methanol since it is more often used, making it a more cost-effective option for extraction.

The bottom line

Due to its greater safety, higher boiling point, better solvent characteristics, and availability, ethanol is favored over methanol for extraction. It is a more practical and effective option for the extraction of different chemicals from natural sources as a result of these aspects. Because of these factors, ethanol is probably going to keep being the main solvent for extraction in the future. For efficient extraction work using methanol, you can hire a suitable company like Rotovap .    

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