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The Production and Characterization of Ethanol Fuel from Agricultural Products as an Alternative Fuel for Gasoline

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The concern for efficient use of clean and alternative sources of energy other than fossil fuel has gathered rapid momentum all over the world. The most interesting development is the growing realization that ethanol is an alternative source to fuel and lubricants derived from the liquid fuel. This work, therefore, focuses on the experimental conducts in producing ethanol fuel from agricultural products (corn, guinea corn, and millet shaft) that are an easy source in Nigeria and to compare the performance of the fuel with gasoline based on the characteristics of the ethanol fuel produced. The agricultural products (corn, guinea corn, and millet shaft) were hydrolyzed using an alkaline treatment and acid hydrolysis; subsequent fermentation of simple sugars obtained from hydrolysis by yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) produced bio ethanol and CO 2 . Results obtained revealed that the production of bio-ethanol was successfully carried out. One hundred grams each of the three samples gave yields of 65, 52, and 45 cm3 from corn, guinea corn, and millet shaft hydrolyzed, respectively. About 99.2% of anhydrous ethanol was achieved at the end of the drying process using charcoal (adsorbent), which is close to the theoretical value of 99.9% ethanol. The properties that the bio-ethanol have been tested for are relative density, flash point, sulphur content, vapor pressure, viscosity, latent heat of vaporization, and heat of combustion. The results obtained are relative density of 0.966, flash point is 55°C, and sulphur content of the ethanol fuel is 0.0251%, while the vapor pressure of the produced fuel is 25.7%. Other properties of the produced ethanol fuel are viscosity, which is 1.24 (cp) at 20°C, latent heat of vaporization is 635.3 kj/kg, while the latent heat of combustion of the produced ethanol fuel is 31300.23 kj/kg. These experimental values are relatively close to gasoline.
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Keywords: charcoal; corn; ethanol; gasohol; gasoline; guinea corn and millet shaft

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemical Engineering,Federal University of Technology, Minna,Niger State, Nigeria 2: School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, Faculty of the Engineering and the Built Environment,University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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