May 24, 2024

Fueling Industries: The Rise of Industrial Alcohol

Industrial Alcohol: Industrial Uses of Alcohol Go Beyond Drinking

Definition and Production

Industrial liquor, also known as denatured alcohol, is ethanol that is produced specifically for industrial uses. It is unfit for human consumption since it contains additives that make it poisonous or unpleasant to drink. Industrial liquor is mainly produced from sugarcane and corn. The raw material is fermented to produce ethanol and is then distilled to increase the concentration of ethanol. The distilled alcohol is denatured by adding denaturants like methanol, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, etc. The specific denaturants and their proportions vary between countries but the goal is to make the alcohol undrinkable.

Uses of Industrial Liquor in Manufacturing Industries

Industrial liquor finds widespread applications in various manufacturing industries due to its solvent properties and ability to dissolve both organic and inorganic compounds effectively. Some major uses of industrial liquor are mentioned below:

– Pharmaceutical Industry: Industrial liquor is used as a solvent and extraction agent in the manufacturing of medicines, ointments, vitamins, antibiotics, etc. Ethanol dissolves both fat and water-soluble compounds essential for medication preparation.

– Personal Care Products: Products like perfumes, aftershaves, hair sprays, makeup, etc. use industrial liquor as a solvent for aromatic compounds and plant extracts. Its volatility also allows rapid evaporation, leaving only the required fragrances and active ingredients.

– Automotive Products: Rubbing alcohol, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze coolants, brake fluids, etc. are formulated using industrial liquor. Its solvent properties prevent water from freezing at sub-zero temperatures.

– Paints and Coatings Industry: Paint thinners, brush cleaners, wood stains and polishes contain industrial liquor as the primary solvent. It effectively dissolves pigments, resins and chemicals required for protective and decorative coatings.

– Cleaning Products: Industrial alcohol is a key ingredient in household cleaners, glass cleaners, spot removers, disinfecting wipes, etc. due to its grease-cutting action andability to dissolve dirt, stains and odors.

Other Industrial Applications of Alcohol

Some other important industrial uses of alcohol beyond basic manufacturing are briefly explained below:

– Fuel Production: Ethanol is blended with gasoline to produce biofuel for vehicles. This helps reduce emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Some countries have mandated blending of 10-15% ethanol with gasoline.

– Chemical Industry: Ethanol is used as a raw material to produce chemicals like ethylamine, acetaldehyde, acetic acid and ethyl acetate through catalytic reactions. These chemicals see applications as solvents in industries like plastics.

– Textiles: Denatured alcohol is used for cleaning, washing, dyeing and printing fabrics. It effectively dissolves dirt, oils and dyestuffs. Some sizes and finishes for textiles also use alcohol as a carrier.

– Adhesives: Contact adhesives, rubber cements and joint compounds employ alcohol as an active ingredient. Its volatility allows fast setting of the adhesive bond by evaporating the solvent phase.

– Lab Applications: Industrial alcohol is the most common solvent used in chemistry, biology and other science labs for extraction, cleaning, reagent preparation and reactions due to its polar nature and non-toxic profile.

While industrial alcohol is not intended for human drinking, its extensive use across various industries highlights the remarkable versatility and impact of ethanol beyond recreational uses. With alternative fuel production also on the rise, industrial applications of alcohol promise to grow further. Proper production and use ensure it benefits manufacturers worldwide.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it