The Disadvantages of Ethyl Alcohol Fuel: Ethanol Hazards which you must know about
While ethanol fuel has its perks when it comes to giving engines more power and torque, it also received hesitation from the US government in the past. This is because of the significant number of ethanol hazards especially on human beings. Before purchasing vehicles and machines which are suited for ethanol fuel use, you might want to know these hazards first.
Health Hazards of Ethanol
Pure ethanol, when it comes to contact with the human skin, can cause irritation and maybe even blistering. While ethanol alcohol is used as a disinfectant, it is never used in its purest form. When induced, as it usually is in alcoholic beverages, ethanol alcohol can heighten the risk of liver cirrhosis, several forms of cancer, and alcoholism. If one is taking antidepressants, interaction with ethyl alcohol can intensify the sedative effects of the drug. One must avoid mixing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and phenothiazines for the same reason. Watch out for other chemical hazards of ethanol which could possibly put your life at risk.
However, the ethanol hazards mentioned above mostly refer to ethanol acquired from alcoholic beverages. Ethanol fuel, per se, can be harmful to the human body because its combustion can produce more air pollutants. This can, in turn, heighten the risk of lung cancer. Ironically enough, ethanol fuel is marketed as a “clean” and “renewable” energy source. The key is in the concentration. Currently, the E85 fuel, with 85% denatured ethanol alcohol, is the most accepted.
Other ethanol hazards
There are other ethanol hazards which people should watch out for. They include birth defects (but this is mostly caused by the ingestion and not the inhalation of ethyl alcohol), engine trouble in some vehicles and machines which are still functional but are not ethanol-compatible and the higher costs of fuel in general.
Some vehicles which were produced when gasoline and diesel were the most popular fuel types could be destroyed should higher ethanol fuel concentrations be allowed to enter the market. Of course, the use of ethanol fuel is not in full flight yet. While it is currently used for airplanes, tractors, and a good number of automobiles, only a limited number of gasoline stations carry ethanol fuel variants. The scene is not likely to change in the next five years.
A quick rundown of an ethanol msds or material safety data sheet would tell you that ethanol is very flammable (3/5), could be a health hazard when induced or touched in high concentrations (2/5), but does not really cause significant physical harm as long as it is not mixed with other chemicals (1/5). The MSDS number of ethanol is 888100004475. It is also called by other names including ethyl alcohol, motor fuel ethanol, and denatured ethanol.
Ethanol is a highly corrosive substance, and unfortunately, while it gives engines power, it can corrode metal pipes and engines. Surface ethanol corrosion has been observed in many ethanol-based engines and machines. Ethanol is corrosive because of its high polarity.