Learning Centre

Ethanol Overview

About Wilmar BioEthanol

Wilmar BioEthanol is Australia’s leading manufacturer of ethanol products. Wilmar BioEthanol first begun distilling ethanol from molasses in 1901.

What is Ethanol

Ethanol is a an alcohol that is a clear, colourless and flammable liquid. Ethanol has a wide range of applications. Its most common use (in its pure state) is for alcoholic drinks. Other applications in industrial areas include perfume, aerosols, printing and paint applications.

Ethanol as a fuel

Ethanol is the most widely distributed alternative fuel in the world.

Ethanol is considered to be a renewable fuel because it is derived from natural products such as grain or in Wilmar BioEthanol’s case, sugarcane crops.

Recently, we have seen huge growth for the use of ethanol as a renewable fuel for the transport industry.

The most common fuel blend that is sold in Australia is E10. E10 contains 10% ethanol blended with 90% petrol and is now sold in more than 1,400 petrol stations across Australia. Countries such as Brazil and the United States have used ethanol blended petrol up to E85 (85% ethanol blended with 15% petrol) for many years. Australia is slowly adopting E85 blended fuel.

Ethanol is produced by fermenting basic carbohydrates to produce ethanol, this is very similar to the process used to produce beer and wine.

Once fermented the ethanol and water mixture is purified using a distillation process which separates the ethanol from the water and other impurities.

Ethanol is commonly produced in two grades 96% strength mainly used for food and beverages, and 100% ethanol which is the product used in printing, paint and fuel blends.

Where is Wilmar BioEthanol's Ethanol made

Wilmar BioEthanol has two distilleries located on the east coast of Australia. Wilmar BioEthanol’s Sarina distillery which is located in Queensland about 30 kilometres south of Mackay produces up to 60 million litres of ethanol annually. Pretty much all of this volume gets sold into the fuel market and the remainder gets transported to Yarraville, in Victoria where it is further upgraded to 100% strength or blended with other solvents to make products such as nail polish remover and household and industrial cleaners.

Due to the huge growth in demand for sustainable fuels such as sugar derived ethanol we now import a large amount of ethanol out of other sugar cane producing countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.