Fuel Ethanol


Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is a clear, colorless liquid with a Characteristic, agreeable odor.  In dilute aqueous solution, it has a somewhat sweet flavor, but in more concentrated solutions it has a burning taste. Ethanol (C2H5OH) is a group of chemical compounds whose molecules contain a hydroxyl group, -OH, bonded to a carbon atom. The history of ethanol as a fuel dates back to the early days of the automobile. However, cheap petrol (gasoline) quickly replaced ethanol as the fuel of combustion, and it was not until the late 1970s, when the Brazilian government launched their “Pro-alcohol” policy, that ethanol made a come back to the market place. Today, fuel ethanol accounts for roughly two third of World ethyl alcohol production.

Fermentation, one of the oldest chemical processes known to man, is used to make a variety of products, including fuel, foods, flavoring, beverage, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. Fermentation of any material that contains sugar or compounds that can be converted to sugar can produce ethanol. The varied raw materials used in the manufacture of ethanol via fermentation are classified under three types of agricultural raw materials: sugar, starch, and cellulose materials. Sugars (sugar cane, sugar beets, molasses, or fruit) can be converted to ethanol directly. Starches (from grains, potatoes, or root crops) must first be hydrolyzed to fermentable sugars by the action of enzymes from malt or moulds. Cellulose (from wood, agricultural residues, or waste sulfite liquor from pulp and paper mills) must also be converted to sugars, generally by the action of mineral acids. Once simple sugars are formed, enzymes from yeast can readily ferment them to ethanol.


In India, Ethanol is produced by fermentation of sugars present in the Molasses using Yeast. 95.5% ethanol with 4.5% water mixture (Azeotropic Composition) called “ Rectified Spirit “ is produced from the fermented Molasses containing 7% to 8% Ethanol in simple Distillation Process. The rectified spirit is dehydrated to produce Absolute Ethanol( Fuel Ethanol)  suitable for blending with petrol and Diesel. Dehydration of Rectified Spirit to produce Absolute Ethanol is done by one of the two routes either ‘azeotropic distillation” or “ pressure swing adsorption”. In azeotropic distillation, held of another substances called “entrainer” like hexane, is taken for removal of water. In pressure swing adsorption, water is removed by adsorbing on surface of ‘ molecular sieves” and then cyclically removing it under different conditions.


The zeolites or molecular Sieves, which are natural or synthetic aluminium silicates with a very regular, fine pore structure, are especially effective in preparing gases with low dew points. Adsorption on Molecular sieves can also be used to separate Ethanol and water to prepare pure ethanol. This ethanol can be used as on Oxygenate in Petrol or Diesel.


Although adsorption is most often used as purification process to remove small amounts of materials, a number of applications involve separation of gas mixtures with moderate to high concentration of Adsorbates. Pressure swing adsorption is a Bulk separation process that is used in petrochemical Industries like Alcohol Industries, Small Scale air separation Plants, etc.


The basic principle of Dehydration by Adsorption were developed and were well understood more than five decades ago, but commercial practice in the fuel Alcohol Industry began about 20 years ago.


Initially the molecular sieves were used to dehydrate the hydrous ethanol in liquid phase. The process operated at ambient temperature and required high temperature under inert atmosphere for re-generation of molecular sieves. Due to wide thermal cycling and high shocks the bed life was quite low.


The turning point came with the use of vapor phase dehydration of ethanol by using molecular sieves. In this process the beds were held at a constant temperature, while the adsorption of water from ethanol stream was achieved under pressure and regeneration was accomplished by applying vacuum to the beds. The systems are called pressure swing adsorption systems. This prevented the thermal shocks and appreciably extended the molecular sieve bed life.


The molecular sieve based pressure swing Adsorption dehydration systems have been operating the world over with no replacement of Molecular Sieve material for over a decade now.

Presently, optimization of technology with proper heat recovery and lean phase recycling has unquestionably positioned molecular sieves as superior to Ternary Azeotrope dehydration for fuel ethanol production.


Fuel Ethanol could be blended in various proportions in Petrol usually 5 to 10% by volume. In Brazil, ethanol is added 24% by volume in gasoline (petrol). In U.S.A.  Ethanol  E10 ( absolute ethanol 10% by volume) and ethanol E 85 (absolute ethanol 85% by volume) are popular in flexible fuel vehicles which can run on either gasoline  or ethanol.


Fuel Ethanol can be used as on Oxygenate in Petrol. It reduces emission of carbon monoxide by taking combustion to completion. It replaces tetraethyl lead or MTBE, from contaminating surface water. Ethanol maintains the ‘carbon cycle’ of nature, reducing the ‘greenhouse effect’.  It is made from renewable sources of material like agricultural products., etc., molasses and  prevents depletion of limited sources like fossil fuels. It employees renewable source of energy through a natural route and it reduces dependents on imported crude.


As concerns about our nation’s dependence on foreign oil increase, and awareness on environmental impacts of petroleum increases, the interest in alternative fuels like ethanol is emerging. In many ways ethanol is an ideal transportation fuel. It’s better for the environment than petroleum, it is domestically produced, and its use supports farmers and rural economies. By switching to ethanol fuels and advanced vehicle technologies, fleet owners are leading the way to both energy security and cleaner air.


The specifications of fuel grade ethanol for blending in petrol is defined as per ASTM D 4806 as follows:


Water content, Max., Mass %                                          1.25


Non-volatile matter, max., mg/100 ml                                 5


Chloride ion content, max          mg/l                                           32


Acidity (as acetic acid, CH3COOH), max.,Mass% (mg/l)        0.007(56)


The oil companies in India have decided to have the blending units located region wise instead of centralizing at the refinery itself for optimizing transportation cost of petrol. Since the project is located at Salempur, which is about 40 kms from Mathura  where the nearest refinery is availableirrespective of locating the blending units at region wise or at refinery , the transportation cost will be minimal.


The fuel ethanol manufacturing is a sunrise industry with an excellent potential for growth as it is being introduced first time in India. In U.S.A. and Brazil fuel ethanol is in use for over 20 years and proven technology is already available. Being one of 


the first unit to start the manufacturing of fuel ethanol MML will be have the momentum of early start.  The promoters have rich experience in project management of projects having outlay over 100 crores. They also have experience in managing Distilleries for over 100 years and  hence  MML have decided to go in for this project.

India is the second-largest producer of ethanol in Asia. Installed annual production capacity is around 2.7 million Liters, but utilizations as fuel is nil. The major feedstock is molasses and the industry regularly utilizes 54 million tones per year of the total molasses produced. About 50% of the ethyl alcohol produced is destined for the production of spirits, while the other half is consumed by a large Alco-chemical industry for the manufacture of a wide variety of products.

History of Mohan Meakin Ltd.


We trace our history back to the establishment of a Brewery at Kasauli  by Edward  Dyer in 1855. He was the India’s brewing pioneer who brought to this sub-drenched land of ours the bliss of a real thirst quencher- the modern beer, to refresh and pep up a people hanging over in sweltering climate that so peculiar to this art of the world. He realized for the first time that there were a few spots on earth where a really good drink was welcomer.


But, in his flush of enthusiasm he had set before himself such a big task of quenching the thirst of a nation as obviously could not be expected to reach fulfillment by his one, howsoever efficient working brewery at Kasauli.  Consequently, with arduous zeal he scaled the whole width of this subcontinent and established breweries and distilleries at Shimla, Solan,  Lucknow  and Mandalay (Burma).


During the same century, another enterprising man, named H.G. Meakin, coming from a well-known brewing family of Burton-on-Trent where he was trained, came forward with enviable enthusiasm and founded Meakin & Co.  He bought the old  Shimla and Kasauli  Breweries and built others at  Dalhousie,  Ranikhet, Chakrata, Darjeeling and  Kirkee.


Following these successes, the two firms joined hands and started a new joint stock venture under the style of Dyer Meakin & Co. Brewing was suspended at the Kasauli Brewery and a largest brewing and bottling plant was installed at conveniently placed Solan Brewery.


Extensive malting at Kasauli were, however, continued in operation. There are few places on earth where the water is ideally suited to brewing.  Solan Brewery is one. Those who fancy  the hill-climb would like to see our famous  springs high up on Karol Mountain, far from everything,  a lovely lookout, with the source of crystal clear spring water that drew our pioneer to  Solan Brewery.


The  year 1949,  stands out as a luminous landmark in our progress, for the management of our company was taken over by our revered late Padamshree N.N. Mohan. Things really began happening thereafter.  In less than two decades this great visionary had let the company to untold fame and prosperity and we were on the forefront on the industrial map of India. As a homage by the shareholders to this great man and to take away the name of “Dyer” connected with the  Jalianwala  Bagh episode”, the name of the Company was  changed from Dyer Meakin Breweries Limited to Mohan Meakin  Breweries Limited. The ‘Father of the House of Mohan Meakin’s left us in sorrow in 1969.


Col. V. R. Mohan, his eldest son, then ably took up the reins of this vast concern and this marked the ushering in of another era of prosperity for us. This dynamic young man built up the company into a vast empire, adding new plants and units across the length and breadth of the country. But his career was short lived. As is said “Those whom the God love, die young”. At the young age of 48, he was snatched away from our iffiest in 1973.


The Company is now called “ Mohan Meakin Limited” and consists of the following units:-

1.                 Solan Brewery

2.                 Kasaulli Distillery

3.                 Lucknow Distillery

4.                 Mohan Nagar Industrial Estate

5.                 Mohan Gram  (Distt. Patiala )


It was the keen desire of the Founder, Padma Shri Late  N. N. Mohan, that a compact Industrial Complex be established in the State of Uttar  Pradesh. Thus, this unit, which is known as ‘MOHAN NAGAR” came into existence in the year 1960.


The following units exist in Mohan Nagar Industrial Complex:


1.                 Distillery

2.                 Brewery

3.                 Fruit Product Factory

4.                 Ice Factory

5.                 Malt Extract

6.                 Breakfast Food Factory  

7.                 Glass Factory

8.                 Malt House

9.                 Abrasive & Sandpaper Unit.


His desire was accomplished by his illustrious son, who not only established this Industrial Complex, but provided job opportunities to more than 5000 Karamyogis from the adjoining area.


This Industrial complex  established  in Mohan Nagar also  proved a source of generation of huge revenue to the Govt. Exchequer.


After the death of  Padma Shri  N.N. Mohan and  Padam  Bhushan

Col. V.R. Mohan, the reign of the organization came  in the hands of Brig. (Dr.) Kapil Mohan, VSM, Ph. D. – a dynamic, highly educated and a dedicated soldier, who took active part in various wars against China and Pakistan and was  awarded  ” Vishist Sewa Medal” in the year 1971.


The company also expanded its business in various States  by setting up Breweries, Distilleries and Bottling Plants and achieved tremendous growth in the turn-over i.e. from Rs.25 crores to Rs.700 crores.

In an effort towards the welfare of human beings, the company through is trust, built a 220 bed modern Hospital and fulfilled the dream of Founder Late Padma Shri N.N. Mohan, which is running very successfully. The recently built Heart Centre at this Hospital was inaugurated on 25.5.2001 by Hon’ble  Sh. L.K. Advani, Home Minister, Govt. Of  India, which is another milestone towards his concern for the needy and poor strata of the society.

The Management revealed at one time that people are drifting away form the Indian Culture and values and thus decided to build Temple at Mohan Nagar. New Heritage center is being undertaken in Himachal  Pradesh. Foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister of India.


Due to Company’s  efforts towards peace and harmony in the industrial field, the Govt. of U. P. awarded Mohan Meakin a  Gold Medal for a the best “Employer-Employee Relationship”.  Mohan Meakin is a trend setter in the field of welfare of Industry and labour.


The Company has always shouldered its social/national responsibility with the Govt. at all times, both in war and peace. And whenever the country has faced any calamity, the Company generously and wholeheartedly came out to help both in cash and kind. The Company donated Rs.11 lacs  at the time of Earth-quake in Uttar Kashi,  Rs.25 Lacs towards war widows of the Kargil and another Rs.20 Lacs has been contributed on all these occasions.


Brig. Kapil  Mohan, VSM, Managing Director of the Company has always  taken an active part in the affairs of the Company and has taken the Company to dizzy heights of achievement and glory. In spite of political turmoil in the country and the sword of national wide prohibition hanging over the liquor industry in the recent past, our able leader has gone ahead and taken over the management of a number of rival units which were in the verge of closing down. Notable among these are the Artos Breweries Ltd., Ramachandrapuram, Dist. East Godavari in Andhra,  Mysore  Fruit Productions Limited in  Bangalore and Nagaland Distillery in Nagaland. These “Sick units” are today vying for honours with our other  highly products units. We have also undertaken the cultivation of Hops, an important ingredient in Beer manufacture, for the first time in India in Jammu & Kashmir State. This promises to be an important import substitution and shall converse vital foreign exchange for the country.

 Apart form the Domestic Market we have entered the International Market in a big way. Although we have lead the country in the export of beverages from the beginning we have now ventured forth overseas to share our technical know-how and to enter into collaboration with enterprises in various  fields.  Distillery and Glass Factory in Nairobi (Kenya) and a most modern Brewery in Nepal was also set up.


We are well known in the liquor trade for our quality products, but the need of time indicates wisdom in diversification of our product range. Our dynamic and foresighted leader has already  taken important  steps in the direction. Our Mineral Water, Corn Flakes, Mango Nector,  Apple Juice are well know for top quality in the country.


Apart from beverage line, we have also diversified into other fields as well. Our Leader, Brig. Kapil  Mohan, VSM  has been instrumental in promoting any unique company under the name and style of  SIDCO Mohan Tool  Kerala Limited in collaboration with Kerala State Industries  and  Employment Corporation for the manufacture  of hand  tools and industrial fastners With the setting up of another bottling plant at  Bhankerpur, near Chandigarh, our company quickly caters to the increased demand of  Punjab Himachal  and other surrounding States. In view of our thirst for expansion,  we have collaborated  with well known parties for the manufacture of our popular brands of IMFL in  South India to cater to the demand of southern markets. In consonance with our diverse objectives, the Company’s name was changed to “MOHAN MEAKIN LIMITED”, in 1980.


A 15 M. W. Wind Mill Project  for generation of Electricity in the State of Tamil Nadu, already inaugurated by the  Hon’ble  Prime Minister of India  on 5th July,2000. This project was initiated by Brig.(Dr.) Kapil  Mohan.


Our Company enjoys extraordinary industrial harmony and peace. Much of the credit for this goes to our leader , Brig.  Kapil Mohan, who is a friends and guide to each worker. Numerous benefits and facilities have been provided for he staff and workers.  Mohan Nagar is a complete township which not only has quarters for the staff and workers, but offers every imaginable amenity for their comfort and well  being. Setting up of a captive unity the workers of the Company under the name and style of” Mohan Shramik Udyog Limited  about a decade ago, is a living example of the personal interest which our leader takes in the activities and development of the workers of our company. This unit manufacturers card board boxes to feed the various units of the Company.


MML with a view to enter a Green field project decided to set up a Cane Molasses and Sugar Beat  based Distillery to produce 100 KLD Absolute Ethanol (Fuel Ethanol) 100KLD Potable alcohol project an Independent Bio-mass based 20 MW Power Project  in Uttar Pradesh at a total project cost of Rs.95.0 crores. The project is proposed to be funded by way to term loan to the tune of 75% of the project cost and the rest by way of equity from the promoters.


bsolute Ethanol Production Plants using Molecular Sieve Technology are offered  by ALFA LAVAL, PUNE  in Collaboration with M /s KATZEN INTERNATIONAL LTD. PUNE in collaboration with DELTA T CORPN., USA.


The Anhydrous Ethanol Production  Process drives the Rectified Spirit (95% v/v Alcohol through a bed of desiccant beads ( Molecular Sieves) to allow for bead regeneration in continuous operation, twin beds are provided of which one is in dehydration mode while the other is regenerating.  Depending on feed and production specifications, the dehydration- regeneration exchange takes place approximately every few minutes. As the regeneration process release the adsorbed water together with contained Ethanol, it is recycled back to regeneration column for re-processing.


The power and steam for the project will be utilized form the Independent Bio-mass based  Power Plant proposed to be installed adjacent to the Fuel  Ethanol Project.



There will be a generation of about 1200-1700 m3 per day of Distillery Spent Wash as effluent to be treated suitably  for disposal for 100 KLD Plant. Distillery Spent Wash is a waste water high inorganic Compounds and is excellent source for Biogas Generation through anaerobic Digestor. Distillery Effluent will be treated in a Primary Treatment Plant generating Biogas which will be utilized  as “Fuel”  in the Boiler and the Primary Treated  Effluent will be utilized for production of ”Organic Manure” using Sugar Mill Press Mud (Bio-composting). Part of the treated effluent will be utilized with suitable dilution as Liquid  Manure  for the Agricultural operations.



Techonology & Manufacturing Process




Molasses is the raw material used for production of alcohol. Molasses contains about 50% total reducing sugars, and during the fermentation, yeast strains of the species sacchardmyces cerevisiae converts sugars present in the molasses to ethyl alcohol.


For bringing out above biochemical reaction, we require proper and careful handling of yeast, optimum parameters like pH and temperature control and substrate concentration, which results into effective conversion of sugars to alcohol.  Initially yeast is developed in the laboratory from the single cell yeast culture. In the laboratory, yeast is propagated in a test tube on 10ml. Then it is transferred to a bigger flask of 500ml. are transferred to 5 litre flask containing the sterilized  molasses solution. It is necessary to adjust the pH of the molasses solution in the range  of 4.5 to 5.0 and add necessary nutrients such as ammonium sulphate or urea Di - ammonium  phosphate etc at each stage of development of yeast from 10 ml. to 500 ml. and from 500 ml to 5 litres  and 5000 litres.


All these equipments are designed so as to facilitate boiling of molasses solution, in order to sterilize it and also cooling to bring it to the proper temperature of  33 Degree C and letting in culture and taking out culture. Boiling, cooling, introducing culture etc. are done in aseptic manner, i.e.  keeping the fermentation medium free from any kind of infection. Further, stages of yeast propagation are done in open tanks, i.e. pre-Fermenter  requires about 8 hours in order to build up necessary concentration of yeast in them. Finally, pre- Fermenter is emptied  in an empty  Fermenter, which is previously cleaned and kept ready.  Dilute molasses solution is allowed to flow in this Fermenter so as to fill it to its working capacity, say about one- lakh litres. 


Now a days,  ready made compressed yeast used  directly  in the pre-Fermenter. Good quality of yeast is available for use in distillery. The yeast is manufactured under strict controlled conditions. This yeast is useful to obtain a good yield of alcohol by fermentation of molasses. The stage of yeast propagation as described above for producing yeast from laboratory scale to pre-fermentation stage may be totally eliminated. The fermentation of molasses in Fermenter take about 24 top 36 hours for completely exhausting the sugars in molasses.


The average efficiency of conversion of sugars in molasses to alcohol is 85 to 90% of theoretical value. All the sugars are not converted to alcohol during the process or fermentation because chemicals like  glycerine;  succinia acid, etc. are also produced by yeast during their metabolic  process. Therefore,  it is not possible to have 100% efficiency of conversion of sugars to alcohol. 

The average yield of alcohol from molasses is about 250 Liters from 1 MT. of molasses containing 45% total fermentable sugars.


Distillation :-


The next stage in the manufacture of alcohol is to separate alcohol from fermented wash and to concentrate it to 95%  alcohol called as rectified spirit (RS). For this purposed,  method of distillation is employed. This system consists of the following equipments:-


Wash column

Degasifying column

Heads concentration column

Rectification column   

Exhaust column.

The distillation column consists number of bubble-cap plates where wash is boiled and alcoholic vapors are separated and concentrated on each plate, stage by stage.


The fermented wash first enters the beer heater, which is a condenser for condensing alcoholic vapors by using wash as a cooling medium. The object of this beer heater is to recover the heat from the hot vapors of alcohol. Wash from the beer heater goes to the degasifying column top plate. The purpose of  this column is to get rid of foul gases dissolved in the wash. The wash from the degasifying column bottom goes to top plate of the wash column. The steam is admitted through the steam sparger situated at the bottom of the column. As the steam rises up, the wash descending from the top of the column gets heated stripping the alcohol contained in it and by the time it reaches to bottom plate, it contains practically no alcohol.


The wash going out is called spent wash, which is discharged through the drain pipe. The vapours coming from wash column now consists  approximately 50%  alcohol and 50% water with impurities such as higher alcohols, aldehydes,  acids, sulphurdi –oxide etc.  Part  of   these  vapors are led to purification column where low boiling impurities are separated from spirit which is produced at the rate of 5 to 10% of total production depending on the extent of purity required and stored separately. 

Other portion of the vapors, which is a major quantity , is let to rectifying column. This column consists of 52 plates, which  help the  removal of bad smelling fusel oil, which is a mixture of higher alcohols.  As the vapors coming form wash column rise to the top of rectifying  column., the concentration of alcohol goes on 

increasing and finally it reaches a concentration of  95.5% alcohol .The alcoholic vapors from rectifying columns are condensed in the beer heater, principle condenser using water as coolant and finally vent condenser. The condensates of all the three condensers go back to the top of the rectifying column and uncondensed gasses are let out from vent pipe. Actually product of rectified spirit is drawn from the 3rd plate from the tope and cold in alcohol cooler and taken out as product.


The fusel oil, which is a mixture of higher alcohol, is drawn from the 6th to  10th plate from bottom of rectifying column as a stream of vapors. It is condensed and cooled and let into a decanter  where it is mixed with water. Fusel oil being 

immiscible with water at the top and is decanted through a tunnel and sent to storage. The portion contains water and alcohol and is sent to back to wash column for  recovery of alcohol.  Fusel oil is recovered at the rate of 0.2% of alcohol 

produced. The alcohol, both pure and impure is first led into separate receivers. The quantity of alcohol produced  is assessed daily in the receiver and it is finally  transferred to storage vats in the warehouse.