Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, is a flammable, colorless chemical compound. Drinks with 0.5% or more ethanol are called alcoholic. When people talk about it, they often name it simply as alcohol. Its chemical formula is C2H5OH, also written as C2H6O. It is used as a solvent because it can dissolve many other chemicals and is not very toxic. Yeast make most of the ethanol that people use.
In Brazil, ethanol fuel made from sugar cane provides 18 percent of the country's fuel for cars. Because of this, Brazil does not have to buy oil from other countries. To do this, Brazil cut down much of the rain forests to grow more sugar cane, which is then fermented into Ethanol.
Most cars in the U.S. can run on fuels that have of up to 10% ethanol in them. Car makers like Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and GM also make vehicles run that run higher ethanol blends. Some of their engines can run on up to 85% ethanol (E85). By mid-2006, there were about six million E85-compatible vehicles on U.S. roads.
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Ethanol Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.