> chemistry > alcools > how-to-make-anhydrous-ethanol-100-alcohol-nilered

How to make anhydrous ethanol (100% alcohol)

NileRed - 2015-10-21

in this video we will be making some 100% Ethanol from 95% Ethanol. I use molecular sieves but other drying agents can be used. I just like sieves the most.

I am in the process of making a patreon account for donations. I am slow so the page is only partially done. Several people requested that a make one. I'll add rewards and stuff later because I'm honestly not sure what to put there yet. 

Nile talks about lab safety:  https://youtu.be/ftACSEJ6DZA


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Diego - 2020-07-20

My pharmacy sells 95% alcohol... [Laughs in Polish where literally every corner shop sells 95% alcohol]

Me 2 - 2020-08-16

Remember my polish friend when we was young he came home with bags of it and strong beer. I drank two caps of thta, 2 caps absinth in a +12.something% beer at once on The train home once. I woke up in my shower somehow, with my mother showering me. I was drunk for 3-4 days straight. Guess correct term is alcohol poisoned. I was 16-17 years old at the time. Do not recommend. At least have some water or Milk to mix with.

Angel Dust - 2020-08-19

Alcohol is disgusting

pokrec - 2020-08-23

@Me 2 Never ever drink strong alcohol along with beer. It is a recipee for big problems.
If you want just to get drunken, the safest option is just a plain vodka, or even rectified spirit ("spirytus rektyfikowany") dilutetd with pure water to about 40% of alcohol.
The hangover after beer is monstrous. And the worst is when you mix many types of drinks in the evening.
I personally hate the hangover and do not abuse alcohol. Just 2 - 3 shots of a good alcohol and that's all for the evening.

fododude - 2020-08-28

@Dennis Young I'm sort of addicted to French polishing now. Nice (if fragile) finish.

8bit brainz - 2020-08-30

@Joanna Bulik kuuuuuuurva

Scott Hays - 2019-11-18

Finally, a drink strong enough for Norse Gods.

flagrantzebra47 - 2020-08-23


Antoni Nykiel - 2020-08-24

You mean russians

Krzysiek Serafiński - 2020-08-25

Or normal Russians

turtleman cockatoo - 2020-08-26

Finally a drink strong enough for chuck Norris

Anthony Agius - 2020-08-31


StrokeMahEgo - 2016-05-31

alright gentlemen we have pure ethanol, time to get wasted!

Akkbar - 2020-07-17

Cammy Lohnes you need to get help. You’re an alcoholic

Nick Smith - 2020-07-21

Wait we gotta drop a bar in it

Joseph Gertz - 2020-07-24

@Cammy Lohnes I hope you get the help you need. God bless. I've been addicted to everything imaginable but I'm a year sober from heroin and alcohol so I know you can do it!

Dennis Young - 2020-08-10

Time to get shellacked, you mean. You'll wish button-lac, which needs filtering...

Chris Warman - 2020-08-17

Hugh McRae sounds like liver problemo

magicstix0r - 2016-02-18

How nerds make moonshine...

Sean Kauder - 2020-06-19

@Odyseusz Koskiniotis lol true. I love when people reply to old comments and I'm like "wow, I wrote that?" In retrospect, it depends on how much methanol is present, and I definitely wouldn't say ethanol is an antidote; it just mitigates the harmful effects

Ethan Valdez - 2020-07-18

steven spall it’s also liquid fire if you set it on fire!

Nathan Leach - 2020-08-03

Not all nerds distill. Some of us aim to die slowly, not quickly. Distilling to near 100% is suicide, if it's for drink. (yes, I do know you can dilute it)

NicLikesCake - 2020-08-05

@WindowHero B..but its 100% ethanol bruh. if there were methanol in it wouldnt it be less than 100% ethanol? 100% is 100% lol.

NicLikesCake - 2020-08-05

@Jack Mesnard oh i commented before i saw this 2 year old comment, we share the same intellect 😂

vertical - 2019-03-07

My brother drank the fortnite juice under the sink and now he won’t wake up

H311cr4ft - 2020-07-27

@ZiMarts cursed comment

NicLikesCake - 2020-08-05

@ZiMarts is everyone gonna ignore the necrophilia this man is spitting right now?

SkyLuke - 2020-08-13

@NicLikesCake Yes.

Caveman - 2020-08-15

@NicLikesCake we are not ignoring we are wishing we could take part in it

NicLikesCake - 2020-08-15

@Caveman wait NO thats not what i meant😂

SIStefanov - 2020-03-17

When I was in highschool I was in a chemistry club. I joined due to a girl I liked. Chemistry was fun and obv. I still love it, but my work is unrelated to the field. One time we had the task to ferment some grapes into a sort of wine then seperate the alcohol and later further destill it into 100% ethanol. This was a whole semester wide project that took many sessions time and effort on the whole club (6 people incl. the teacher). I remember very clearly when we had the 100% ethanol and how happy we were to achieve our goal. I remember filtering the ethanol with the m. sieves through a coffee filter. I remember washing the sieves with distilled water. I remember realising that I just dilluted the batch to less then 50% and so destroyed two weeks of work. That day I realized that I am just slightly, but definitively a moron.

Steven M - 2020-07-22

Callin cap what high school assigns students to ferment alcohol lmao

Inner G - 2020-08-10


Christian Higginson - 2020-08-10

when I was watching the video I was like "and then you washed it with distilled water, right?"

and then I remembered what video this was and felt silly. it seems like such a regular thing to do, that one might have to remember to not do it

Shadow Gamer - 2020-08-10

@Inner G man its bad enough that people use that to insult men willy nilly, we now have to deal with idiots using it in the wrong context too?

bb m0dun1 - 2020-08-19

Omg this is beautiful

вiтсн.тгттiэß - 2020-08-11

Legend says it still wasn’t strong enough for the Russians and the scots

Taras Wertelecki - 2020-08-18

It's strong enough for Russians to drink themselves to death on it. More Russians die of acute alcohol poisoning in one day than Americans do in a year. That is how bad the problem is of Russians drinking themselves to death.

BigBoyGamer123 - 2020-08-24

or the irish

kdawg3484 - 2018-02-02

Chemical engineer here. First of all, great clear and quick explanation of azeotropic distillation even though you opted not to use that method. I rarely, if ever, see it explained so clearly in my engineering books.

A couple things worth noting:

1) Mole sieves are the pretty much the best nonreactive way to get contaminants to the lowest possible percentages if they're applicable to the situation. 3A is perfect for removing water as it doesn't fit almost any other molecules except H2O into the pores. However, mole sieves have much lower capacities in exchange for their high adsorptivity. 5% water is probably too much for a mole sieve I thought up front, but I was pleasantly surprised that you were able to adsorb all that water in just two treatments. At higher volumes, though, mole sieves would become uneconomical. Great for keeping your ethanol dry, though, in storage as you're doing.

In engineering practice at larger volumes, using only adsorption, it's most cost effective to use alumina first as a cheaper bulk adsorbent for water, then polish the last remaining bits of water out with mole sieves. Both can be regenerated with heat. Silica gel is another possible adsorbent that can be regenerated, but you'd have to check your gel's affinity for water over ethanol just to be sure it'll work. Adsorption is a very versatile separation method as long you do your adsorbent homework.

2) There are a lot of other ways of "breaking" azeotropes listed in the Wikipedia "Azeotrope" article. Changing the distillation pressure will usually change the azeotropic temperature and composition allowing you to get past the atmospheric azeotrope. Apparently, that pressure swing effect won't work for ethanol-water, but it's viable for other mixtures. Using selective membranes will also work. There are many other methods. Obviously, not all will work for all types of mixtures or be viable at lab scale. I just wanted to expand upon your point of showing that there are a lot of other interesting separation processes, both physical and chemical, that we use after good ole distillation reaches its limits.

Eduardo Escamilla - 2020-03-20

@Ethan Letzer 4A pore (actually, the nanopore) is bigger than 3A, you can not separate water and ethanol with 4A because it also adsorbs ethanol.

kiernan - 2020-05-15

this whole reply section is r/iamverysmart in its finest

Kuya Leinad - 2020-05-15

Kiernan Work I mean considering the context of the video, it seems like the initial comment just wanted to talk more about the video topic than to sound smart then people wanted to add to it 🤷‍♂️

Void Helicopter - 2020-06-20


King Bread - 2020-07-01

ha, nerd

Alien P - 2020-06-12

2019: Let's use the alcohol to make moonshine
2020: Let's use the alcohol to make hand sanitizer

Nuclease-free Man - 2020-07-14

_roman420 that one dumbass who hoarded thousands of hand sanitizer to resell on amazon but rejected can do that for sure

Snarky . Live - 2020-07-15

@Nuclease-free Man Authorities then seized his shit too. That predatory capitalism thing only works for the powerful. If you're a just DBA company and your storage facility is strong enough to withstand most police armored vehicles, you get to sell your sanitizer. His biggest mistake was complaining about Amazon in public so people knew what he did. If police didn't take those bottles, the public was gunna.

Alysa Countryman - 2020-07-16

how do y’all even understand this i am so confused

Nuclease-free Man - 2020-07-16

Snarky . Live they seized his hand sanitizer? That’s beyond satisfying

Iquerno - 2020-08-18

might aswell go to every shopping center in your city every day to get some of the hand sanitizer that is free to use (but noone uses it, at least in poland) and then sell it on amazon. might take you 5 years to get meaningful quantities. i suppose you can't get charged for doing anything wrong if you pour half a litre of hand sanitizer into a suspicious bag to then be reselled as ethanol.

Jon T - 2020-03-14

2020 Coronavirus:
Youtube recommendations:

Dennis Young - 2020-05-20

@Caleb Williams That's the other reason.

The big reason, though, is Shellac.

Daniel G - 2020-05-22

I mean yeah, our Dear Leader will want us to inject this

John Doe - 2020-06-03

And now riots

Wizard V2003X - 2020-06-20

I searched it lol

Zoli Gáspár - 2020-07-20


Fhie - 2020-05-17

Also known in labs as "the good stuff".

Sean Sharma - 2020-08-09

No one:

Dad's during quarantine: interesting

Lewis Farrell - 2015-10-21

Why would you want 100% Ethanol?
So you could get drunk as fak.

J E - 2020-06-18

I literally have to drink 95+% alcohol or i cant even catch a buzz. I dont understand why my tolerance is at a norse god level but it is

KimuTone - 2020-06-19

@SuperAngelofglory A lot of alcohols have added agents to make them taste awful, that way people don't drink them.

Dennis Young - 2020-06-20

To make shellac ready for application, 'natch.


SuperAngelofglory I hear a challenge

Taras Wertelecki - 2020-08-18

@Sirus That's methanol, not ethanol.

George Ayman - 2020-03-16

i like how youtube recommended this since ethanol products are scarce in our market... or they are just listening to my home conversations

Petr Říha - 2020-03-17

Google listening no joke.

Dan Farley - 2020-03-19

@Petr Říha they are

Ben Schroth - 2018-11-01

pronounced: siv

Ben Schroth - 2020-06-11

@kaden richards Correct is correct.

kaden richards - 2020-06-13

Ben Schroth yes correct is correct. I was correct, you were a prick

Ben Schroth - 2020-06-13

@kaden richards PENISHEAD!

ryan miller - 2020-08-14


Jamie Roberson - 2020-08-27

You mean simp?

Greg Gallacci - 2016-04-08

There is a hybrid distillation technique using glycerol.
Pass the ethanol vapors through hot glycerol; the ethanol passes right on by, the water hangs out to party!!
Glycerol is easily swapped out & dried.

gazzarrr666 - 2019-10-19

Nice idea. I'll have to try that.

Rúna Kovács - 2019-10-19

Reminds me of purifying hydrogen gas with Pd.

Don B - 2020-03-16

Man the shit I learn on youtube... really makes me regret not taking chemistry education

Kuba Niedźwiecki - 2019-03-14

"my local pharmacy simply sells it"
>me being kinda shocked that he can't just buy it at convinience store(in my country there is like 96% in almost any store and it's even drinkable

Carl Pilkington - 2020-03-23

NeuronalAxon Enough with the hypocracy please. Turkish Republic was never religious, secularism is guaranteed by the constitution, just as it is in any country with proper institutions. Alcohol is almost never prohibited, even in the caliphate era. We are pretty much sick of explaining these to the foreigners.

So, since I am done with that quick side note:

Mono gram adikt - 2020-04-14

pretty sure you can get pure ethanol at some pharmacies in australia but you cant just walk in off the street and buy it without some kind of valid reason ?

Gentili Giuliano - 2020-05-08

96% drinkable ethanol price in my country is priced about 18€/L , denatured alcool same concentration is about 2.40€. And both are available in any supermarket.

Ben P - 2020-07-20

@Mackenzie Mcgrath Inhalants like nos are perfectly safe and have no recorded cases of death EVER, when properly used with b12 supplements.

Mackenzie Mcgrath - 2020-07-21

lmao you could not be further from the truth look at actual rates of sudden inhalant death syndrome in people who abuse inhalants. Not to mention there is no proof what so ever that b12 lowers the risk of sudden heart attack or stroke caused by inhalants. most sudden inhalant death syndrome deaths are heart failure caused by an abnormal heart beat. Do not abuse inhalants even if you think you know what your doing. the number of anesthesiology students that overdose because they think they know what they are doing is just sad. there is a reason inhalants are very rarely in comparison to other far safer options like propofol or fentynol

VincentM - 2018-05-24

You are lucky you can buy 95% Ethanol at the pharmacy?
In Germany you can buy 96% Strohrum in the grocery store.

andygozzo72 - 2020-06-02

we cant buy ethanol here in the uk without a permit! all we can get is methylated spirit or surgical spirit...

Ok Gaming - 2020-06-02

@andygozzo72 buy the purest alcohol you can and distill it

otacon1024 - 2020-06-07

@andygozzo72 So ferment your own. Sugar, yeast, water - easy mode.

Dennis Young - 2020-06-20

@Ok Gaming 192 proof, if I go by the label.

No, not for consumption. Shellac.

In fact, when I went to buy it, I named it that explicitly - "Shellac thinner."

JGD - 2020-07-16

I get 99% un usa at right aid

Ben Peltola - 2020-03-15

Me: Sees video title

Also me: 'Cheers, I'll drink to that, bro.'

clorox bleach - 2020-03-18

Me: 1z c0roNa t1Me r1tE nAu

Dennis Lubert - 2016-01-27

I have been wondering if you could not get rid of the dust by washing them sieves beforehand, or do they constantly decompose?

Ed Ivory - 2019-03-18

Libor Tinka does its effectiveness diminish per gram over the life of the sieve, regeneration after regeneration?

Kelnx - 2019-06-26

@Ed Ivory I used to use molecular sieve to keep an FTIR spectrometer free of moisture, and over time it does seem to lose its potency. We had to order more every so often. I don't know the particulars of by how much over time, but for us, it was about 2-3 years of use it kind of lost its potency to the point you had to toss it and get new sieve. That may have had more to do with what we had to recover it (a simple toaster oven without a fan) than the sieve itself. But I did bake it at the temperature and for the time the label on the sieve said to. If I had to guess, I'd say other contaminants eventually build up within or on the sieve over time so that it cannot adsorb enough water to be wholly effective.

As far as dust goes, I never washed sieve, but dust was always present, no matter how much dust was left behind in the oven I used to recover it. The sieve is basically a type of hard clay, so it is brittle. It just seems to create more dust over time.

Libor Tinka - 2019-08-21

@Ed Ivory I haven't used it in so many cycles to notice but maybe crushing them would increase fresh surface area and make the sieves live longer. The 3A sieves can be obtained cheaply but high quality zeolites are expensive.

Mutantcy1992 - 2020-01-10

I have firsthand experience with this. A wash certainly helps, but is not a perfect solution generally. The dust is extremely fine and can be difficult to filter out.

In a batch configuration like in the video, you basically have to do a distillation to get the inevitable dust away.

Andreas Sjöberg - 2020-03-19

I'd say that having a fan at full blow, and tossing them into the air and then catching them, would remove most of the dust, while not adding any water.

joseph jackson - 2019-10-26

It's important to note that when you remove the H2O from the ethanol, in order to keep it at 100% ethanol, you should keep it in an inert atmosphere so the water vapor in the air won't diffuse into the ethanol.

Sijmen Kroon - 2019-11-18

Thats why he added the sieves in the bottle again, so if the concentration ethanol went down they would absorb the water again and the conc would go back to 100%

duckbilldaniel - 2016-07-05

best chemistry channel i've seen. Good work. You earned a Sub.

kambaboss - 2018-10-31


Tryphon, un ZOUAVE ??! - 2019-02-04

Totally thought of that too

Whyso Scared - 2015-10-23

you can mix it with Aluminium ethanolate. It will react with water to form Aluminium Hydroxide and ethanol

superdau - 2016-03-12

Isn't the point of the denaturing agents to not be easily removeable by destillation so to keep people from drinking the untaxed alcohol?

NileRed - 2016-03-13

It's just so that it isn't classified as food and therefore isn't taxed. How you choose to denature it is pretty variable

hayden Laidlaw - 2020-01-12

@NileRed chemistry question, is iron oxide and magnesium sulfate in water toxic?

Mason Richardson - 2017-02-05

i wonder if the sieve dust in the solution when you first tested it after stirring it around lowered your API?

Staples - 2019-07-19

Yo, my dad used to do that but that was years back. Haven't seen him since.

John Apple - 2019-07-20

Same bro

Roy Singh - 2020-03-23

Excellent tutorial. You're a natural teacher. Keep going.

Pepe Ala squid - 2020-06-30

Finally, a GOOD 100% speed run that I can make sense of ! 100% liquor achieved

Eli Duttman - 2018-10-20

Molecular sieves are a comparatively recent development. Back when I was in school, we used calcium oxide (quicklime). CaO + H2O yields Ca(OH)2.

bruce cowles - 2020-04-08

where yields confirmed using hydro-meter?

Israel Bruno - 2016-07-23

Do you have a video about Bio-diesel, a demonstration or description on how to process or a good reference? Your videos brought me memories of my Chem. Lab. days in college. Thank you.

Lawrence Ferguson - 2020-08-21

I've always heard it pronounce SIV and its bugging me lol

Steve Reyes - 2020-08-12

The second it’s finished we taking shots 😈

SierraDelta91 - 2020-08-30

actually i am making chloroform in home with alcohol and bleaching powder

Craig Fuller - 2020-08-22

I really love your experiments!! I just wanted to share some things I’ve learned about sieves. Molecular sieves will slowly pull air molecules into their pores as they sit. It is generally best to freshly bake the sieves before using them. This drives the gases out of the pores and allows the water molecules to be literally pulled directly into them. It’s essentially a vacuum that adds a lot of extra pull. You can demonstrate this by sealing freshly baked sieves in a plastic container, and as the air is absorbed, the plastic container will collapse.
If you don’t use freshly regenerated sieves, you have to wait for the air molecules to get driven out (displaced), which adds a significant amount of time to the solvent drying process.

Corey - 2020-03-17

Every time he says seeve instead of seive (sĭv) it makes my brain hurt

Theblackcharizard96 - 2017-07-11

What point are you at in the making of "the future video showing you how to obtain 95% ethanol from anything lower"

sativagreenthumb - 2020-04-08

Distill it geezer

sgt spork - 2020-04-19

Fractional Distillation is the most efficient over simple distillation as the boiling points of ethanol and water are fairly close... all it is in this case, would be a vertical condenser with a ton of surface area for condensation (ie glass beads or some such) that sits above the boiling flask that allows the water, with the higher boiling point, a chance to condense back into the boiling flask basically, while the more volatile ethanol to travel as a vapor into a side tube above the column to separate into another condenser, cool into a liquid, and collect in a collection vessel..

it basically adds a stage that better separates the ethanol and water vapor via condensation, thus giving you a more pure output that you can monitor and calibrate much easier via a thermometer tip placed right at the point where the vapor separates into the second condenser.. keep that temp at the boiling point for ethanol, and you get fairly pure ethanol.. you then do one or two more passes with the collected ethanol to further refine it's purity.. it's a more controllable distillation basically as the top of the fractionating column is cooler (vapor temp of ethanol but not water) than the bottom, so the water condenses back down into the boiling flask via gravity... sorry if that's a bit rambling, it's late and I'm a bit loopy at the moment...

Ethan Valdez - 2020-07-18

Hey, my name’s in there!

Nikolaii2571 - 2015-10-24

I love your glassware, Nile.

NZAnimeManga - 2020-01-11

sieves pronounced like "shiv" (less the sh --> ss)

Barnesrino Kripperino - 2015-10-26

to remove the dust from th solution we distil it
the distilate is addeed to more molecular sieves

Kris - 2017-05-02

The distillation is necessary for separation of the denaturing agents. Denatured ethanol can be denatured with methanol, isopropanol, denatonium benzoate, etc. Different governments will have different regulations governing the specific mandated mixtures. For example, in the US there are a bunch of different formulas with a few of them being the most common by far. Usually it's denatured with methanol and denatonium benzoate.
The methanol will distill off first so that should be discarded. Maybe in Quebec ethanol isn't denatured with methanol but this should be considered when distilling.
As far as I know, denatonium benzoate will not codistill with ethanol so that should be left over in the distillation flask.

cl8ff - 2018-01-28

ethanol is hygroscopic(attracts water). every time a bottle of ethanol is opened, fresh water laden air enters the bottle. hence the need for more sieves.

Choose A New Name - 2018-09-30

It is extremely difficult to separate ethanol and methanol because they have very very close boiling points and weights. The reason denaturing agents are chosen is due to the difficulty in separating them. 99.9999% of home people do not have the skills or know how to safely remove it. Only non volatile agents can be done easily, and methanol is volatile.

Michael Montgomery - 2019-03-11

I agree it was weird to see.

Gentili Giuliano - 2020-05-08

@Kris In Italy ethanol is denatured with Bitrex, MEK ant Thiophene. Bitrex is not so problematic but Other 2 are a pain in the ass, not so easy to remove by distillation.

mark rigsby - 2016-11-17

Nile Red, knows his stuff.

Joseph Borders - 2020-06-16


mathew dallaway - 2020-06-06

Interesting process; thank you for the information and tips.
The pronunciation of "sieve" could do with some distillation.

Truthsearcherforever - 2016-02-09

Can you make a video on how to extract iodine from sea weeds. Please.

Heather Larson - 2016-09-27

thank you for the video! helps w my pchem lab.

Ress Dress - 2020-03-19

Love ur vids G you deserve more subs (although you have alot already lol)

Nicholas McCloskey - 2019-12-13

Incredibly clear explanation of Azeotropic solutions, often taught awkwardly. Thank you.

Tony Maric - 2018-11-01

I will probably never make anything, but i find it very intressting to just watch the process. Thanks for uploading.

Kareem APBIO - 2018-10-30

You are an excellent chemist. Much respect to you from a junior chem student.