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22nd June 2024 (10 Topics)

Hooch

Recently, at least 49 people have died, and around 100 others have been hospitalised after consuming hooch, or spurious liquor, in Tamil Nadu’s Kallakurichi.

About

  • It is a commonly used term for poor quality alcohol, derived from Hoochinoo, a native Alaskan tribe that was known to produce very strong liquor.
  • Unlike branded liquor which is produced in factories with sophisticated equipment and rigorous quality control, hooch is made in much more crude settings.
  • The fermented mixture which is distilled contains more than just consumable alcohol (ethanol). It also contains methanol, an industrial alcohol which is highly toxic for human beings.

Fact Box

Methanol

  • It is an alternative fuel for internal combustion and engines, either in combination with gasoline or directly. It is less expensive to produce sustainably and is a less expensive way to reduce the carbon footprint. Recently, methanol fuel has been produced using renewable energy and carbon dioxide as a feedstock.
  • What is it- It is also known as methyl alcohol, it is colourless, light, and flammable liquid.
  • How it is made- It can be manufactured industrially, derived from coal, oil or biomass, wood, bagasse, grass, or agricultural wastes.
  • What are its uses- Antifreeze, solvent, and fuel
  • Pure methanol has been used in open wheel auto racing since the mid-1960s

Benefits of methanol

As fuel

  • Cheaper to produce compared to other fuels, safer than others because of low flammability, and wide variety of food stock can be used to produce methanol.
  • Use of methanol fuel reduces the exhaust emissions of certain hydrocarbon-related toxins such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene, and dramatically reduces long term groundwater pollution caused by fuel spills. Unlike benzene-family fuels, methanol will rapidly and non-toxically biodegrade with no long-term harm to the environment as long as it is sufficiently diluted.

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