Traditional alcohols are produced from agricultural raw materials (sugar beets or cereals) by fermentation, distillation and rectification. They are used in the spirits, perfumes and pharmaceutical industries.
Fermentation of sugar substrates from beets or cereals (low-purity juice or syrup, starch) takes place in the presence of yeast. It produces a solution of around 10% alcohol, known as "wine". This wine is then distilled to produce 94% raw alcohol. The rectification process separates out volatile components that are unsuitable for direct use to produce 96% high-purity alcohol. This is used in the spirits, perfumes and cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, among others.
To meet the requirements of specific markets, part of the high-purity alcohol is dehydrated to produce 99.9% anhydrous alcohol.
Non-alcoholic by-products of the distillation process, known as vinasse, are concentrated by evaporation. The resultant product is sold mainly as a fertilizer.
Tereos produces alcohol from agricultural materials for traditional uses at its Artenay, Bucy, Morains, Nesle and Origny sites in France, at Dobrovice, Chrudim and Kojetin in the Czech Republic, Saluzzo in Italy, and Selby in the UK.