All alcohols have the -OH group on them. Note that the oxygen is very electro-negative so will draw the bonding pair between it and the carbon closer. This makes the carbon δ positive and the oxygen δ negative. As Oxygen is one of the most electro-negative (N O F) elements, alcohols have the strongest of the intermolecular forces, Hydrogen bonds.


We have already seen some of the reactions of alcohols, namely how they are formed from nucleophilic substitution of halogenalkanes and the hydration of alkenes. Alcohols can be made by the process of fermentation of glucose solutions. This has the benefit of being carbon neutral. This is because, during photosynthesis, the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the plants to make the glucose, will be equal to the amount of carbon dioxide released when the plant, sugar and ethanol are burned.

The alternative method involves a previously described method, hydration of an alkene (ethene, phosphoric acid and steam). This method not only uses fossil fuels to provide the ethene, it also uses lots of fuel to generate the heat. Fermentation is not without its problems though, it is reliant on huge areas of land being available to grow sugar cane. In a world with a growing population, more and more land is needed to grow food to feed people, not cars.