Ethanol Dehydration

Many of the world's ethanol plants have been designed to use Zeochem molecular sieves. Zeochem's Z3-03 is the product of choice for use in the ethanol dehydration market providing excellent performance and long life.

Our Z3-03 molecular sieve is designed for targeting only water molecules in the feed stream while minimizing the co-adsorption of ethanol and other smaller molecules. The proprietary manufacturing process produces this adsorbent with superior mechanical strength and much longer service life – approaching 20 years in some plants.

The bead crush strength and attrition properties of Z3-03 are among the best in the industry. The spherical shape of our beads means that the physical forces applied during use are only compressive in nature, as compared to the tensile forces acting on extruded (rod or pellet) shapes which make them more susceptible to breakage. The smooth, hard outer surface resists attrition, thus minimizing dust formation and bead weakening. As a result, Z3-03, as packaged, contains very low dust and generates very little dust during loading.

Feed ethanol with high water content causes fast rates of water adsorption and a resulting rapid temperature rise in the adsorbent bed, all of which can be detrimental to the physical integrity of the sieve. Z3-03 is designed to withstand these extreme conditions, and test results confirm low particle breakup over the range of operating temperatures.

A feed with high water content also requires quicker operating cycles than experienced in other services. Z3-03 maintains its capacity and stability over hundreds of thousands of operating cycles. In addition, its 3 angstrom pore openings allow only water molecules to be adsorbed, reducing co-adsorption of ethanol, sieve coking and carbon deposition which shortens the adsorbent’s life.

Download our Ethanol Dehydration Brochure here.


Fuel Ethanol Dehydration

The use of cleaner and greener fuel alternatives is on the rise worldwide, and, as such, the use of ethanol in fuel is growing.

The majority of ethanol used in fuel is blended with gasoline. For the blend to be stable, water must be removed, yet because ethanol and water form an azeotrope, not enough water can be removed from the ethanol solution using simple distillation. When ethanol purity above 95% is required, molecular sieves are the best technical choice.

By partnering with engineering companies that have built, and still build, the majority of all ethanol plants worldwide, we have developed and continue to supply Z3-03, the best 3A type molecular sieve for ethanol dehydration.

Industrial and Pharmaceutical Ethanol

Ethanol is used in a wide range of industrial and pharmaceutical products. These range from solvents and cleaning products to cosmetics and medicines. For many of these uses, very high ethanol purity is required. Z3-03 has a proven track record of removing moisture to meet these demanding specifications.

Food-and-Beverage-Grade Ethanol

While beverage-grade ethanol is produced by much the same fermentation methods as other grades of ethanol, the finished product has one of the highest purity standards in the industry. Our molecular sieves are consistently chosen for their ability to meet these strict operational standards.

  • Extra neutral alcohol
  • Very low impurity levels
  • Z3-03 fulfills most international food contact regulations
  • No GMO or organic compounds

Related Products

Products similar to Z3-03 include other 3A molecular sieves, also designed for preferentially adsorbing water molecules. Those applications include water removal from natural gas, petrochemical and other hydrocarbon streams.


3A is made by ion-exchanging the sodium in type 4A zeolite with potassium. The 3A molecular sieve will exclude most molecules except water, making it very selective.


Custom Solutions

Our experienced technical support and design team can design new dehydration systems and perform process assessments to troubleshoot existing plants, thus ensuring your molecular sieve is always running at optimal performance.