"I also do not agree with the route but the availability of 'free' energy on a steel works is not necessarily a bad one."
Of course. It's just that without subsidies/mandates driving this, would you ever use it to separate ethanol from a solution that's nearly all water? No, if instead you did a gas phase reaction and avoided the water, you could still use the waste heat to distill ethanol, methanol -- whatever you produced. Would be a lot more efficient, which is my point. The mandates/subsidies sometimes drive us in very inefficient directions.