Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Ethanol Process

Please remember to follow the rules and regulations in your area of residence. U.S. citizens be aware that making ethanol may require permits and will require that you pay a fuel tax to the feds. No surprise there since they tax everything but our ability to breathe but I have heard they are working on that too. Alcohol permit link.

I have mentioned ethanol a lot on this blog. It is a fuel source that was once very plentiful here but cheap oil prices drove it out. Now, with high oil prices, it is making a comeback and even the feds have mandated that it will replace MTBE (also was mandated and later found to cause cancer).

Basically you are making moonshine. 180 proof alcohol that your car may or may not love you for and the same goes for your wallet. Although large scale farming operations and processing may produce positive energy gains, it may not be so for a homegrown installation.

Resource Link: Mother Earth Alcohol Fuel: Chapter 3 (Alcohol Yield)

First you have to choose what you are going to distill. Check out the link above to get an idea of what may work for you.

Grind down product to expose the starches.

Add a bit of water and some enzymes to convert those starches to sugar.

Add yeast (sounds just like making your own beer ) to get those sugars to covert into ethanol.

The ethanol is then distilled so that it can be seperated out.

The resulting ethanol is then put through dehydration to remove any extra water.

Sealed up tight ethanol can last a long time, opened canisters will eventually dilute over a period of time.

Did you know?
That ethanol was almost driven out of existence in the U.S. because it was taxed to help fund the Civil War. The tax lasted until 1906.

That ethanol was banned during Prohibition because it was considered alcohol.

Basically you need to build a still and a good one. Plans will run from $20 on up and the actual costs of the materials can run hundreds of dollars. Plus this is not something you really want to do in your house and possibly not even the garage.

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