Fuel grade alcohol

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by brreitsma, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. brreitsma

    brreitsma Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering. I know that alcohol can be made simply by putting set amounts of sugar and yeast together in warm water. I also know alcohol has to be potent for use as fuel. Here is the question. I heard the more times a batch of alcohol is distilled through a still the more potent it gets. So could a process of fermenting alcohol as cheaply as with sugar and yeast possibly produce alcohol potent enough for fuel?
     
  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fuel grade alchohol.... Hum.

    Some enzymes will help break down stuff into sugars, and help efficiency.

    Yeast is added, oxygen is eliminated, & the sugar is turned into alcohol. The yeast basically kills itself at what, 8-12% alcohol? This is your mash.

    (Carbon dioxide is created too - if you are a big player you collect & sell this too.)

    The mash is strained, the solids make good livestock feed.

    The liquid is run through a column and distilled. This can get the alcohol to 95% or so, with the 5% being water. Technically this stuff is burnable as fuel, if you modify the engine to run on 'almost pure' ethanol. It will _not_ mix with gasoline to make E-85 or E-10 as one commonly finds as gas pumps; and one needs to add heat to the air intake & modify the air/fuel ratio to make it a good efficient fuel as is. So this would not typically be what is on the market as 'fuel grade' ethanol?

    One runs the 95% ethanol through some stuff - I forget the name of it, and it will absorb all the water, but will not absorb ethanol. This removes the remaining water, giving you as close to pure 100% ethanol as practical.

    The ethanol must be denatered - made undrinkable - by adding .5% gasoline to it.

    This makes 'fuel grade ethanol' if that is what you wanted to know? Doesn't really matter if you make a few gallons in the back yard, or 100 million gallons a year as the farmer-owned coop up the road produces. Pretty much the same process either way.

    --->Paul
     

  3. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    Engines have to be designed to run alcohol. Alcohol eats things up. I don't remember if it's meth or eth. All I know is we used to have to use an after run to keep enignes from decaying.
     
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wood alcohol, now mostly made from petro products, aka methanol, is very corrosive on certain engine parts.


    ethanol, aka grain alcohol, the stuff oner distills, is actually less hard on most engine parts than gasoline would be. It can cause some few certain plastic parts to soften, tho those few products have not been used in engines for several decades now.

    There is a big difference between the 2 alcohols, and those against the use of ethanol have, perhaps intenionally, confused that issue for folks.

    The ethanol made from corn sugar and used in E-10 & E-85 blends in the USA is the non-corrosive, not-very-toxic type. It also has much more btu per gallon than the bad alcohol has.

    --->Paul
     
  5. BobDFL

    BobDFL The High-Tech Ludite Supporter

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    I've seen on TV a couple of times about a guy in TN. that is selling a Reflux Still for about $1600. It produces 90+% ethanol and can be used in most newer cars when mixed in a 10% or less ratio with gasoline, and any Flexfuel vehicle as is or in any ratio up to 100%.

    Bob D. in FL.