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A New Twist for the Moonshiner: Ethanol
AP via Fox News ^
| By Staff
Posted on 05/16/2006 8:20:21 AM PDT by oxcart
TULLAHOMA, Tenn. The still standard equipment of any moonshiner has a shot at becoming the must-have accessory of penny-pinching motorists.
An upstart Tennessee business is marketing stills that can be set up as private distilleries making ethanol 190 proof grain alcohol out of fermented starchy crops such as corn, apples or sugar cane. The company claims the still's output can reduce fuel costs by nearly a third from the pump price of gasoline.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: energy; ethanol; ethanolstill; fuel; gas; gasoline; gasprices; gastaxessuck; moonshine; painatthepump; saveongas; still
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The secret is in the still manufacturer's site (link in post # 11):
" but if it is fuel you are after, you want to burn scrap wood, or anything you can get cheap or free as a fuel source, because you have to minimise your costs and also be adaptable."
In a sense, alcohol production is a roundabout method for converting hog fuel into transportation fuel. I understand that commercial operations burn coal to do the evaporation -- in effect a way of using coal for automobile fuel.
Well, it's still illegal to distill alcohol at home, something that should have been legalized long ago.
It is, however, perfectly legal to brew your own biodiesel.
posted on 05/16/2006 10:24:27 AM PDT
by B Knotts
You know... the whole trick to distillation is that alcohol boils (turns to vapor) at around 187 degrees (F) and water at 212 (F)... Not a spectacular temp, really.
A small scale distiller, operating on, say, the waste heat from your hot water heater, furnace or even the air conditioner (yes, Skippy, part of it gets quite hot), could conceivably produce enough fuel additive to make a real difference in one's personal budget...
It does cut out oil company profits though. Expect it to remain illegal.
posted on 05/16/2006 10:39:59 AM PDT
The act of separating alcohol from water is illegal.
If you put a can of beer in the freezer and perform a process known as "jacking", you have broken the law.
One other thing, using any kind of open flame or spark producing switching in an area that a distillery is functioning, is almost an act of suicide.
One pinhole leak in your condenser, if you are only on the second step, will end your career with a really big bang.
Like uncle Carl once said, "it ain't a thing you go messin with".
posted on 05/16/2006 10:51:47 AM PDT
by Al Gator
(Refusing to "stoop to your enemy's level", gets you cut off at the knees.)
Compressed Natural Gas went this same way. There was a time when I lived in Oklahoma, ONG, the gas co there, had a plan to allow customers to install fueling stations run off their home natural gas lines to fuel CNG converted cars and trucks. When the demorats demanded taxing this proposition ONG dropped the idea.
posted on 05/16/2006 10:52:57 AM PDT
Patrick Kennedy could recycle the Rapist in Chief. I siphoned but I didn't imbibe.
To: Dark Skies
posted on 05/16/2006 11:06:08 AM PDT
by SE Mom
(God Bless those who serve..)
"I cant wait to see teenagers in the future siphoning ethanol from cars to get drunk on."
Ethanol producers are required by law to put poison in the ethanol so that it isn't fit for human consumption. In most cases it is also mixed with gasoline. In Brazil they do sell cars that will burn 100% ethanol, 100% gasoline, or any combination of the two (over 70% of all new cars sold in Brazil are like this and most are manufactured in the U.S.). Here though most cars sold to burn more than the 20% to 25% ethanol all new cars can handle are still not made to run on pure ethanol. They burn E85 (85% ethanol). E85 is sold with somewhat higher than 15% gasoline in the winter though to help with cold starting engines. I doubt many people would want to drink something that is 15% gasoline, pure ethanol with poison it, or even pure ethanol with no poison in it coming out of a gas tank.
posted on 05/16/2006 11:50:11 AM PDT
I heard the big oil guys way back when....got stills outlawed by the feds cause they wanted only to have gasoline/oil to fuel peoples cars stopping alcohol from being the fuel. Of course, the reason for stopping stills was actually a big ole' lie.
posted on 05/16/2006 12:02:27 PM PDT
(A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc. 10:2)
"The distillate must be chemically treated to remove the remainder of the water before it can be used for fuel in an engine that is not specifically built for the task."
Ethanol does not have to be chemically treated to remove excess water. Pure ethanol can be had simply by filtering through charcoal. Most people with home stills at least use molecular sieves made from zeolites to extract the water. These are generally little balls made from "microporous crystalline solids with well-defined structures." They soak up water but not ethanol, and can be dried and reused over and over again. The company that was the subject of this article well sell you zeolite pellets for $4.75 a pound with free shipping. There are also ways to dehydrate the ethanol using dried corn or other biomass to extract the water, different low pressure distilling methods, and other means that do not necessarily require the use of toxic chemicals.
"Also, An engine built to operate most efficiently with ethanol would need a higher compression ratio than one built for gasoline. This is determined in the engine design and not alterable during operation, so any engine that uses a variable mixture of the two is not optimized."
I've read that there are some turbo-charged fuel injected engines that run more efficiently on ethanol than gasoline. Ethanol normally produces something like 30% less energy than gasoline, but there are already cars with engines capable of doing better than that on or roadways, and there are modification people can make to existing engines that will allow them to use more than the 20% or 25% or so ethanol their engines can already handle and modifications that will help with fuel efficiency. And if gas prices remain high as they are expected to do, the lower efficiency of ethanol in standard engines won't matter that much to consumers because even if they have to burn more ethanol to get where they are going, they'll still spend less because ethanol is considerably cheaper than gasoline at the moment. If gas prices go much higher, I'm buying a still. I'd rather not fund the crazy Arabs with my fuel purchases anyway.
posted on 05/16/2006 12:26:16 PM PDT
Sir, your gas cap is missing - I'm arresting you for an open container violation...
posted on 05/16/2006 12:27:40 PM PDT
(An open mind is a cesspool of thought)
Great American ingenuity strikes again!
posted on 05/16/2006 12:28:20 PM PDT
"I understand that commercial operations burn coal to do the evaporation -- in effect a way of using coal for automobile fuel."
In Brazil they burn their sugar cane stalks for the distillation process and use ethanol to produce the electricity to run their ethanol plants. They end up selling excess electricity to their power companies and still make a nice profit on the ethanol.
posted on 05/16/2006 12:29:21 PM PDT
You can burn it in your car or your tummy.
posted on 05/16/2006 12:30:14 PM PDT
Also, An engine built to operate most efficiently with ethanol would need a higher compression ratio than one built for gasoline. This is determined in the engine design and not alterable during operation, so any engine that uses a variable mixture of the two is not optimized.
There always has to be a party-pooper.
posted on 05/16/2006 12:33:01 PM PDT
To: B Knotts
"Well, it's still illegal to distill alcohol at home, something that should have been legalized long ago."
It is perfectly legal to distill alcohol at your home to use as fuel. You do have to get a permit and you do have to promise to denature (add poison to) your alcohol, but you can run a still legally as long as you are making the alcohol as a fuel and not for human consumption.
posted on 05/16/2006 12:33:39 PM PDT
To: Al Gator; heldmyw
It is not illegal to distill alcohol for use as fuel. You can do it as long as you get a permit, denature your alcohol, and don't sell it. Farmers are increasingly doing this and I bet we see a lot more individuals and businesses doing it as gasoline process continue to rise. I'm seriously considering doing it myself, both to reduce my dependence on foreign oil and to save a little money, that and I just kind of like the idea of having a still.
posted on 05/16/2006 12:39:04 PM PDT
That makes sense. There was a thread a while back about using enzimes to break up the cellulose -- so that entire corn stalks, etc. could be fermented. I wonder how the economics of that process will compare to burning the material for process heat.
I'm generally suspicious of anything that needs a government subsidy to work (beyond the initial R&D and startup phases). If people can make a profit from producing ethanol, then the onus will be on opponents to show why it isn't a good thing.
"...as gasoline _process_ continue to rise."
Should have said: "...as gasoline _prices_ continue to rise."
posted on 05/16/2006 12:40:53 PM PDT
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