Advice: Pros/Cons - Should I make my own Ethanol?

Messages
1,715
Location
Texas & BWI Area
Okay on paper this sounds really ... well cool! I make my own Ethanol in homemade Still? Here are my sites for reference: There are also links to the appropriate sites for me to get a BATF alchohol permit etc. No moonshine for me *lol* Questions: Is the BATF alcohol permit like a Class III permit...ie Federally permitted, but some states pre-empt and forbid class III weapons and explosive devices? Safety wise, is this a high risk peice of equipment? Not that is a valid comparison but I always think of grain elevator or refinery explosions and then this as a fire risk maybe? Can my FI GM 3800 gasoline engine be safely and dependably run on a 100% Ethanol fuel? What happens when I use Ethanol homemade added to gasoline already containing it? Is all Gasoline E10? In terms of ingrediants ... how much do you estimate I pay per gallon versus the sites prediction? Site using "Flextune" gauge ... .75$ a gallon? Do my rubber fuel line sections need to be changed to Stainless Steel? Perhaps somewhere I read on alchohol ... or maybe that was Xylene ... nm effect at high concentration on rubber. Thanks- http://www.ethanolstill.com/ http://www.dogwoodenergy.com/ [ May 02, 2006, 01:28 AM: Message edited by: outrun ]
 
Messages
43,667
Location
'Stralia
outrun, no disrespect intended, but with the number and type of questions, you need a lot more research into your plans. I doubt your engine would run straight ethanol, and also, home produced stuff is still pretty wet, making it unstable with petrol. I don't think it's a home endeavour, unless there's a group of people after it. I think biofuels make more sense regionalised rather than centralised.
 
Messages
1,151
Location
Clovis, CA
quote:
Can my FI GM 3800 gasoline engine be safely and dependably run on a 100% Ethanol fuel?
From what I gather, the oxegen sensor has to be changed out to one calibrated for ethanol.
 
Messages
13
Location
Detroit-ish
Not so much the O2 sensor as the engine controller. E85 is used instead of E100 to begin with for cold startability. Valve seats, fuel injectors, O-rings, fuel lines, fuel pumps, fuel tanks all need to be compatible with E85 to be usable. Otherwise you'll get leakage, swelling, etc. It's really really really really really not feasible to convert a non-FFV vehicle to run on ethanol, with or without FFV capability.
 
Messages
2,435
Location
Mizzou-land
Well I can't answer any of your questions, but when I was a kid, I couldn't afford to buy gasoline for my minibike - at least not as much as I wanted. I ran my still all summer (when it hadn't recently exploded). I have made alcohol from tomatoes, potatoes, apples, watermelon, cantalope, and corn. You either have to double distill, or you have to be very wasteful and have a fairly hot condenser. Otherwise, your true homebrew will be too wet. I could never get my Kawasaki 75 (2-stroke) to run on the stuff, but my Honda 50 (4-stroke) and a home-made briggs and stratton minibike did OK. I was never able to make a batch that was as good as gasoline. I still have the Honda.
 
Messages
2,435
Location
Mizzou-land
They both had carbs. I did not make any adjustments. They ran like crap, but they ran. Every now and then, when I added gasoline, the alcohol and gas would separate. I now known that it was due to the water in the alcohol. At the time, I thought that is was bad gas. I was only 9, but should have known better. You should have seen my homemade fireworks. The strontium from a yard sale chemistry set makes a very interesting color by the way.
 
Messages
2,435
Location
Mizzou-land
Well, I visited my Dad this past week and due to this thread I thought that I would pull the old Honda 50 out of his basment a see if it would start. When I opend the tank....rust everywhere! I got a strong scent of the still that brought back some nice memories, but 25-30 years of sitting in my Dad's basement with homemade EtOH is pretty hard on metal. Live, learn, get old... [Off Topic!]
 
Messages
2,688
Location
Elderly County, Florida
Ditto to GMorg - Years ago I made my own "fuel" and tried to run it in one of my Dad's old tractors, (1948 Case "D"). Ran very poorly even though I tried to adjust the carb and timing. Ended up with a rusty tank and a gunky carb. Tried using the "fuel" in some old kerosene lamps - it would burn but not as brightly as kerosene - although the globes didn't soot up like they do with kerosene. However, condensation would form on the insides of the globe. The whole experiment came to an end one afternoon when my still decided to explode. I can tell you this, corn mash from an exploded still will eat the paint off anything.
 
Messages
936
Location
Pittsburgh,PA
I can see a giant still in someones backyard that prompts questions from neighbors, and cries of "oh my ***!" when it explodes [LOL!] Honestly, I think it sounds like a fun project but one that wont give you good returns IMO. I mean just logistics makes it tough 1. You must mod you car pretty heavily. 2. Permit reqs 3. If you live in a non rural area, folks wont like you producing your own explosive materials in the backyard. 4. You would need alot of gear and then the supplies. 5. The quality of the product would likely be low and not of the level an engine would want. 6. Your own safety, no one wants you to hurt yourself. Even the most careful of people can be had by "random" bad luck. I am sure there are lots of people who care about you in your life, they dont want you to blow yourself across the city [LOL!] The more alcohol being produced the more dangerous it would be. Say for example 5 gallons, as mentioned before it will burn pretty clean with flames being quite hard to see. A fire breaks out and you may be surrounded by flames with no idea where to run to. And to make enough to run a vehicle you would ideally be processing alot of it, sounds dangerous. I admit you are a mad scientist at heart, just like me.
 
Messages
2,837
Location
MO
Gazing into the proverbial crystal ball I see an image.... It's becoming clearer... Yes!!!! Next project... nuclear reactor to beat the high cost of buying electricity off the grid.
 
Messages
2,435
Location
Mizzou-land
Explosions will happen. They weren't all that uncommon around my house. Some of my favorite memories are of a flame thrower that my cousin and I devised. We used it to "clean" fence rows. Luckily, 100-year-old locust fence posts don't easily burn.
 
Messages
936
Location
Pittsburgh,PA
Ever try supersoakers full of gasoline? They were alot of fun, back then me and my friends didnt think the tip of the gun would light on fire to....or that the plastic it was made of would burn quite easily. We learned this when the gun caught fire, melted, and then exploded. Oh! Filling balloons with propane was another summer hobby of mine. Its really a wonder that I have all my fingers, and eyebrows still.
 
Messages
5,722
Location
Charlotte, NC
You guys are a bunch of wimps. My teenage projects included home made cannons and the gun powder to fire them. When my mother discovered I was drying my powder on cookie sheets in her oven, she made me get rid of it. Naturally I wasn't going to flush it. I had a pint jar about 2/3 full so I punched a hole in the lid and stuck a 3' piece of dynamite fuse in it. There was an old half rotten pine stump about 100 yards out in the woods behind the house. I dug a hole in the middle of it, put the jar down as far as I could, packed it in, lit the fuse and ran back to the house. That stump was over 4' across at the ground level and 3' high. Whe it blew, the stump just disappeared. A piece of that stump big enough to do serious damage bounced off the garage roof. I later found a small hole in the roof which I repaired before my dad found out. My various projects with explosives left me with a blown out left ear drum and the tips of my right thumb and little finger missing. Looking back on it, it's a wonder I'm still alive.
 
Messages
2,435
Location
Mizzou-land
Teenager? By the time I was a teenager, I had stopped blowing things up. Girls and premature explosions didn't seem to mix well...
 
Top