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Making your own Ethanol from Sugar


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Well first there was the home ice cream maker, then home soya milk maker and now (drum roll), the home ethanol maker.

 

http://www.efuel100.com/

 

I should get paid by these companies to do their PR.

 

Now this is a good idea. Above company have invented a DIY ethanol maker, for which the main ingredient is sugar (a wise move).

 

It can also use discarded alcohol etc.

 

Here's the technology bit:

 

http://www.efuel100.com/t-technology.aspx

 

 

 

 

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Well first there was the home ice cream maker, then home soya milk maker and now (drum roll), the home ethanol maker.

 

http://www.efuel100.com/

 

I should get paid by these companies to do their PR.

 

Now this is a good idea. Above company have invented a DIY ethanol maker, for which the main ingredient is sugar (a wise move).

 

It can also use discarded alcohol etc.

 

Here's the technology bit:

 

http://www.efuel100.com/t-technology.aspx

 

How about yeast? 50pence a pack?

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Sugar is around £0.97p a kilo in the supermarkets, so £9.70 to £13.58 a gallon to produce. At 4.55 litres to the gallon, I make that around £2.13p to £2.98 a litre not including yeast and running costs - twice current petrol cost unless you can find a cheap source of bulk sugar - far from cheap.

 

USA seems to have an ethanol excise exemption policy if ethanol is produced as fuel, (up to 10,000 litres) and not too many hoops to jump through:

 

http://www.arbiofuel.com/id21.html

 

Looks like you can even sell back to the state what you don't use yourself.

 

I think distilling alcohol in the UK is completely illegal, so you'd probably have customs and excise crawling all over you if you imported one of these. Looks pretty cool, but suspect the upkeep could be fiddly and expensive.

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If you dissolve a kilo of white sugar in a gallon of water and add yeast you will get a fermentation but not all the sugar will get used, it's quite wasteful. It needs nutrients, grape juice and malt being the best. For distilling, tomato paste can be used as a nutrient but that isn't suitable for wine making. Ferment would take about a month. Turbo yeasts are quicker, as little as 3 days but needs a huge packet of specially prepared yeast.

 

They mention a membrane. I did see something on those lines in an old 'Tomorrows World' show. A type of foam that had each yeast cell held separate so the waste product of alcohol fell through the foam and was collected in a vessel, the CO2 rising upwards. Never heard any more about it, as was the case with much of the shows content.

 

afaik, getting 100% alcohol is very difficult. 96% is pretty easy with a good still but it needs a full on lab to get the last of the water out. These guys are claiming 100%. It won't be 100% for long so I really don't see the point unless their process 'accidently' gets 100%. The 100% claim is enough to have me very sceptical.

 

 

 

 

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Sugar is around £0.97p a kilo in the supermarkets, so £9.70 to £13.58 a gallon to produce. At 4.55 litres to the gallon, I make that around £2.13p to £2.98 a litre not including yeast and running costs - twice current petrol cost unless you can find a cheap source of bulk sugar - far from cheap.

 

You could of course undertake either of the following actions to offset the cost of sugar.

 

1) Wholesale large amounts of sugar from a manufacturer, which would significantly lower the user price or

2) Grow your own sugar. If you are serious about running a vehicle of any sort in the nearish future, the power to run that vehicle must come from somewhere. Hence a Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle needs a large array of solar panels to charge it up, so an ethanol vehicle needs sugar, which if you've got enough land, you could grow and process your own.

 

I think distilling alcohol in the UK is completely illegal, so you'd probably have customs and excise crawling all over you if you imported one of these.

 

Tis apparently true that you cannot distill your own spirits, only bears, ales, wine etc. So look out for the shandybass powered milk vehicle coming soon...

 

 

 

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There's a guy who started a company in Los Gatos, CA, who has a system where you turn sugar into Ethanol. It all sounded good until he mentioned it takes 12 or 14 lbs of sugar to make 1 gal of ethanol! And he didn't say how a consumer could hook up with Costco to buy bulk sugar. Doesn't seem viable to me. Rather wait a few years to get a highway-level electric car - e.g. Zenn

 

1) Wholesale large amounts of sugar from a manufacturer, which would significantly lower the user price

 

Cheapest sugar is from the supermarket. The manufacturers using 50Kg bags pay more.

 

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