Who make their own ethanol? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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wavetrain75
11-07-2012, 20:38
I know a small still is not that hard to make.

Anyone brewing their own gas and care to tell me what you've learned?

Scott3670
11-07-2012, 20:40
I'm not a chemist, but ethanol and gasoline are vastly different compounds. And I don't even think you can even brew your own gas.

wavetrain75
11-07-2012, 20:42
OK, OK, Anyone brewing their own ethanol?

HollowHead
11-07-2012, 20:49
OK, OK, Anyone brewing their own ethanol?

I believe that one distills (not brews) ethanol, and distilling is illegal on the federal level. HH

wavetrain75
11-07-2012, 20:54
I believe that one distills (not brews) ethanol, and distilling is illegal on the federal level. HH

Producing (whatever the right term is (freakin grammar nazis anyway)) ethanol for private use in a vehicle is legal with a federal permit.

JMarch
11-07-2012, 20:55
I believe that one distills (not brews) ethanol, and distilling is illegal on the federal level. HH
not for fuel :D

czsmithGT
11-07-2012, 20:56
I'm not a chemist, but ethanol and gasoline are vastly different compounds. And I don't even think you can even brew your own gas.

cars can easily be made to run on ethanol

HollowHead
11-07-2012, 21:00
cars can easily be made to run on ethanol

Straight ethanol? HH

czsmithGT
11-07-2012, 21:02
Straight ethanol? HH

E85 is typical but E100 can work, probably not as well unless you have a racing engine.

Scott3670
11-07-2012, 21:13
I believe that one distills (not brews) ethanol, and distilling is illegal on the federal level. HH

Actually I think you can distill your own alcohol as long as the yearly quantity is small (5 gallons?) and you do not sell it or give it away. Kind of similar to making your own wine or beer at home. Check with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (what a truly stupid name) for more information.

HollowHead
11-07-2012, 21:35
E85 is typical but E100 can work, probably not as well unless you have a racing engine.

If I'm not mistaken, E85 is 15% ethanol. Is E100 pure gasoline? HH

czsmithGT
11-07-2012, 22:34
If I'm not mistaken, E85 is 15% ethanol. Is E100 pure gasoline? HH

E85 is 85% ethanol. E100 is 100% ethanol- used in Indy Car racing. Top alcohol dragsters use methanol.

TKM
11-07-2012, 23:05
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E85

jp3975
11-07-2012, 23:13
Actually I think you can distill your own alcohol as long as the yearly quantity is small (5 gallons?) and you do not sell it or give it away. Kind of similar to making your own wine or beer at home. Check with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (what a truly stupid name) for more information.

Nope. You can make a certain amount of beer and wine but not hard alcohol. According to the ATF, you can legally own a still no larger than one gallon and you have to use it for water purification or to extract essential oils from plants.

That said...the law isnt really enforced on home brewers.

Out of novelty and bordom once...I made a still out of a milk jug and aquarium hose. Just drilled a hole in the milk cap with my pocket knife and superglued the hose in the cap. Filled the jug with home made wine and put it in boiling water. After a bit...half a water bottle of ethanol.

goldenlight
11-07-2012, 23:43
Producing (whatever the right term is (freakin grammar nazis anyway)) ethanol for private use in a vehicle is legal with a federal permit.

The highest purity that can be attained with distillation is 95% ethanol, and 5% water.

And, he doesn't have a permit.

He just announced on a public forum that he is violating Federal law.

Dibs on guns and optics.

JimmyN
11-08-2012, 04:29
Before I moved here 20 years ago my neighbor at the time produced fuel alcohol for farm use. It powered two tractors, a large mower, heat for the chicken house, etc. He grew Great Western sugar beets for the fuel source, so nothing else was needed. Just pulp them up and add a couple cups of mash from a previous batch and mix it in. The hogs ate all the mash after a run so he got the alcohol out first, and still used the mash as a feed.

It required an ATF permit, and random inspections if they chose to do so, and they did a few times. If you're making fuel alcohol, then anything other than what is currently coming out of the still has to be denatured. They better not catch you with a 5 gallon can of alcohol that hadn't been poisoned in some fashion to render it undrinkable. In Virginia it also required a permit from the state, and at the time a $5,000 bond.

If you plan to use it for driving on government owned roads then you get into the road tax issue. That's why he didn't fuel any road vehicles, only farm use, so didn't have to maintain records on gallons consumed and make road tax payments. I forget what it was then but currently in VA I think it's .42 a gallon road tax. The Federal is .18 and the rest is State/Local.

Alcohol requires more fuel volume than gasoline, so he increased the jet sizes in the carburetors to run alcohol rather than gas. 80% alcohol made a good fuel mix, and could be achieved with just two passes through the still.

I probably should add a little health/safety tip. Although I don't condone anyone distilling their own spirits for consumption, I'm also well aware of human nature and know that people are going to try it. So just to keep anyone from poisoning themselves there is something you should keep in mind. Methanol has a lower boiling point than ethanol. When you start a run the first condensate out as the mash increases temperature will have a high percentage of methanol. Initially it will actually smell more like paint thinner than alcohol. You have to discard the first portion, the head, then keep the heart which is the bulk of it, and then discard the higher temperature tail on the end of the run which will also have some undesirable compounds. If you're making fuel alcohol it doesn't matter, you keep everything from the run.

That's why moonshine whiskey has the reputation of making you go blind. If they don't understand the danger and keep the head, heart, and tail of the run to maximize output it will have a lot of methanol in the final product. It may be closer to denatured alcohol than it is to whiskey.

Dennis in MA
11-08-2012, 07:27
Ethanol, no. But according to my wife, I've got methane production cornered in my neighborhood.

vikingsoftpaw
11-08-2012, 18:20
I know a small still is not that hard to make.

Anyone brewing their own gas and care to tell me what you've learned?

Alcohol is expensive to make. Much more so than buying gasoline. If you are raising your own grain you could cut down the cost.

Remember you still need some fuel to boil the fermented mixture for distillation.

c01
11-08-2012, 18:34
Use a temp gauge and correct for altitude. Easy to know what is being produced.

D

jp3975
11-08-2012, 18:48
Alcohol is expensive to make. Much more so than buying gasoline. If you are raising your own grain you could cut down the cost.

Remember you still need some fuel to boil the fermented mixture for distillation.

Wood can generally be had for free, but id prefer electricity.

czsmithGT
11-08-2012, 18:49
The highest purity that can be attained with distillation is 95% ethanol, and 5% water.



This is a good point. Hydrous ethanol can be used alone as fuel in a properly modified car but it doesn't play well mixing with gasoline. Most E100 is now made by dehydration of 95% ethanol via use of molecular sieves.

NOLA_glock
11-09-2012, 14:08
A little bit of benzene allows a near 100% anhydrous ethanol distillate. Definitely no drinking it then — still some benzene remaining in the distillate.

ETA: In organic chem labs, we'd typically use silica gel or magnesium sulfate (dehydrated epsom salt) as drying agents to remove residual water from an organic solvent. Not sure exactly how efficient it is, or what type of an effect it would have on an engine in the event that some remains in the ethanol.