1. The Topic of the Month for October is "Make this the Perfect Bugout Location". Please join the discussion in the TOTM forum.

Ethanol Still

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Quigley_Sharps, May 23, 2008.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    If I understand all I know, the engine will need some heavy mods to avoid damage at E85 and E90 levels. Lots of internal parts are susceptible to corrosion damage. Ethanol is (IIRC) hygroscopic, and will promote rust as well as dissolving some gasket materials. I know nothing (yet) about the bio-diesel mix. FWIW, there are a couple outfits making diesel motorcycles, at least one is past the prototype stage.
  3. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    I don't know how they are going to get around the law against having a grain alcohol still, they are still busting them in East Texas. There will be a lot of happy farmers if it is allowed. Yes, ethanol will dissove carb o-rings and other stuff in old english cars, this I know. It does not produce as much energy as gas.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Yep, old English as well as anything currently produced that is not specifically labeled as OK for E85. Not so labeled, E10 is about as far as you dare to go. Correct also on the lower energy, but probably not too noticeable if not dyno-ed. [beer]

    What I've read recently indicates some success with starting on regular fuels and switching tanks on the fly to the ethanol fuel. You have to also switch back to the regular fuel on shutdown as well to limit cranking on the next startup. Especially so with biodiesel on currently operating equipment. As things progress, I expect to see designs that won't need that extra step. [boozingbuddies]
  5. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    A "still" is a "still"; alcohol boils off at 170F,water at 212F, watch the temp, condense the vapors,to separate the two. The first few minutes are the lightestmost volatile molecules: (i.e. TOXIC CHEMICALS) ,called "fusils", useful for carburetor cleaning only.
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Running a still to make alcohol for drinking isnt exactly illegal, its kind of like cals 3 firearms, if you pay of the gov (taxes to the ATF) then your fine, if you dont they send in the swat teams. Thats how we get whiskey and such from manufacturers, they pay off...errr pay taxes to the gov for permission. Running the ones for ethanol for fuel IIRC you dont have to pay taxes on IF you only produce so much each year, dont sell it AND you HAVE to use poison they provide to add to the ethanol so it will kill you if you drink the alcahol they didnt get their cut on.
  7. zarraza

    zarraza Survivalist in training

    i was thinking about a still to do "double duty" when SHTF - the primary duty would be to distill WATER to purify it for drinking - would this still do that ya think?
  8. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    A still will distill water it is just two flasks and a condensor (~$100 on ebay for a nice setup) Heat one side to the boiling point of what you want to distill. It will turn to vapor, and rise up into the condensor. In the condensor it turns back to a liquid and falls into other flask. The condensor must be colder than the boiling point.


    If you grow botanical herbs, you can use it to distill the essential oils from the herbs, thus concentrating them.

    For alcohol making, you cook the mash and then ferment it then you distill it. Making beer or wine is the same except you don't distill. Thus you have 2-10% alcohol content, when you distill is when you get the fire water. Distilling requires ATF paperwork and a kickback as monkeyman stated.

    Yes alcohol is extremely hygroscopic, in fact it's nearly impossible to remove 100% of the water. You have to use benzene to do so. Also it's flash point is 55 degrees F

    The boiling point is 173 F but IIRC that is at sea level. For methanol the BP is 149F the BP drops off rapidly if you lower the vapor pressure (use a vacuum) Methanol can be used to boost octane in gasoline or antifreeze.

    Just remember if the water is contaminated with something that boils at a lower temp than the water, the contaminant will still be in your distilled water. To get rid of most of these toxics, heat to just below water boiling point with flask open to air, they will evaporate out. Then connect the condensor and distill your water.

    "If you mix in 10% soy bean oil, it becomes bio diesel. " This is flat out WRONG.
    Biodiesel is defined as mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats

    That is correct Alochol does not have as much energy as gasoline. That is what grinds my gears about the E80 crap. You pay more for it, and get less gas mileage. LOSE LOSE for the consumer, win win for the manufacturer.

    The big deal with ethanol manufacture is using some non food source of carbohydrate to ferment, like switchgrass. This is difficult because there isn't much fermentable sugar in switchgrass like there is in corn, however you can use enzymes to degrade the cellulose and lignin to fermentable sugars.
  9. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Sorry A correction, a soxhlet extraction apparatus works the best to remove components of a solid material e.g. removing and concentrating essential oils.
    It works on the same principle as a still though.
  10. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    When I lived in Wis. they add ethenol to the gas and some air cooled where sezing up do to exsesive heat. This what I heard from different people, I never saw one though. [dunno]

  11. Curium

    Curium Monkey++

    In ran alcohol in my 2-stroke oil injected Susuki 500 (old). I had to change carburator gaskets to neoprene, also gas lines and it dissolved the liner in the gas tank causing the tank to leak a little.
    Other then that it ran fine.
  12. hawkfeather

    hawkfeather Monkey+

    alchol --- anyway you turn it a still is illegal if you don't jump through ALL the hoops (taxes and lic.) uncle puts before you. here in eastern NC we have some fine moonshiners but we still ran the brew through a column (reflux) still to get it hot enough to run right. about 170 proof runs just fine in a vw bug of about 120 hp.
    legal matters are the reason I now run a nice little (140 gal.) biodiesel rig.
    processed right (with acid, meth. alc. and lye) and run through a dry clean tower it makes GREAT fuel for car, truck, house (heat) anything #2 fuel oil works in.
  13. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    A while back I posted a link to info on obtaining DVD copies of all back issues of Mother Earth News magazine. I know for a fact they have full sets of plans for different sized Alcohol Stills for fuel production. The whole thing was discussed in detail on a layman level... heck, I even understood most of it.
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary