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Discussion Starter #1
:welcome: Hi Guys! Of course, I'm new to the forum, but so far I haven't seen anything archived on one of my favorite Hot-Rodding subjects,making your own fuel! :D Benefits of running your ride on homebrewd Alky include: 106 Octane w/a slow burn rate(smooth,even flame front),which allows (begs for!)higher static compression ratios and(what I like most about it!),if you research your feed-stocks for fermentation, you should be able to produce 180 proof (fuel-grade), for $1.00 U.S. per gal. While there are numerous books and articles on the web these days, I was interested to see if any forum-members had experience with any "advanced methods of distillation", such as evaporator-core technology(the boiling-off of liquids under a vacume, effectively lowering their boiling point.) Seriously guys, if we don't do something, sooner or later, gasoline WILL go high enough to put our beloved hobby out of reach financially to all but the "Fairly-Well-Off". ....So,What do you guy's think?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
:thumbup: I'm widja on not much room, but I've seen some plans on some 5 to 8 gal. per hr. stills that'll fit in a 8 by 10 foot room.....Course I ain't tryed none of them yet either :confused:
 

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Hooch that can run your car or catch a buzz on for a buck a gallon, price is great for both! :thumbup: Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
:drunk: Thing is, unless you wanna pay the BATF their $10.75 per/gal. excise tax, AND make sure all your equipment is sanitary (read that:non-lethal) I think we'd be better off concentrating on fuel permited "Hooch" :mwink:
 

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While making fuel grade alcohol is a well know technology, few have been able to do it economically on a small scale. While I claim no great knowledge on the subject I did administer a fuel alcohol project back in the early 80's which was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the State of Wisconsin. Our goal was to demonstrate the viability of converting waste agricultural products, in our case cheese whey (which we have in abundance in WI and have great difficulty disposing of it), into alcohol. We built and operated a small, and relatively simple, boiler powered still in Madison, WI.

The net results were pretty dismal in terms of economic feasibility and the concept, at least to my knowledge, was abandoned after our demonstration program ended. Yes, alcohol can be produced. The trick is to do it with a reasonable amount of labor and energy inputs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
C-Boy, I appreciate any all respones like this. I'm sorry the project you were involved in did'nt work out, but that's basically the kinda info we need! I mean, the surplus Whey that you guys were using was free, didn't you say? With a free feed-stock for fermentation,maybe if you had more efficient methods for distillation, say for instance rectifier/reflux columns in addition to the boiler? Once again, thanks for the input. We can either continue to make OPEC and big oil richer, or we can do something about it.(Like maybe....drive a HYBRID! :pain:
 

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THX_138 said:
ummm ya OK...YOU drive your hybrid..
Don't get me wrong. I love motor sports. And I've been involved in building, racing and showing hot rods for more than 45 years. But I'm still 100% behind trying to find alternative fuels and alternative methods of burning those fuels that will help save our environment and our energy supply. Ideally, we can do that and STILL be able to burn the tires off the rims on occasion. Who knows, in a few more years that Hybrid might just wax your fanny at the local stop light.

Personally, I wouldn't be too quick to scoff at the things Backwoods is suggesting. Yes, I participated in a relatively failed attempt to show alcohol could be produced efficiently on a small scale. But then Thomas Edison failed dozens, actually hundreds, of times before he came up with a usable electric light bulb. We all have to stumble a few times before we get up and walk.

I just wish there were MORE people like Backwoods who are willing to dream about a future that is not tied to OPEC.
 

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I wasn't meaning to "scoff" at anyone... my apologies. I myself just ain't ready to give up my rights to use up the earth like our forefathers did. I figure we'll adjust and acclimate to whatever the future brings when it needs be... until then I'll let the experiments be done by the people with deep pockets and cement block garages.

I lived in North Florida for quite some time years ago...and I had the unfortunate pleasure to see a still go up... and I mean UP!!! There were VERY FEW pieces of the building to be found after. Luckily, no one at all was hurt.....

I do doubt you or I will live long enough to see any hybrid on the market for consumer/public sale and use that will be "waxing" anything but the showroom at the prototype office. I doubt also there will be many hybrids pulling my 35' fifth wheel around before even my grandchildren are grown and gone.

Who knows.... I may be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Cboy, thanks for all the praise there friend,(Thomas Edison, eh?....Dadgum, I don't know if I'll be able to get my head through the door. Do you know if he liked Fords or Chevies?)Honestly, guys, I wasn't so much tryin' to start up a Greenpeace rally (even if we DO all have a responsibity to try and fix this planet),I was just trying to get some of us to think about how we can fuel our rides (read that;13.8comp.,turbos,Nytrous,BLOWERS.....sorry, got a little carried away)on the cheap!If the idea of saveing some money offends somebody, I got this charity we could talk about. :drool:
 

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As C-boy pointed out, effieiency/cost effectiveness of the operation is a problem. Using "backwoods" methods just isn't practical. Might be to "roll your own" since you have "no" labor costs and might be using waste products for heat and source material (burning scrap lumber or something?). If you have to buy natural gas for heat and buy your source material, costs per gallon will go way up. But it might be cheaper than high octane fuel for a race car. The amount you need would be a problem as well -- do you have time to make it fast enough for a daily driver? Remember -- you will need about two gallons of alky to replace one gallon of gasoline. But if you tune your car for a 50/50 mix you'll still have around 100 octane... Problem there is the car's tuned for that kind of mix, and will run rich with anything else. So you have to make the conversion on a short range car, one that won't be going to far from home, or invest lots of $$$ in a multi-fuel vehicle and make your own E-85. If you can get a local fuel company to haul 55 gallons of gas at a time out to your place that would be a great idea (either a 50/50 or 15/85 mix). Applying for the tax credits for making your own fuel will help. If it's for off-road use only, you can get away without paying some of the taxes on gasoline (this works great if you're on a farm, but DO NOT get caught using "farm gas" on the street!! -- farmers don't pay all the road taxes tacked onto gas prices). Efficient alcohol production IS possible, but needs to be done on a larger scale using different techniques than can be practically utilized on a small scale. Technology has come a long way since C-boys experiment using old-school distillery. I don't know how it's done now. I'm sure a search can turn some things up.

The biggest problem is that until gasoline prices reach $4+ a gallon and stay there, it's not that cost effective to produce alcohol as a motor vehicle fuel. The government helped out a lot though by mandating 10% alcohol in all motor fuel now. That increased demand significantly last summer, which made it a lot more practical for plants to ramp up production and for more plants to be built. There's talk about possibly building a plant in my little home town in SC now. The main reason is the two largest chicken feed plants in the state are near my little home town (Batesburg, if anyone's interested). The main by-product of the proposed plant could be used as a prime ingredient in chicken feed, and the ready market nearby reduces cost of producing the alky. Plus there are enough rural farmers to feed the plant. It apparently costs more to transport raw materials and by-product than the finished alky, though a fuel pipeline and rail service is also in close proximity to the town/proposed location. Some locals were concerned about smells and such, but they were looking at old fashioned methods of making alky on the web, and not taking into account new standards for industrial plants.

There's a site that advertises free hydrogen power (can't recall URL...). The deal is you convert a vehicle to burn compressed hydrogen gas that you "make" yourself. So how's it free? They sell you a solar powered gas generator. After the initial buy-in the gas is pretty much free. The kicker is that even thought the solar cells are high efficiency and will work well even on an overcast day, it takes 2-3 days to fill a tank that will get you under 100 miles (50-70, I think). Since most commuter cars only run 20-30 miles a day, this isn't to bad for most people. But you can't run out of fuel away from home, no way to fill back up! you'd still need another vehicle. I don't know how hydrogen would run in a race car -- should be fine as long as the engine was built and tuned for it. Same with LPG and Alky -- the engine really needs to be specifically built for the type of fuel being run to get the most from it. Conversions and multi-fuel types are compromises. The computer controlled multi-fuel engines are a bit better -- the computer can re-tune as you drive for the range of fuel it's design to work with (E-85 can be mixed with any amount of straight gasoline and the car will still run good), but will be down a bit on power since it can't take full advantage of the alcohol and still be low enough compression to run straight gasoline.
 

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:D :D :D :D
it just makes me mad about those hybrid hippies
dont they understand if we all drive hybrids gas will just go up to where it still cost the same as a big displacement motor to fill up the tank?

$2.50 x 15 gallons = $37

$7.40 x 5 gallons = $37

all hybrids do is conserve fuel
 

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Gentlemen...I have deleted a couple of posts that did not contribute to the technical discussion of the use of alcohol as automotive fuel..

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
farna, I agree wholeheartedly that "Backwoods"( funny, seems I keep hearing that"phrase"? OH YEAH :eek: ,that's me :embarrass ) methods of home production of "Ethanol" is just not what any of us are interested in, but you got the ball rollin' in a good way :thumbup: .First, you had some slight errors that I'd like to address, if I may. You stated that one would need about 2 gallons of Alky to replace 1 gallon of gasoline. True figures that I have at hand were compiled by a gentleman named Marlin Davis, former Tech. Editor for "Hot-Rod" Magazine. This particular issue of "Hot-Rod" with pertinent info on Alcohol fuels was published, Oct, 1989, with the information being found back in the "Pit-Stop" section of the magazine.(Sam... if I'm fixin' to get us in trouble w/ "Hot-Rod", what with copyrights and advertising or whatever, well, do what you gotta do Buddy :sweat: )Ethanol, or "grain-alcohol", has a stoichiometric,(theoretical "ideal") air/fuel ratio of 9:1, which means 9 pounds of air to one pound of Ethanol. Gasoline, as we all remember, would theoredically be "ideal" at or about 14.7:1, thus,in theory, we would need about 63-percent more( a little more than half again as much)Ethanol to fuel the SAME engine. I'll get back to "truly" modifying an engine for making the most of the ethanol fuel in a minute. Stay with me, it'll get better :D Anyways, the way a fuel is determined to be a potential energy source,is we use the British Thermal Unit. Ethanol's Btu. rating(the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1 degree F. ,is 12,800Btu/lb. This figure does not compare very favorably to gasoline's 20,700-Btu/lb.,but once metering circuits and accel. pump modifications have been made (to a carberator), or recalibrating the EFI by means of a custom chip or a little time with the laptop , then the numbers for Btu's(read that "heat"),(No, read that " HorsePower!), are about the same, w/ a small edge going to Ethanol,w/ 1422 Btu's released per pound of air consumed gasoline's 1408 Btu/lbs. of air. And the re-calibration, if Mr. Marlin Davis' figures were correct,(and I believe them to be. I don't have a copy of this one , but if you can find a copy of "Brown's Second Alcohol-Fuel Cookbook", I believe Mr. Brown will back it up for us), the recalibration of a carburator orifice will look something like 60% over original, or 1.6 times the existing hole for gasoline. DON'T confuse Ethanol with Methanol. Methanol is what the Indy-car boys and N.H.R.A. "Sanctioned" alky ranks have run for years. By all authority, it's supposed to be cheaper to make (out of coal or natural-gas)but it's heat numbers are even worse, about 6.4:1,stoichometric. I'll bet that's the Alky you were thinkin' bout haveing twice as much of? Anyways , now for some fun stuff. Nowdays, most people build their "street" engines w/ no more than 9 , maybe 9.5 static compression. You might get by with a little more compresion with a great big over-lap on the cam. Then, whatdaya got? An ill tempered old broad, to say the least. No Vacume. And still on the border-line of detenation and over-heating all the time. And that's on HIS MAJESTY'S ROYAL 93 OCTANE. This nice ,slow buring, 106 octane(@ least 180 proof) that I'm proposing to distill myself just absolutely LOVES 13.5,14, even on up to FIFTEEN to ONE STATIC COMPRESSION. This is where Ethanol really starts to shine.Home-distilled ethanol for a daily driver?....with all that compression? Was a time when I'd have said no way, but now, with the advent of "E-85" on the scene,(basically 85 % Ethanol, 15% gasoline). you could, in theory, do an emergency top-off w/ E-85. You could run it all the time and reap all the benefits, except one. E- 85, in my area, when you can find it, is about as high as mid-grade (89 octane)........which brings me back to where I was all along...trying to save some money.If anyone out there has any access to the chart and graph tables that can be used to figure out the boiling points of certain liquids while under a vacume,(evaporator-core technologies), please post it. .....Yes, Farna, as I stated in the first of this post, I agree with you, old schooling a simple pot boiler w/ a 3/8 copper coil or "worm" off the top for fuel, well ....let's just say those type stills are better left to the part time "Beverage" producers. No I'm looking more along the lines of Twin 10" Rectifier-Reflux Columns feeding an 8 gallon per hour Liquid CO2 filled Heat-Exchanger/Condensor, I just need some help figureing the boiling/letdown temps @ around 20" neg. pressure. If anybodies following me and can help w/the info, I'll build the still, document it,and post the plans for free. What more could you ask for? Later,B.W.B.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
:thumbup: Ohh, Hey my buddy mynuffinfutsitch, :mwink: hey man, all that "Hybrid" this, and "Hybrid" that" talk was just a joke.lol. I don' thank we be'in invaded or nuttin'.But me and you'll be ready foe em, won't we cuz? :boxing:
 

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hell yeah :thumbup: , my next car i want is a big block 3rd gen (beater) camaro with BB 2xtra heads that has high compression to use E85, cant forget racing cam ;), already know where to get short block big block, finding a third gen is nothing and where i work at i might be able to get some cheap used bb 2xtra heads and racing cam
then i will pull up to a hybrid and scare the poop out of them
"OH no hes making to many emissions!!" :D :D
then i will cut them off and make there cheap designed cars wreck :evil:

by the way i live in the south, people are too poor here to drive new cars, so most people drive beaters that either run too rich or lean (from the smell)

but i like E85 cause of the 106 octane rating,but we dont have it were i live yet,

yall seen the new Carcraft? 600 horseys from E85 and blower, good cylinder heads etc. thats crazy from a small block
 

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One other thing to remember about ethanol is it is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from the air.

The rate probably depends on temperature and relative humidity, but for at least long-term storage, you are supposed to keep Ethanol in sealed containers.

Not saying this is "good" or "bad" - just something to keep in mind when thinking about ethanol production and use.
 
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