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Make your own fuel.......$1.25 a gallon

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by dontoe, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Saw this company on Fox today!
    http://www.ethanolstill.com/

    Article on Fox.........





    A New Twist for the Moonshiner: EthanolMonday, May 15, 2006



    TULLAHOMA, Tenn. — The still — standard equipment of any moonshiner — has a shot at becoming the must-have accessory of penny-pinching motorists.
    An upstart Tennessee business is marketing stills that can be set up as private distilleries making ethanol — 190 proof grain alcohol — out of fermented starchy crops such as corn, apples or sugar cane. The company claims the still's output can reduce fuel costs by nearly a third from the pump price of gasoline.

    Buyers of stills need a federal permit to make ethanol on private property. In what amounts to an honor system, they are to add a poison to their homemade alcohol so it isn't white lightning.
    "We make it very clear that it is against the law to drink what comes out of it," said Shelley McClanahan, a spokeswoman for her family's business, Dogwood Energy.
    Phones are ringing with orders at the business that mostly sold pellets for wood stoves before pump prices bounced high by Hurricane Katrina focused new attention on a modified still designed by McClanahan's father, inventor-mechanic Bill Sasher.

    Since word started getting out in recent weeks about Sasher's still, Dogwood Energy has added 10 employees, McClanahan said.
    Sasher's new creekside assembly warehouse in south-central Tennessee — down a backwoods road, next door to a noisy rooster and less than 5 miles from the distillery that makes Jack Daniel's whiskey — has orders for about 45 assembled stills.
    The company is building four or five stills a day and has sold 45 in recent weeks, more than 125 since September, to meet the demand from customers ranging from small businesses to thrifty individuals.
    "You can save a lot of money. That's what this is all about," McClanahan said.
    A bushel of the fermented starch crop, mixed with yeast, water and sugar, and allowed to sit for about 2.5 days, then strained and heated to boiling, makes about 2.6 gallons of ethanol, which is then added to gasoline to produce a blended fuel.
    Dogwood Energy says it costs about 75 cents per gallon to make ethanol at home. Adding 15 percent ethanol to $3 gasoline reduces the cost of a fill-up to $2.40 per gallon, McClanahan said.
    A blend with 85 percent ethanol cuts the cost to $1.09 for a blended gallon, she said.
    Sasher's stills, which stand about 6 feet tall and easily fit in an airy garage corner, sell for about $1,400 each. Blueprints each sell for about $45 and buyers who are good salvagers can build a still themselves for less than $1,000, McClanahan said.
    Marrcus Mollenarro, a Kenosha, Wis., businessman, has bought one of Sasher's stills to make it cheaper to run his six personal and business vehicles.
    "We don't have to use oil from the Middle East. There are options," Mollenarro said
    Dubose Porter of Dublin, Ga., a state representative and editor of The Courier Herald, said the newspaper has ordered a still to help offset delivery costs.
    "The still idea is intriguing for a small company like ours," he said.
    Using ethanol to power cars isn't new. The Model T Ford was originally built to run on alcohol.
    Sasher said any modern-day car can run on a mixture of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Most vehicle engines can use blends of up to 25 percent ethanol.
    More than 30 models of new flex-fuel cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles — including General Motors' Yukon and Ford's Taurus — can use up to 85 percent ethanol, known as E85 fuel.
    McClanahan said most of her customers go to the gas pump "fill up 80 percent full and fill up the rest with alcohol."
    Her company advises its customers to check their owner's manual and consult with the manufacturers to see what blend of ethanol their cars can use. The Web site http://www.e85fuel.com provides advice, too.
    The Dogwood Energy still is one that Sasher, 57, developed by modifying designs that date to the 1970s gas shortages.
    Its great advantage is cooking the mash at just the right temperature, 170 degrees, according to John Franklin, a former engine company design engineer and educator in Evansville, Ind., who has ordered two of the stills.
    "If the temperature is too high then you are losing the alcohol. If it is too low you are not able to recover enough of that alcohol that is pure enough, that is fuel grade," Franklin said.
    "It really isn't rocket science," Franklin said. "He makes it to where it is much more automated. He does that with that mechanical temperature control valve. That is half the expense of the still. His still is much more automated and much more precise."
    Ethanol already is routinely added to gasoline in New York, Connecticut, California and the Midwest, and makes up about a third of the gas sold in the U.S., according to Kristin Brekke, a spokeswoman for the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based American Coalition of Ethanol.
    Finding E85 gas is more of a problem. The 30 or so states with public E85 fueling stations are mostly in the corn belt.
    Brekke said demand for ethanol is increasing, with about 4 billion gallons produced last year in the United States. With 97 plants producing and 34 under construction, output is expected to increase by about 1 billion gallons in 2006.
    The American Petroleum Institute, which represents the oil industry, is all for putting ethanol into gasoline but questions the wisdom of doing it yourself.
    "Normally when people fill up with gasoline with ethanol in it, it is blended by professionals," API spokesman Bill Bush said. "If we are talking about doing something other than that, by people who don't normally blend their own gasoline, that raises safety considerations."
    McClanahan said no customers have reported accidents with the stills.
    Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association that represents ethanol producers, has heard of Dogwood Energy.
    "You've got to appreciate Americans' entrepreneurial spirit," he said.
    He hasn't heard of anyone making homemade ethanol, though.
    "The only ethanol I know being made at home is still the beverage," Hartwig said.
    Brekke also doesn't know anyone using the still but she understands the motivation to buy one.
    "People just want to do something to try and make the situation better as far as gas prices," Brekke said.
     
  2. 81K5GUY

    81K5GUY 1/2 ton status

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    got reg.unleaded here this morning for $2.38 a gallon .Thats alot better than the $2.97 I was paying a month ago
     
  3. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Wow!!! [​IMG]
     
  4. DragonsBane

    DragonsBane Registered Member

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    A couple of things they may have forgot to mention. The biggest one is that both the alchohol and the gasoline need to be totally anhydrous. In other words, completely deviod of any water or the blend will seperate equal to the amount of water present. So if there was two gallons of water in the mix the two gallons of the blend will seperate. There are a couple of ways to handle the water. One is to add a small amount of benzene (really, really nasty stuff) in the mix or buy a product called zeolite which will absorb the water but not the achohol or gasoline.

    Another thing is buying the enzymes. Some of them are really expensive.

    And last for now, is the supply of feedstocks. One bushel of corn will produce about 2.5 gallons of ethanol. At the current price of around $2.35 a bushel, making your own fuel really adds up to close to the price of unleaded now.

    If you have the room to grow feedstocks the by all means go for it. Here's a start for a good read if your still interested.

    http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_manual/manual_ToC.html
     
  5. KGsK5

    KGsK5 1/2 ton status

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    or you can get a diesel and make bio diesel for even cheaper
     
  6. Citizen Rider

    Citizen Rider 1/2 ton status

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    Read more into it. What reading ive done on it, you can spend alot of money setting it up and the initial chemicals to make it. Its possible, but a few of the people i know around here have put over a grand into just the setup to make it.
     
  7. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    gas at school is $2.35. back home gas is $2.79 YIKES
     
  8. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    when they have one that will make ethanol from yard clippings and leaves they will really have something on their hands. I don't have room (or permission) to grow a corn field at my pad...

    j
     
  9. DragonsBane

    DragonsBane Registered Member

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    Actually thay do have a process that will make ethanol from grass clippings. It is called cellulistic ethanol. Don't count on getting the enzymes necessary though. Big business has that one wrapped up like a glove.
     
  10. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Im sure they would try... but this seems like the kind of thing a DIY'er might be able to pull off. Might take help from the inside... or someone who has spare lab time or whatever, but its got to be possible. IMO ethanol isn't viable as a national-scale fuel source until the start processing waste yard materials on a massive scale.

    j
     
  11. chalet2506

    chalet2506 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    If I go through all that work and cost to produce it, I'm drinking it. Last time I checked, good whiskey was at about $250/gal, gas is only about $2.50/gal.
     
  12. dontoe

    dontoe 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    [​IMG]
    If yer truck breaks down...............it's party time!!! :wink1:
     
  13. midnitewarya

    midnitewarya Sounds like a problem for future me. Premium Member

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    Amen brother. You could use the booze savings to buy gas.

    :D
     
  14. 1985_K5_Silverado

    1985_K5_Silverado 1/2 ton status

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  15. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    nothing new...

    I bought a book many years ago "How To Make Your Own Alcohol Fuels" --it has everything you need to know and then some,on how to build a stovetop still from a pressure cooker,and a 55 gallon one from used oil drums..it also has a chapter on moonshiners,and some advice on how to brew good "Alkyhol"...:D

    But after reading all the steps ,I decided the expense,hassle of finding the parts,enzymes,building it--and most of all ,the HOURS you'd spend making it,just wasn't worth it!..plus you'd have to drill out the carb jets to run straight alcohol,and make a "cold start" system that injects gas on cold mornings--alcohol wont vaporize well below 32 degrees(and its cold here for much of the year!)..so you cant use gas anymore!..

    And you'd have to file with the Alcohol,Tobaco,and firearms feds for a small producer permit,etc...and what will home brew do to your engine??--think a warranty will cover damage from your "home brew" fuels??...I know one guy who's fighting a losing battle with GM over his Duramax--he ran it on home brew biodiesel,chinese resturaunt fryolater grease,etc--and is now trying to get GM to cover the damage to his injectors and other parts!..I wish him LOTS of luck!..:rolleyes:

    All this "alternative" stuff is nice to know about,in the event we have a national emergency or something..but it will die off again,as the gas prices fall back below 3 bucks a gallon--thats the threshold the price has to be above,to make alternative fuels even considerable..does not make sence to spend MORE making it yourself,if you can BUY gas cheaper..but now that everyone knows about the alternatives,it'll be hard to keep gas prices above 3 bucks a gallon now..I bet if we ever DO go to Ethanol,it wont be any cheaper than gas is...:crazy:
     
  16. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Alcohol fuels are very dry.. no lubricity by themselves, and they'll strip the lubricity from gasoline when they're mixed, as in the case of E10 or E85.

    Not a big deal unless you like changing in - tank fuel pumps, or things like ring ridge, upper cylinder wear and valve recession.. can't forget the agression on rubber and nylon fuel system parts either.. Oh, and alcohol fuels love moisture.. I can hear the fuel lines rusting from the inside out already..

    let's see.. lower mileage and increased wear.. let's hear it for home brewed fuel. :bow:

    Tom
     
  17. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    Since the engine manufacturers don't produce the fuel, and thus can't control the fuels quality, they won't cover any damages associated with its use.. interestingly, this applies to the EPA mandated ULSD fuel as well , not just the bio - based fuels a guy might run..

    Tom
     
  18. MarcS

    MarcS 1/2 ton status

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    I wonder how many people are going to blow themselves up making this crap ??? :eek1:
     

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