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Bio/ethanol blend?
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I just returned from David Blume's "Ethanol Can Be a Gas" workshop in Nashville and was very interested in his suggestion that we can run a diesel engine on a biodiesel/ethanol blend. Diesel and ethanol don't mix well, separating with little settling time. On the other hand, adding some biodiesel will cause the ethanol and diesel to mix beautifully. He indicated that without question, you could mix 50/50 ethanol/biodiesel and run it in any diesel engine. But, what about power? I'm assuming that ethanol has a rather high octane and therefore a low cetane rating. Could you make up for the cetane loss with additives?

Any ideas on testing cetane in the field (basic lab)?

There seems to be a growing movement to make ethanol at home much in the same way we make biodiesel. There are lots of waste products to use as a feedstock (in the same way we use WVO) and lots of high yield crops (like some biodiesel folks grown sunflower and other crops). I'd like to put together an integrated operation to include biodiesel, ethanol and electricity (by a generator running on biomass gasification). The elements are all there. Just need to put together the pieces.


2002 F-250, 7.3l on WVO since '04
'82 VW Rabbit diesel 1.6l na
'83 GMC 6.2l Class C RV
'85 F-350, 6.9l flat bed
'85 E-350, 6.9l cube van
2 Mercedes 300SD's
3 Chinese Changfa-style diesel generators- 12kw, 8kw & 7.5kw
Mitsubishi 3 cyl diesel generator/light tower
Kubota 2 cyl. diesel, water cooled air compressor
Onan 12.5kw air-cooled diesel genset
I run my company entirely on renewable energy including electricity from generators running on biofuels.

 
Location: El Dorado, Ark | Registered: July 04, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just read of one farmer who successfully ran his tractor on a 80% ethanol and 20% vegetable oil blend. Using heat from other processes or engine coolant to drive the distillation and using "free" feedstock from various locally sourced wastes, ethanol production could cost less than buying methanol and caustic.


2002 F-250, 7.3l on WVO since '04
'82 VW Rabbit diesel 1.6l na
'83 GMC 6.2l Class C RV
'85 F-350, 6.9l flat bed
'85 E-350, 6.9l cube van
2 Mercedes 300SD's
3 Chinese Changfa-style diesel generators- 12kw, 8kw & 7.5kw
Mitsubishi 3 cyl diesel generator/light tower
Kubota 2 cyl. diesel, water cooled air compressor
Onan 12.5kw air-cooled diesel genset
I run my company entirely on renewable energy including electricity from generators running on biofuels.

 
Location: El Dorado, Ark | Registered: July 04, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why is ethanol soluble in gasoline but not diesel? Obviously if there is any water it wont be soluble very long. About as long as it takes for the alcohol to absorb water and seperate!

I would think that if there is a small amt of water (i dont know) that no matter what, alcohol will eventually seperate from bio or diesel or gas.

Maybe need to do some tests.

Also. making BD is way easier thn making etoh. Way easier. I dont know of anyone making etoh in a home setting unless they are drinking it. Especially using cellulosic materials and enzymes. Where did you get that from?

BTW, unless you got govt funding and free electricity or a boiler running off your cut wood, you aint gonna make etoh cheaper than bio. I even go as far as saying that 1 acre of corn will produce more energy in veg oil than etoh. I amy be wrong but I think im right. And, no I dont have any proof, do any of you.


02 duramax, bio since 04/08
 
Location: St Pete Florida | Registered: December 29, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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For sure, the steps of making bio are easier than ethanol. But, what if the Arabs decide to turn off the valve on our oil and gas supplies and the cost of methanol goes through the roof? I want to have options available including making biodiesel using ethanol (in lieu of methanol), blending ethanol and WVO or whatever we can do to produce domestic fuels on a small scale.

To me, it is also about using various waste sources for fuel. The whole idea appeals to me.


2002 F-250, 7.3l on WVO since '04
'82 VW Rabbit diesel 1.6l na
'83 GMC 6.2l Class C RV
'85 F-350, 6.9l flat bed
'85 E-350, 6.9l cube van
2 Mercedes 300SD's
3 Chinese Changfa-style diesel generators- 12kw, 8kw & 7.5kw
Mitsubishi 3 cyl diesel generator/light tower
Kubota 2 cyl. diesel, water cooled air compressor
Onan 12.5kw air-cooled diesel genset
I run my company entirely on renewable energy including electricity from generators running on biofuels.

 
Location: El Dorado, Ark | Registered: July 04, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If there is one thing the united states has is methane, lol. But seriously. I dont think we get much NG from anywhere else. Im pretty sure we produce almost all we use.

If as you say, thats the case, Id convert to veg oil and plant corn or something like that. If I was going to produce etoh itd be for drinking, lol.


02 duramax, bio since 04/08
 
Location: St Pete Florida | Registered: December 29, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You are right... the US is the "Saudi Arabia" of natural gas. However, we do import some. I've worked at the terminal on the Gulf where it comes in. Hard to believe we bring it in. Actually, the Arabs have so much natural gas they sell it for little more than the transportation cost to get it here.

One of my passions is making the local landfills unnecessary. Just about everything in there could be used (recycled) elsewhere. Lots of stuff that ends up in the landfill could be used to make ethanol, just like folks used to throw out veg oil.


2002 F-250, 7.3l on WVO since '04
'82 VW Rabbit diesel 1.6l na
'83 GMC 6.2l Class C RV
'85 F-350, 6.9l flat bed
'85 E-350, 6.9l cube van
2 Mercedes 300SD's
3 Chinese Changfa-style diesel generators- 12kw, 8kw & 7.5kw
Mitsubishi 3 cyl diesel generator/light tower
Kubota 2 cyl. diesel, water cooled air compressor
Onan 12.5kw air-cooled diesel genset
I run my company entirely on renewable energy including electricity from generators running on biofuels.

 
Location: El Dorado, Ark | Registered: July 04, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I have not tried any bio/eth blends yet but have done some testing with eth/veg - 80% ethanol/20% veg blend - From my testing the 20% veg is a bit iffy, I have been testing similar blends for a chainsaw (only blew one rod so far). I find that you can only get around 10% veg to reliably stay dissolved in ehanol or even E85, much more than that and you end up with veg laying on the bottom of the container, the actual percentage depends on temperature, warmer holds more veg, colder less. Still not sure if 10% veg provides enough lubrication for my old chainsaws? This same lubrication problem would worry me concerning the longevity of a diesel engine's Injection Pump?

Also tried mixing E85 and normal chainsaw oil, all the oil drops out of this blend in just a couple minutes, also tried blending with Used Motor Oil, it not only drops out of the blend but the UMO gells solid in a few hours, Methanol gells it almost instantly.

Todd - If only it were easy - all the processes you mention take a LOT of time as well as heat, if you can devote at least 12 hours/day (probably 7 days a week) to the operation you might break even (not even counting any labor cost). If your feedstock is a starch product like from corn, potatoes, potato skins, old bread, etc., it takes a LOT more time, money, and energy to get it to ethanol due to the extra starch-to-sugar steps plus the cost of the Amalayse enzymes needed to convert the starch to a short chain sugar.

If you can start with a sugar, like from sugar cane, sugar beet, mesquite beans, carob, you might almost break even depending on the cost of transportation and the distillation heat, you usually need to boil the water/suger mixture for several minutes before adding yeast to kill any molds or/and bacteria that would compete with the yeast, takes a LOT of heat to boil even 50 gallons of sugar water.

Cellulose conversion is NO WAY practical yet, this has MANY steps to convert the cellulose to starch, then to long sugars, then to short sugars, then to ethanol/water/yeast, then distill to ethanol, maybe get a 3-5% yield and have a lot of toxic waste to deal with from the first acid conversion step of the cellulose (enzymes are under development to replace the acid process, LOTS of university grant money going here). More practical to burn the cellulose directly for your process heat, being done with corn stover (corn stalks mostly, they seperate out the cobs to sell for other uses, cosmetics mostly) in some ethanol plants.

Distructive distillation of wood/biomass can be done but it does not look like something for an individual to try. I read about a new distructive distillation plant being built in central Texas to convert Mesquite bush to ethanol (LINK), they claim as high as 200 gallon of eth/ton of mesquite and several ton of wood per acre, I think this is WAY too high from what I have seen of central texas, they also claim it is a renewable source, yes, if you wait the 30 years it takes for Mesquiote to grow back. they could harvest the mesquite beans EVERY YEAR and distill about the same amount of ethanol/acre with a much simpler process.

There are several past ethanol discussions on these foruma and in the archives. Ethanol discussions are HERE, about using stale bread and whey, about making E85, how to make ethanol.

I have a few friends that have experimented with making ethanol, it can be done but not economically even with free feedstock due to various ancillary costs of heat, transportation, water, etc. One farmer was using his own corn and it was still cheaper to buy E85 at the pump.

I sold a couple big custom barrel funnels to an ag professor at the Univ of Illinois, he is the only one I have spoken to that made hundreds of gallons of eth from corn, he had converted his motor home to straight eth, loved it, never saw so much power. BUT - his student labor, corn, and energy were all supplied free by the university as was his process space and a superb big 150 gallon commercial copper still..

Myself and a few friends have built wood gasifiers for testing, these can work but takes a good bit of maintenance and again, a LOT of time. Prepping the wood as to size and dryness is the most time and space consuming part, also a good bit of decrudding of the engine due mainly to moisture and tar, stuck valves have been a common problem for us once the engine is turned off and cools down.

This links to one past gassifier discussion. Duelfuel seems to have the most knowlade about these on this forum, he is running a couple gasifiers I think and updates there design pretty regularly, search his name on the forum, mostly in the "Other energy options" and/or "renewable energy" sections of this forum.

I and friends have also played with small steam engines to produce electricity, actually works and is about the most reliable so far (well, gasifier works too and can make a lot more electricity for the same effort), still takes a lot of time and maintenance. I am also slowly looking into using solar power for an "organic rankin cycle" type steam engine, This discussion of that idea has a few pictures of the small water steam engines we built from converted air compressor pumps and York auto refrig pumps.

Then there is always TURPENTINE DISTILLING, this is hundreds of years old technology and the Turpentine could fuel both diesel and low compressioned spark ignited engines, did it for years before cheap petrofuels cam along.

I also just planted a few Jatropha seeds on my S. Arizona place, eventually the jatropha tree seeds could be burnt directly in a corn stove and should produce a lot more heat due to the much higher oil content. Only get around 150 G/acre of oil from densely spaced Jatropha bushes/trees (10 ft grid) so producing oil from a small acerage this way does not seem practical, should make nice shade eventually though, still evaluating this. I already have a few 15 ft tall Mesquite trees to play with, plus they cover vast amounts of local BLM land. The BLM land also supports LOTS of wild mustard, just coming up now.

Really not trying to be negative, just realistic, even if you pick just one of the mentioned projects it will eat up a lot of time developing it and even more to daily operate the process.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tim c cook,
 
Location: fisher,illinois,usa | Registered: June 03, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
what if the Arabs decide to turn off the valve on our oil and gas supplies

Then the 1/3 imported from the Arabs would come from the countries where the US gets 2/3s of it's oil; Mexico, Canada, Nigeria, etc...
http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil.../current/import.html
The amount of oil imported from the Arabs roughly equals the amount of oil used by the military, which is required of course, to ensure that the oil from the Mideast keeps flowing. It's an ironic balance
quote:
small steam engines to produce electricity, actually works and is about the most reliable so far
You got that right. You can feed just about anything combustible into the firebox to raise steam, and the 'waste' steam from the engine can heat your house, greenhouse, shop.....

The small steam engines sold for boats work well for electricity co-generation.

Unless one has a lot of waste feedstock and 'free' energy, then ethanol is much less efficient than biodiesel. I can't see any advantage to adding ethanol to biodiesel as a fuel. The energy used to make ethanol would be better spent to get more VO feedstock.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One can certainly make biodiesel out of either Ethanol or Methanol. However, since alcohol is one of the more expensive components of the biodiesel, and one can make about twice as much biodiesel per gallon of methanol than ethanol, people usually choose the methanol.

Several manufacturers have been experimenting with Ethanol blends in Diesel engines.

http://www.e95.eu/
http://www.bsr.se/images/upload/BEST-2-2008-Juni.jpg
http://green.autoblog.com/2008...el-engine-in-brazil/

And a related discussion on this BBS:

http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/ev...51014871/m/137104422

I believe that the conclusion was that adding some bio/diesel aided the ignition and lubricity of the ethanol.

Tim C Cook has experimented with E85 in a 2-cycle gasoline engine. I think the conclusion was that the E85 doesn't mix well with 2-cycle engine oil, and thus has problems. It mixed much better with biodiesel or vegetable oil, although I'm not sure about the long-term usage of the mix.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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