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This topic is not exactly buzzing with activity. Why?
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The topic of producing biodiesel from ethanol is not exactly bringing down the house. I think biodieselers are more interested in making soap than making biodiesel from ethanol. I can't blame them. The activity here is ... well... (hear crickets buzzing?)... THIN.

I've been scouring the internet on reliable methods for making ethanol fuel. I have found small scale rough lookin' "plants" but little data or experience sharing like we have here.

Question: Where are the good sites with deep info on making ethanol fuel? Are there any? Is it so simple that no forum is necessary?

What I know: Brewing ethanol fuel is easy in theory. Warm water + sugar (lots of options here) + turbo yeast + time = 14% to 20% pure ethanol "beer." This beer is then run through a simple reflux condenser, then zeolite (micro seive to remove latent water) and you've got 100% Pure Ethanol. Where's the meaty discussions?

Okay so let's say that you've made or purchased anhydrous ethanol, what now? Can it be done? Is transesterification possible with ethanol in place of methanol? Is it feasible? How many people are successfully producing biodiesel from ethanol? What does the process look like as compared to biodiesel from methanol? I've read some discussions about needing water to remove glycerin.

During colder months, can we use safely use ethanol to lower the gel point of biodiesel without creating a problem with our diesel engines. I saw a program on the Discovery channel where some Aussie guys were traveling in a motor coach on biodiesel and they added ethanol to their tank to prevent the fuel from gelling up. Is there data on this? Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline so its suitable for higher compression engines anyway. Is my thinking way off here??

Methanol costs me $4.00 per gallon to purchase. Compared to what other biodieselers are paying, I'm getting ripped off. To get methanol, I have to drive 45 miles there and 45 miles back.

If I produce ethanol at home, I could use it to supplement my wife's daily driver fuel needs. I'm ready to get off the Exxon/Mobil/Shell/Iranian donor list.

Thanks.
 
Location: Little Elm, TX | Registered: December 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think it takes about twice as much ethanol as methanol (2 carbons vs 1).

But, otherwise it should work for making BD, and would be essentially the same as methanol based BD.

I've been wondering about the use of ethanol for lower toxicity. For example, if I was recovering food grade glycerin, then the methanol should boil off at a fairly low temperature. But, it might be best to just say it was never exposed to methanol.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Making ethanol -- HHMMM plenty of info on the web, or did you mean biodiesel made with ethanol? I did a search using "making E85" and got 77,000 websites, "making ethanol" found 430,000 sites?

This is the first E85 site, it is pretty extensive about making your own ethanol, it uses a barrel over a wood fire for the boiler, then a fairly detailed reflux columb to do temp controlled condensation of the ethanol. Even the old "barrel over a wood fire" with a coil of copper tubing will make fuel grade ethanol, the ethanol does not have to be 200 proof to use as spark ignited engine fuel, it actually burns better if it containes 7-8% water.

Read through the verious other ethanol discussions here and you will get an idea of the problems folks are having using it for making biodiesel. Some indicate they have done it repeatedly with no problems, others have intermittant success.

From past blending discussions it appears that straight vegoil will only blend with about 10% of it's volume of ethanol before the excess ethanol won't blend and settles out of the blend, the exact percent depends on temperature, I have not read about the amount of ethanol biodiesel will blend with but I suspect it is even less?

Diesel engines running on pure ethanol -- It is being done, either by simply putting a carborator on the air intake and using diesel normally as an igniter, or by converting the engine into a spark ignited engine and doing away with the diesel all together (new ethanol fueled diesel engined hybrid bus article). I have Motors Brand big truck repair manuals going back to the 1920's that show 800-1000 cubic inch 6 cylinder spark ignited truck engines that could either burn diesel injected into the cylinders, or gasoline using a caborator, these would also work fine with alcohol.

TurbinPowered said he consistantly makes ethanol biodiesel in THIS discussion, just one of many.
 
Location: fisher,illinois,usa | Registered: June 03, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Pwr6

I think the main reason that it isn't being done is the requirement to distill the mash in order to get reaction grade hootch.

Aside from accidently blowing oneself to bits, the other turn off is the BATF red tape.
 
Registered: September 26, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's a site that has good info on brewing your own ethanol, including a calculator:

http://www.theethanolsource.com/library/index.php/Special:AllCalculators

It's not quite as easy as you put it, but it's not rocket science either.

Here's some good info on building a still:

http://homedistiller.org/refluxdesign.htm

The problem with distilling ethanol in the U.S. is that you need a permit from the TTB.You can find it here:

http://www.ttb.gov/tax_audit/permits.shtml

The permit is free, and I'm pretty sure it'd be fairly easy to get, but it of course implies that you'll get the government breathing down your neck every step of the way.
Besides that, last time I made the math, making your own ethanol from corn was about $3.85/gallon, not counting time and electricity, so if you need twice the amount of it compared to methanol, that'd send the cost of your fuel right through the roof.


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

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Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's good stuff. Thanks. It's my understanding that ethanol made from sugar can be as cheap as $1.00 per gallon. Ethanol from corn requires additional processing. More $$.
 
Location: Little Elm, TX | Registered: December 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I don't really know what the alcohol yield for sugar is. The big advantage would be that you don't need to use any enzymes, so you only have to pay for the sugar, since the yeast can be reused. But remember you'd have to add the taxes for producing the ethanol, and given the kind of scrutiny you'd be under, you'd probably have a hard time avoiding the road tax for your BD also.


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
I don't really know what the alcohol yield for sugar is.


Around .6 is what is seen in wine making. So, 23 degrees brix would yield around 13.8%.


Andrew

http://biodieselcommunity.org
03 Dodge 2500 B100 homebrew
79 Rabbit B100 homebrew
 
Location: Northern California | Registered: February 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why? Because it's not an efficient way to make fuel.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Andrew: I'm sure you'll think I'm as ignorant as a brick, but...can you translate your info to, let's say, cc's per kilo?
Thanks in advance... Smile


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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bernyjb,

quote:
I'm sure you'll think I'm as ignorant as a brick


Which brick? Smile

quote:
let's say, cc's per kilo?


Sorry, I don't know exactly. It is not legal to add sugar to grape juice in winemaking Roll Eyes

I can tell you that a solution of 1 KG of sugar in 4 KG of water would yield a solution that is close to 12% alcohol. I'd guess it would be about 4.5L that you'd end up with. So, that would make it about 540mls of ethanol from the KG of sugar, if my math is right.

HTH.


Andrew

http://biodieselcommunity.org
03 Dodge 2500 B100 homebrew
79 Rabbit B100 homebrew
 
Location: Northern California | Registered: February 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes there are people making Biodiesel from ethanol. Yes there are people excited about it. I'm also not sure why more aren't posting in this forum. My guess about the lack of buzz here is that methanol is currently insanely cheap. More people should be interested in ethanol biofuels because methanol will not stay cheap forever.

There are a few of us in a Biofuels program in Pittsboro, North Carolina that are really interested in Ethanol biodiesel. I hope as we experiment with it we will all be more active in the discussion here.

Here is what my research has turned up so far:

-There are people doing research on it at the university level in Europe and the US
-It seems that 190 proof will work for virgin feed stocks. Anhydrous is needed for WVO.
-You need more ethanol than methanol (but not nearly twice as much) The Formula wight of methanol (CH30H) is 32 and the formula weight of ethanol (C2H5OH) is 46. This means you need 1.4 times more ethanol per weight, or about 30% instead of 22. This keeps the molar ratio of the reaction 6:1:1.
-You need about 10% more baseline caustic. I don't know the chemistry behind this calculation.
-The reaction should be done at about 75 Celsius as apposed to 60. Ethanol is less volatile than methanol.
-Ethyl esters have better cold flow properties, oxidative stability, etc (haven't tested these yet)
 
Registered: December 08, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Its been about 16 mths. since we were up there , but we found a commercial / farmer owned outfit that had about 3 levels of buis. to this , they had a granary on one side of the hwy , ethanol/bio-diesel processing plant on the other side of hwy and a fuel station in town .
This was in No. Dakota , we stopped by to see the operation , after some initial discussion [ they were having some issue's with protecting there new and maybe one of a kind [ then ] processing plants , that they wanted to make sure we were not just trying to use there info to compete .
Then we were able to talk for about 1/2 hr. , go back into the processing area , ended up buy about 75 gals at $2.00 gal. , some of it in fuel tank [ had #2 diesel , .2% by MN. law , added another 20% from other sources , then put in about an other 10% of there ethanol-bio ] , ran good 350 miles home .
Put some in freezer & frig to check out claims of much colder gelling [ we got a brochure that said something like 60% ethanol bio / 40% #2 , went to -50*F ] .
Everything seemed to check out .
Them some time later , took the lid off a qt. jar , half filled with there bio , got a very strong smell of alcohol , lit a match to it , got one [ only ] little blue flame for about 1 sec.
So I was a little worried about alcohol content .
 
Location: St.Paul | Registered: March 24, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Andrew. So, let's say about 1/2 liter per kilo... That's not bad at all...

quote:
It is not legal to add sugar to grape juice in winemaking Roll Eyes


Really? I didn't know that one...
Do you make wine professionally, or just for personal use?
A couple of years ago, I did a few batches of fruit wine (which is kind of a ridiculous distinction, since grapes are also fruits), not to drink (I don't like wine) but to learn the process, but in that case you need to add sugar.
I knew for grape wine you don't need to add sugar, but I didn't know there was actually a law against it...
I guess somebody didn't have much to do... Roll Eyes


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Really? I didn't know that one...
Do you make wine professionally, or just for personal use?


My family has a very small winery. I am the winemaker in training for when my step father retires.

Adding sugar is not allowed only for commercial wineries making still grape table wines.


Andrew

http://biodieselcommunity.org
03 Dodge 2500 B100 homebrew
79 Rabbit B100 homebrew
 
Location: Northern California | Registered: February 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmmm. I see... Thanks for the data. Smile


************************

"When you don't think what you say, you say what you think" Jacinto Benavente.

"Wars not make one great" Yoda.

"A pessimist is a well informed optimist"

WWVhaCwgSSdtIGEgZ2Vlay4gU08gV0hBVD8=
 
Location: Miami, Florida. | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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