The problem with bringing forth Part 4, was that we couldn’t locate an Alcohol Still with a rate of 5-10 GPH, for under $1500 Dollars. The large 4″ Reflux Flue Tower in Copper or Stainless Steel was ‘Cost Prohibitive’.
I had just come up with the ideal of using 4″ Schedule 40 PCV Plastic pipe, cooled by an inner 1/4″ copper coil water line, to keep it below it’s Maximum Operating Temperature of 140 Degrees, and to act as an alcohol separator.
As I was looking online, I found someone had already thought of it and had a working model and instructions on how to build it.
Everything you need, is here!
“Time for the demise of Big Oil. And we now have the ‘Bullet’ To Do It!”
Ethanol Production Demonstration
Oct 30, 2008
How to produce ethanol for use as an alternative fuel.
Home, small scale ethanol production.
1. The Plastic Still Fabrication and Assembly Instructions Prepared by: Jim Baker
2. • Basic Design This still is basically a Charles 803 design which produces 190 proof alcohol in one pass. The water/alcohol steam passes through a cooled chamber, the water vapor cools and drops out and the alcohol vapor passes on into a cooling chamber, liquefies and is collected.
• Materials Three inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe is used for the main body. The pipe connecting the upper and lower sections is 1 ½ inch PVC pipe. The feed throughs are ½ inch CPVC which is exactly 7/8 inch OD. CPVC cement or universal cement is used for connections.
Two part white boat epoxy that comes in a stick from Wal-Mart is useful to strengthen feed throughs.
Note: Although the PVC will hold up at the 200F temperatures, it is flexible at that temp. Support the Still so it is not subjected to any bending or squeezing. Note the mounting on the previous photo.
3. • Tools The only tools required are: 1. Drill press with a vise. 2. Miter saw 3. Rat tail file 4. Sand Paper 5. 7/8 inch drill bit 6. ¼ inch drill bit 7. 1 7/8 inch hole saw for tube into condenser.
4. • Parts The exploded view of the Still shows dimensions and the parts. All of these parts except the marbles can be purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
The marbles were found at Dollar Tree. About 5 bags for $1 each were used. Washer drain hose is great for connecting boiler to still. The hose ID is 7/8 inch.
The steam discharge nozzle should point down and be at the same level as the low proof (water) overflow. Drill enough holes in the outlet cap to equal the area of the ½ “ pipe. Put one hole in the top of the elbow so steam can go upward toward the marbles.
5. • Fabrication 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The output side of the still is on the right and the inputs on the left. This avoids interferences. Cut and drill the components first. Drill the 7/8” holes straight into the pipes and adapters. This hole size just fits the ½”CPVC.
Test the fit of the ½ “ tube into a 7/8 “ hole to ensure compatibility. Drill through the 3”x1 ½ “ bottom adapter of the condenser with a 1 7/8” hole saw to allow the 1 ½ “ pipe to pass through. You might try installing a section of 1 ½” pipe directly on the top of the adapter rather than drilling through.
Bevel the end and cement in place. The section of 1 ½ “ tube above the adapter must stay put or the condenser won’t work. Drill through the brass adapters with a ¼” drill.
This is to allow the ¼” tubing to pass through. Trim the SS shower drain plate to fit inside the 3” tube. Wrap copper tubing around a 1 ½ “ pipe to form the coils. Hold the 1 ½ “ tube and go around it with the as purchased coil. Don’t try to start with a straight piece of copper tubing.
Leave at least a 1 foot tail on each end of the coil to go through the top of the sections. Pull the finished coils out to reach bottom of sections. Leave enough space for marbles to pass through the coils in the separator.
6. Caution: Do the assembly in order or you can end up with some embarrassing situations.
1. 2. Install ½” CPVC penetrations into the 3” tubes, caps and adapters with cement. Note: do not install the ½” steam inlet tube yet. Steam Inlet: Insert the ½ “ tube through the hole in the coupling and then cement the nozzle onto the inside end.
Push the tube back out and add cement and push back in until nozzle is in the proper place. Add boat epoxy around tube on outside to strengthen connection.
3. Drain Plate: Place the plate about 3” into the bottom of the separator section and then glue in the split ring support to hold it in place. 4. Copper coil in separator: Stretch the coil to reach the plate and with the top coil below the Temperature probe penetration.
The two tails should extend above the top of the 3” tube.
5. Add the marbles up to the top coil and shake into place. Marbles must be on the inside and outside of the coils.
6. 7. 8. 9. Place the 3×1 ½ “adapter over the copper tubing tails and cement the cap in place. Cement the bottom sections in place. Assemble the Condenser section similar to the above procedures. Connect the Condenser to the Separator and finish assembly of the Still.
7. Caution: Do the assembly in order or you can end up with some embarrassing situations. • Assembly 1. 2. Install ½” CPVC penetrations into the 3” tubes, caps and adapters with cement. Note: do not install the ½” steam inlet tube yet.
Steam Inlet: Insert the ½ “ tube through the hole in the coupling and then cement the nozzle onto the inside end. Push the tube back out and add cement and push back in until nozzle is in the proper place. Add boat epoxy around tube on outside to strengthen connection.
3. Drain Plate: Place the plate about 3” into the bottom of the separator section and then glue in the split ring support to hold it in place.
4. Copper coil in separator: Stretch the coil to reach the plate and with the top coil below the Temperature probe penetration. The two tails should extend above the top of the 3” tube.
5. Add the marbles up to the top coil and shake into place. Marbles must be on the inside and outside of the coils.
6. 7. 8. 9. Place the 3×1 ½ “adapter over the copper tubing tails and cement the cap in place.
Cement the bottom sections in place. Assemble the Condenser section similar to the above procedures. Connect the Condenser to the Separator and finish assembly of the Still.
Make Your Own Fuel! Alcohol Fuel Basics
It takes some mechanical aptitude, but you can make your own fuel by fermenting appropriate feed stocks into 96 proof alcohol.
By Richard Freudenberger
What if there were a fuel that was affordable, renewable, and produced right in your own community? If you’d lived 100 years ago, you would have known all about such a fuel. It was called alcohol, and it was a clean-burning fluid generally sold as lamp fuel. Only recently have we taken a renewed look at alcohol fuel — now more commonly known as ethanol — and its potential as a domestically sourced fuel for transportation.
I’m not here to tell you about the agri-industrial agenda to produce ethanol on a massive scale. What I am going to tell you is how to make your own fuel to use in your vehicle or in other gas engines, such as a motorcycle, tiller, or lawn tractor. You can modify these gas engines to run on straight alcohol (more on engine modifications in “Run Your Car on Ethanol,” below).
If it’s produced on a small-scale, ethanol can be made from grain you grow yourself — or from a wide range of other local and sustainable feedstocks including food waste and crop culls. With a little specialized equipment and know-how, you can turn these materials into alcohol fuel, and it will cost less than you would pay at the pump for gasoline or commercially produced ethanol.
You can produce your own ethanol for an ongoing cost of less than $2 per gallon. If you grow your own corn, you can distill more than 300 gallons of ethanol from 1 acre of corn. If you drive less than 10,000 miles per year, you could produce all your own fuel from 2 acres of corn — and, granted, a lot of labor. In short, when I talk about ethanol, I’m talking about do-it-yourself fuel, and practicing local self-reliance on an individual and community scale.
Why Choose Alcohol Fuel?
One of the strongest arguments for ethanol fuel is that we can make it ourselves, with no dependence on foreign resources. In 1925, Henry Ford told a New York Times reporter that “There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.” This self-made businessman recognized the value of the American farm, and more specifically, the importance of domestically sourced materials. He envisioned farms across the country providing the crops needed to make both fuel and food.
Another reason ethanol is such an attractive fuel option is that it’s basically liquid energy. Ethanol is a clear liquid that packs a lot of energy into a usable, storable, and transportable form — only petroleum can compete with ethanol on an energy-per-volume basis. But ethanol has an added benefit in that it’s oxygenated, meaning it has oxygen in its molecular structure, which results in a cleaner burn. Compared to gasoline, ethanol emits about 20 percent less hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.
SOURCE: Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/make-your-own-fuel-zmaz10amzraw.aspx#ixzz3EFm1lfcb
“Regardless of the inherent differences between gasoline and alcohol, though, the fact is that alcohols make ideal motor fuels. The first practical internal combustion engine – patented by Nikolaus Otto in 1877 – ran on alcohol (gasoline had not been “discovered” yet), and the Model A Ford, produced from 1928 to 1931, was designed to burn a variety of fuels … alcohol being one of them.
In addition, Studebaker trucks built for export in the 1930’s (and various domestic tractors sold both in the U.S. and abroad) were offered with either gasoline or alcohol fuel systems. (Indeed, at the start of the “motorized era”, alcohol was just as common as – if not more so than – fossil fuels. But as time went on, the petroleum industry – which was organized and thus more powerful than the independent, often farm-based alcohol producers – lobbied successfully for the wholesale use of “superior” gasoline fuels.
Strangely enough, in areas where petroleum had to be exclusively imported, or during time of war when gasoline supplies were rationed, alcohol suddenly became an excellent motor fuel again … and was touted as such by the petroleum distributors who were selling it!)
Be that as it may, alcohol has characteristics that make it a natural engine fuel: It has a high “octane” rating, which prevents engine detonation (knock) under load, it burns clean … so clean, in fact, that not only are noxious emissions drastically reduced, but the internal parts of the engine are purged of carbon and gum deposits … which, of course, do not build up as long as alcohol is used as fuel, an alcohol burning engine tends to run cooler than its gasoline-powered counterpart, thus extending engine life and reducing the chance of overheating.”
– The Mother Earth News, 1980: Alcohol as an Engine Fuel
HOW TO MAKE WOOD ALCOHOL (METHYL ALCOHOL/METHANOL FUEL)
This is the easiest Alcohol Fuel to make. It requires only (3) Steps!
1) Add Wood, Wood Chips, Grass, Sawdust or any cellulose from trees or plants to Boiler/Distiller/
2) Heat to 78.3 degrees Celsius(172.94 Fahrenheit), some methods advocate between 178-179 Degrees Fahrenheit.
3) Collect distilled vapor into suitable container.
That’s it. Simple as pie!
Obtain a heat source for your distilling. This could be a fire pit or a propane or natural gas burner. You can also use an electric burner.
Mount a large pot over the temperature source. Put a thermometer in the pot to track the temperature of the wood and water mixture. The thermometer will be important for making sure the temperature of the mixture stays at the right level throughout the distillation.
Obtain a condenser tube and drill a hole in the lid of your pot that is sized to the tube. A condenser tube is a metal tube that the alcohol travels through as it evaporates. Attach the condenser tube to your lid.
Attach the other end of your condenser to an additional pot or bucket that will serve as your holding container. Ensure that this container is covered to prevent the loss of alcohol.
Place your wood shavings in to the pot and fill with water. Heat it until you reach 78.3 degrees Celsius and keep it at that temperature. As the wood breaks down, it will release alcohol into the condenser tube and slowly drip down into your holding container. You can distill the alcohol again to improve its purity.
Here is another method that adds sulphuric acid to help the wood break down faster, but is not required.
Wood alcohol is made from sawdust or cellulose from trees or plants. The sawdust is combined with sulphuric acid to create a fermenting process to make the wood alcohol. You can find more information here: http://www.journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/wood_alcohol.html
An additional warning is merited. Methanol (Methyl Alcohol) isn’t just “extremely flammible,” it’s also highly toxic to humans and was intentionally added BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT to prohibition-era beverages SPECIFICALLY TO KILL PEOPLE. That sounded totally surreal when I heard it, but apparently it’s true–read all about it:
Methanol has a high toxicity in humans. If as little as 10 mL of pure methanol is ingested, for example, it can break down into formic acid, which can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve, and 30 mL is potentially fatal, although the median lethal dose is typically 100 mL (4 fl oz) (i.e. 1–2 mL/kg body weight of pure methanol). Reference dose for methanol is 0.5 mg/kg/day. Toxic effects take hours to start, and effective antidotes can often prevent permanent damage. Because of its similarities in both appearance and odor to ethanol (the alcohol in beverages), it is difficult to differentiate between the two
[ The Chemist’s War:The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences. ]
How to Make Ethanol Fuel
Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline (petrol). The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline (petrol), although the price typically ends up being higher in the end. By using a combination of everyday food supplies and a few pieces of equipment, you can make your own ethanol fuel. The following is a guide on how to make ethanol fuel.
STEP 1) Obtain legal authorization to produce ethanol.
If you intend to produce ethanol fuel in the United States, complete and submit the following form to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB): http://www.ttb.gov/forms/f511074.pdf
If you intend to produce ethanol fuel elsewhere, request proper instructions on how to legally produce ethanol fuel from the government agency that deals with such issues in your area.
Confirm that you are legally authorized to produce ethanol fuel before continuing.
STEP 2: Add fruit to a barrel.
Obtain throwaway fruit from your local grocer or another source. Fruit that is rotten may be used in lieu of edible food.
Add fruit until the barrel is approximately 1/3 full. It is important to not exceed this amount, as the barrel may overflow during fermentation.
STEP 3: Mash the fruit with a pole or other blunt object.
STEP 4) Add water and yeast to the barrel.
Although standard yeast can be used, it is best to use ethanol tolerant yeast from a wine-making supply store.
Add 1 to 2 packets to the barrel.
STEP 5) Cover the barrel.
STEP 6) Monitor the sugar content of the barrel.
Check the sugar content daily with a hydrometer.
Over the course of approximately 10 days, the sugar content should reduce gradually until none is left.
STEP 7) Distill the mixture by using a reflux still, this can be purchased on the Internet.
Do this immediately after the sugar is gone from the mixture. Not doing so could allow materials to develop that could ruin your engine.
Put the mixture into a reflux still.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to complete the distillation process
STEP 8) Filter the mixture.
The ethanol that you are left with after the distillation process will still have a minor impurity of water inside of it. To remove this water, you need to use a specialized fuel filter that can filter the water out. These filters are made out of specially-designed fabrics that allow ethanol molecules to pass through while trapping the water.
STEP 9) Add gasoline (petrol) to the ethanol (optional).
Depending on your engine type and regulations that apply to ethanol production in your area, add the required amount of gasoline (petrol) to the mixture. A fuel that is commonly produced is E85, which is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline (petrol).
Ethanol fuel can be used in vehicles, lawnmower, chainsaws, and many other devices that use gasoline (petrol). Before using it, have any necessary alterations made to the vehicle or device to allow it to operate on ethanol.
Be sure to add the legally required mixture of gasoline (petrol) to the mixture. Pure ethanol is very similar to moonshine (alcohol) and could get you in significant legal trouble if it is not made properly.
Sources and Citations
How Ethanol Is Made Animated Feature
FlexFuel E85 bio Ethanol Conversion Kits: