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banquo's_bumble_puppy
2008-Jun-06, 05:35 PM
Not that I condone or suggest this- but is illegal moonshine viable as auto fuel? Could people make their own fuel at home from scrap biowaste?

NEOWatcher
2008-Jun-06, 05:41 PM
Ethenol as a fuel? Brilliant.

Actually; I've heard that it is completely legal as long as you render it undrinkable. (add some gas or something)

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2008-Jun-06, 05:44 PM
so in a word or two ....duh oh? wonder how many people are making it for fuel///

NEOWatcher
2008-Jun-06, 05:55 PM
Here; I found you some details.
Fill'er Up - With Moonshine (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/18/eveningnews/main1726717.shtml)

100 Gallons of mash yields 10 gallons ethanol
at least 190 proof... virtually undrinkable.

I also wonder about different methods of boiling and cooking mash. That might negate any savings depending on the fuel used.

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2008-Jun-06, 06:03 PM
scrap wood to cook the mash with???

NEOWatcher
2008-Jun-06, 06:11 PM
scrap wood to cook the mash with???
Yep; that's why I said it depends. But; as I have experienced, and was once told, "there is no free firewood." (refering to the labor and other related costs in gathering, cutting, chopping, aspirins, etc)

danscope
2008-Jun-06, 06:14 PM
HI, Brazil has been doing it for quite some time, and much improved their balance of payments. And they made a nice little auto industry for themselves as well. Brilliant !!!! Your inquiry has a solid and proven foundation.
No question.
Best regards,
Dan

NEOWatcher
2008-Jun-06, 06:17 PM
HI, Brazil has been doing it for quite some time
But the difference is scale. You can gain a lot of efficiencies if it's done on the scale that Brazil does. But; there's only so much you can do with a backyard still.

danscope
2008-Jun-06, 06:17 PM
As far as wood goes, you tool up for it. Chopping wood went out with
the Mongolfier's balloon. Up here, we use log slpitters, and 30 inch circular saws. Efficiency; that's what it's all about.
Keep your powder and your wood dry.
Dan

HenrikOlsen
2008-Jun-06, 07:24 PM
And you run those on electricity from a generator run on your own moonshine?

cjl
2008-Jun-06, 09:40 PM
As far as wood goes, you tool up for it. Chopping wood went out with
the Mongolfier's balloon. Up here, we use log slpitters, and 30 inch circular saws. Efficiency; that's what it's all about.
Keep your powder and your wood dry.
Dan
If the goal is energy efficiency, rather than time efficiency, I can guarantee you that chopping it by hand is more efficient than either log splitters or circular saws.

drainbread
2008-Jun-07, 01:36 AM
HI, Brazil has been doing it for quite some time, and much improved their balance of payments. And they made a nice little auto industry for themselves as well. Brilliant !!!! Your inquiry has a solid and proven foundation.
No question.
Best regards,
Dan

They're using sugarcane, it's a perennial grass that has an extreamly high sugar content(duh), ethanol is made by a process of the sugar breaking down into alcohol using yeast(simlified, not going into detail)... it's damn near the best thing to use for producing said bio fuel, it is cheap to grow, cheap to harvest and produces a heavy volume of high grade material.

Ethanol can be made from any matter that can be broked down into sugar and I think that includes Soylent Green :think: but that process would be costly.

danscope
2008-Jun-07, 02:48 AM
If the goal is energy efficiency, rather than time efficiency, I can guarantee you that chopping it by hand is more efficient than either log splitters or circular saws.

Hi, If you try....."TRY"......to heat your house with an axe, and next year
you use a 30 inch circular saw, you will beome a convert to the saw....
real fast. It does involve some....'some' fuel, but it is worth it.
Your time is worth something, and a cord wood saw will go through an eight inch log in less than three seconds without going to the chiropractor.
This is model T technology. For myself, I utilize an old 40 HP Volkswagen
motor with an adapted flat belt drive to the arbor. Total cost:$100.
No radiator, and it runs off an outboard motor tank. At 1600 RPM, it is quite economical. Even John Henry would like the cordwood saw.

Best regards, Dan

ravens_cry
2008-Jun-07, 03:00 AM
Hmm, maybe if you made a steam powered circular saw. The beauty of an external combustion engien is it can burn almsot anything that burns.

danscope
2008-Jun-07, 04:27 AM
Hi, This has been done. You can make a custom camshaft for a VW and make a steam recip power plant (using synthetic oils ) that will do the job. It doesn't take extraordinary high pressure . The technology is simple enough.

Dan

sarongsong
2008-Jun-07, 04:47 AM
...Brazil has been doing it for quite some time...At what cost?
...the cortadores de cana---sugar cane cutters---part of a destitute migrant workforce of about 200,000 men who help prop up Brazil's ethanol industry...
commondreams.org (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines07/0309-08.htm)

danscope
2008-Jun-07, 06:52 PM
Well, You can mechanize the process and put them out of work,......or ....
they can learn how to share. Economics and honesty in government are beyond the scope of this OP.

Dan

HenrikOlsen
2008-Jun-07, 10:56 PM
They're using sugarcane, it's a perennial grass that has an extreamly high sugar content(duh), ethanol is made by a process of the sugar breaking down into alcohol using yeast(simlified, not going into detail)... it's damn near the best thing to use for producing said bio fuel, it is cheap to grow, cheap to harvest and produces a heavy volume of high grade material.

Ethanol can be made from any matter that can be broked down into sugar and I think that includes Soylent Green :think: but that process would be costly.
Another good producer is Jerusalem Artichoke, with a yield of about twice of what you'd get from corn or sugarbeets.
Has the disadvantage that it's the roots that's used, so it needs modified machinery, on the other hand it has the advantage that with mechanized harvest, there's enough pieces left in the ground that it automatically comes back the next year. (several US states has it classified as an agressive weed:))

HenrikOlsen
2008-Jun-07, 11:03 PM
Hi, This has been done. You can make a custom camshaft for a VW and make a steam recip power plant (using synthetic oils ) that will do the job. It doesn't take extraordinary high pressure . The technology is simple enough.

Dan
Or modify it to burn wood gas(produce gas), as was a standard car mod in Denmark during WWII, from the numbers I've seen, 1000kg of wood is equivalent to about 350l of gas.
Compare the price of 1 ton of wood chips (I've seen numbers around $50-$100/t delivered) compared to the $400 the equivalent gasoline costs and see how much you save and how fast the mod is repaid. ;)

JustAFriend
2008-Jun-08, 01:07 AM
Not that I condone or suggest this- but is illegal moonshine viable as auto fuel?

Not news to any of my elder relatives from West Virginia who grew up during the Depression....

:surprised


Remember that Von Braun used alcohol and liquid oxygen in the V2 rockets!
Moonshine = Rocket Fuel!

sarongsong
2008-Jun-08, 07:55 AM
...and Speed Racers!
2007
...It's official. In what's been called "the most significant fuel change in recent history," the IndyCar® Series is the first in auto racing to power its cars with 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol...
drivingethanol.org (http://www.drivingethanol.org/motorsports/indycar.aspx)

Tuckerfan
2008-Jun-08, 12:01 PM
You can make your own ethanol, but if you live in the US and don't file the proper paperwork, you'll be in violation of Federal law. This book tells you how to build a still and file the paperwork so you're legal. (http://lindsaybks.com/dgjp/djgbk/still/index.html) Don't expect any big savings, however. The modern fuel-injected car can handle about a 15% mix of ethanol in the fuel tank, a "flex-fuel" vehicle can handle up to 85% ethanol. Carbed vehicles (save the Model-T which was the original flex-fuel car) can't handle very much ethanol without a lot of work on the fuel system (the rubber used in them dissolves in ethanol).

Bean Counter
2008-Jun-09, 08:12 PM
Tuckerfan, thanks! You've partially answered a question I had about using ethanol for engine fuel. I asked that question to someone over the weekend and their quick response was "replace the fuel lines". Now I know why.

What other changes would be needed? I suspect different flash points for ethanol vs. gasoline and probably different combustion temperatures and rates, therefore different engine timing and maybe even different metals in the engines (no more aluminum for you!).

In stories that continued the "Terminator" series, after the U.S. was bombed back to the stone-age, Conner modified a motorcycle to run on ethanol so he could make fuel "on the fly" as necessary during a cross-country drive. It led to a constant nagging question of "is it was possible to modify a motorcycle to run on it and what the exact modifications would be?"

Tuckerfan
2008-Jun-09, 08:37 PM
The changes depend upon if its carbed or fuel injected. Carbed, you'll need to change out the fuel pump and seals and floats or risk having them dissolved. Might also need to change out the jets.

Fuel injected is a bit more intense, as to run on straight ethanol on either carbed or FI, you'd want to change the compression ratios and a few other things, and with the tampering on the FI systems, you'd need to do some computer reprogramming.

I think that ethanol burns hotter than gas, so you might have some issues in that area. Its not really something that I've looked into, because ethanol, IMHO, is a bit of a stopgap solution.

Kaptain K
2008-Jun-10, 12:03 AM
Not only that, but Indycar's "going green" by switching to ethanol was not near as big a step as they make it out to be. They've been running on methanol for decades! :whistle:

mike alexander
2008-Jun-10, 02:16 AM
If they began with methanol, then moved to ethanol, I guess the next step is propanol, then butanol, pentanol, and so on until they get back to long chain hydrocarbons.

Tuckerfan
2008-Jun-10, 10:52 AM
Hmm, maybe if you made a steam powered circular saw. The beauty of an external combustion engien is it can burn almsot anything that burns.
This guy's supposed to start selling steampowered lawnmowers soon. (http://www.popsci.com:80/node/21610)
By zealously reusing every possible bit of heat, steam engines can convert up to 46 percent of incoming energy into torque. Most gas-powered internal combustion engines, in contrast, are only about 25 percent efficient. Schoell’s prototype also emits much cleaner exhaust than a standard gas engine; unburned fuel sits in the combustion chamber until the engine fires up again, and eventually nearly all the waste particles and unused fuel are incinerated.

Schoell’s company, Cyclone Power Technologies, has recently signed a deal to develop a Cyclone for lawn mowers and other garden equipment. And unlike most garage tinkerers, Schoell has even won the respect of the pros: In 2006, he won the Distinguished Automotive Engineering Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers for the Cyclone’s design.

closetgeek
2008-Jun-10, 02:13 PM
I just moved into one of those private communities where every yard has to be uniform...yeah, what was I thinking? Do you think anyone would mind a distillery in my back yard? Maybe I can pay them off with some fuel if they don't tell on me.

Zachary
2008-Jun-10, 03:13 PM
I've heard that the best thing to do for cheap eco fuel is to tour around your local fast food joints at closing time; they're usually glad for somebody to take their used cooking oil off them for nothing.

sabianq
2008-Jun-10, 03:18 PM
I've heard that the best thing to do for cheap eco fuel is to tour around your local fast food joints at closing time; they're usually glad for somebody to take their used cooking oil off them for nothing.

That actually works great, assuming you are driving a vehicle with a Diesel engine.

http://www.biodiesel.org/

Ivan Viehoff
2008-Jun-10, 03:54 PM
... because ethanol, IMHO, is a bit of a stopgap solution.
I don't think it's any kind of a solution, especially not the way i tis currently being pursued. In particular, turning food-crops into ethanol is not any kind of a solution. Given that we need food, and growing food is an energy-consuming process, it seems obvious that eating it is the most carbon-efficient use for food. They got away with it in Brazil because, unlike most countries, they have a conjunction of large amounts of productive land not required for food production and cheap labour; and it was also until recently a better strategy than producing food for export because until the recent past food was unnaturally cheap because so many countries were subsidising its production. I was going to say that at the moment Brazil would probably do better turning some of those sugar cane plantations over to food crops such as rice and maize, but then I remembered that bio-ethanol for fuel is also unnaturally over-priced at the moment.

Turning waste materials (including especially the inedible part of the food crop) into ethanol could be part of a solution, but I suspect there is a better net carbon outcome for either or both of:
(a) burning the waste material directly in an electricity generator
(b) composting the waste and using it as fertiliser, burning any methane generated in composting.

An important issue is that liquid fossil fuels are just brilliant for use in transport, and it is much easier to decarbonise stationary fuel usages. As long as we are burning fossil fuels for non-mobile uses, it makes sense to use the fossil fuel for the transport and the low-carbon alternative in the non-mobile use. Trying to decarbonise transport by regulation and (worse) by subsidy before the stationary fuel consumers is an unnecessarily expensive method of decarbonising.

After waste, the most efficient agriculture for turning biomass into useful energy is to grow carefully chosen crops, such as elephant grass, which are suited for burning in generators. Even then, when you work out how much land you need to make any kind of impact on our energy needs on a global scale, you soon work out that there just isnt' enough surplus productive land on the planet to make much difference. Biomass will play its part, as it already does in many less developed countries, but it is not a panacea for decarbonising the main carbon-consuming parts of our economy.

HenrikOlsen
2008-Jun-14, 08:11 PM
This guy's supposed to start selling steampowered lawnmowers soon. (http://www.popsci.com:80/node/21610)
All this talk is getting me more and more hooked on converting my lawnmower to burning wood, (it's the only internal combustion engine I have at the moment).

Tuckerfan
2008-Jun-15, 02:03 AM
All this talk is getting me more and more hooked on converting my lawnmower to burning wood, (it's the only internal combustion engine I have at the moment).
So you've got steam engines running everything else?

HenrikOlsen
2008-Jun-15, 03:28 AM
No, it's the only engine I have or any kind, and the conversion to wood burning won't be to steam.