Make Your Own Fuel
Alcohol is a remarkable substance: it gives us pleasure, can be used as medicine,?and has many?commercial uses, including automotive and aviation fuel. I like to think of it as “sunlight in a bottle”. You can get better performance from your engine, and it doesn’t pollute! It has been used in racing engines in the Indianapolis 500 for over 80 years!
I first got interested in alcohol as an alternative to petroleum in 1978, after reading an article in Mother Earth News, about someone making ethanol from corn. He used it instead of gasoline to run his pickup truck. I started experimenting in my spare time, and I made my first still, solar powered, which I demonstrated at the Whole Earth celebration fair at UC Davis, that same year.
What really interested me about this was that grain alcohol (ethanol) is a renewable fuel, and also, it is pretty much pollution free, since the by-products of combustion are only water and CO2. Furthermore, it is economical to make,? and your car will run cooler, faster, and better on ethanol. And, best of all, you don’t have to fight wars in the Middle East to protect it.
The reason I call it “sunlight in a bottle” is because ethanol is a liquid solar fuel which can be used in internal combustion engines. It really is a very concentrated form of sunlight. (Moonshiners call it “white lightining”, but for a very different reason.)
Think about it: plants are the world’s most advanced solar collectors, and they have been at it for millions of years. Petroleum is fossilized solar energy, but present-day sunlight is stored by plants in the form of sugars and starches. Yeasts are little critters which like to eat sugar and?alcohol is their waste product.?Yeast organisms?convert?the sugar into a simpler and more useable form of energy.
You don’t have to throw away the internal combustion engine to convert a car to run on alcohol: just some minor adjustments, really. Electric cars will still need to get their power from somewhere (usually the dirty old electrical grid), and they have to carry around a lot of heavy batteries, but only have an effective range of a couple hundred miles.
Alcohol, on the other hand, can give you the same miles per tank of fuel, with the same or better acceration.
I personally have driven five of my own cars on it, as well as many others. I have been able to get the same miles per gallon on 160 to 180 proof as I did with gasoline. There is hardly any pollution: no heavy hydrocarbons, so no SMOG. Best of all, I found I had the freedom of driving around on a fuel I had made instead of buying it from fat cat oil barons. I didn’t mix the alcohol with gas in those days: I ran it straight.
Now, in 2004, (25 years after I started building stills and promoting ethanol), you can buy a car that is factory ready for alcohol fuel. In some states (mostly in the Midwest) you can buy E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline). The cars these days are made with variable fuel injection technology, which measures the oxygenate content of the fuel (since alcohol, ETOH, contains an oxygen molecule which makes it burn more efficiently when the timing and air/fuel mix are appropriately adjusted by a computer chip that is factory installed.
In fact, over 2 million cars per year in the USA already are set up to run on E85, and no one told us about this. The oil companies know that oil reserves are dwindling, so the technology is gradually adapting. Experts in the ethanol industry predict 20% of the cars will be fueled by ethanol in just 6 to 8 years (and with ethanol production increasing by 12%/yr., we have the capacity to do this.)
E85 is 102 octane. It burns clean and is better for the engine because it burns cooler, with less carbon buildup.
To learn more please visit Mr. Warren’s website, it contains a wealth of information on ethanol and plans to make your very own distilling equipment!