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Old 03-17-2008, 07:59 PM   #1
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Brew your own gas?

So it seems to me that if people brew their own biodiesel, would it be possible/feasible to distill gasoline? Basically take out some of the crap that is put in, say through some easy catalytic filtration system?

I know - regulations on motor fuels, experimental fuels, etc., but it seems to me with people posting about how the new diesel fuels are much worse than the old formulation, etc., the same might apply to gasoline as it is NOT what it used to be in the 70s, 50s, and earlier.

Haven't thought it through, haven't researched it - was wondering what you all out there thought?
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Old 03-17-2008, 09:13 PM   #2
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heh, first read I thought you meant make your own gas, rather than further refine what they sell at the pump so I wrote the following....

I have looked into this and think it is possible to distill useable fuel fractions from biomass. However, it is rather complex and may involve separating out a couple of fractions and reblending them to give a good fuel. I'm trying to figure out a way to configure a sort of gas producer such that one can run a generator off gaseous output and bottle liquid fuel for later use. It may also be possible to hydrocrack veggie oils into a useable fuel.

I think I may also have a lower energy process to dry out ethanol or methanol, such that one can brew it from sugars/carbs and yeasts (even might have a handle on brewing from cellulose) and do a single pass distillation to get rid of most of the water, then use this process I'm thinking off to get out the remaining 20% or so, should at least get it to 97% pure I think which is good enough for screwing around with your own blends.

I've also got thoughts about an on engine system which would crack oil or veggie oils into combustible vapours for gasoline engines. However it's likely that the motor would need to be started and warmed up on gasoline before you could switch over.

.... However, on the topic at hand, I don't really see what one could effectively take out of the gas that would improve it enough to be worth the effort. You'd expend more energy getting ethanol out than would be worth it. Fuel mixtures changing between winter and summer would be problematic also. If you wanted to "brew" something out of commercially available fuels, I'd think of trying something like 33% Jet-A, JP-8 or kerosene blended with 66% E85, but only in a naturally aspirated motor that wasn't too high compression. Would depend on local price and availability whether that might work out or not, and what proportions you needed to make it work well in your motor. Could probably destroy a catalytic convertor while you messed around too.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:40 AM   #3
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About the best you can do is to put a composter in your trunk and make methanol and vent it into the engine. Got COW dung?
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:50 AM   #4
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sounds more expensive than actually buying it
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:12 AM   #5
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Yeah, you could brew your own ethanol, but homebrew technology probably wouldn't be able to achieve breakeven on energy used in the process of making it versus what comes out.

Cracking biodiesel sounds interesting, but good luck getting your hands on appropriate catalysts.

Also, while homebrew biodiesel is fairly safe, cracking produces much lighter compounds that are more volatile -- meaning that they are more likely to escape, which increases the chance of an explosion.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:41 AM   #6
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yeah, that's the complex part, not blowing yourself up. You need sealed, high temperature and pressure reaction vessels, and if you get air in there... buh-bye neighbourhood.
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mulad View Post
Yeah, you could brew your own ethanol, but homebrew technology probably wouldn't be able to achieve breakeven on energy used in the process of making it versus what comes out.
The Mother Earth News used to use solar stills for their home-brewed ethanol. But the sun's gotta be shining when your mash is ready. TMEN wrote the book on home ethanol production in 1980. Here's plans for two wood-fired stills, and the rest of the manual. A good place to start on brewing your own fuel.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:42 PM   #8
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Yes, solar and wind energy are most efficient when used directly, for heating or mechanical work that would otherwise require non-renewable energy inputs. You'd practically have to cover an entire city lot with expensive, inefficient solar cells to get enough electricity to power a heating element, but a solar collector could be about 6x10 and gain the same amount of heat on a sunny day. Similarly mechanical wind power could be applied to mixers, pumps and similar uses to make the process highly efficient.
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Old 03-23-2008, 01:53 PM   #9
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Here is another option... woodgas.

http://www.gengas.nu/byggbes/index.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_gas_generator
http://www.webpal.org/b_recovery/3_a...principles.htm
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:33 PM   #10
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Speaking of solar, here's something interesting. Yes, it is DEFINITELY not in the realm of that which you could do in your backyard. But perhaps this method does hold some promise:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0418091932.htm

I've actually heard of photocatalytic processes for generating hydrogen directly from water using solar energy (as opposed to photovoltaics + electrolysis). But NOT for generating carbon monoxide from carbon dioxide. This process seems quite promising, as it would both provide a use for carbon dioxide emissions AND produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a VERY useful raw material that could be used along with hydrogen OR water to produce liquid hydrocarbon fuels or provide a feedstock material.

By the way, if water is reacted with carbon monoxide, hydrogen is produced, along with carbon dioxide to be put back into the process. Of course, it is unclear at this time whether this would be a good way to produce hydrogen, or whether direct photocatalytic production of hydrogen would be better.
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