Steps on How to Make DIY Ethanol Fuel
DIY ethanol fuel is a great project that you’ll definitely benefit a lot from and will help you save a lot of money in fuel.
Ethanol fuel, or fuel that is made from ethanol or plant-based alcohol, is now the most popular renewable fuel. The government is heavily promoting ethanol, with some states even mandating that all gasoline sold should already contain ethanol. As of now, there are two common ethanol blends: E10 and the higher blend, E85.
If you want to be part of the movement towards renewable energy sources, it would be a good idea to start using ethanol fuel. But aside from being friendlier to the environment, ethanol fuel also provides several other benefits, one of which is the localization of fuel production. Since ethanol fuel is an organically produced fuel, it can be produced locally and does not have to be imported from other countries. Aside from that, ethanol is also very simple to make. This also means that, as long as you have the right resources and you know how is ethanol made, it is possible for you to make a DIY ethanol fuel at home.
If you make ethanol fuel at home, you can get all the ethanol fuel you need and you can enjoy better engine performance thanks to the higher E85 octane rating. And since you have your own ethanol fuel source, you don’t have to worry about the fuel economy problem of ethanol.
How to Make Ethanol Fuel At Home
Step 1: Acquire some biomass or feedstock that contain sugar or starch such as sugar beets, sugar cane, or corn. You can also use biomass from trees and grasses that contain cellulose. To expose their starch, sugar, or cellulose content, the biomass should be thoroughly ground.
Step 2: If your biomass contains starch or cellulose, you have to convert them into sugar first before you can start making ethanol. To do this, the ground materials should be mixed with water and briefly cooked with some enzymes in a process called hydrolysis. The chemical reaction that this will cause will convert starch to sugar.
Step 3: Once the biomass is in its sugar form, add yeast to it to cause the sugar to ferment. Yeast is a microscopic organism that feeds on sugar and produces ethanol as the sugar is being absorbed. This is the process of fermentation.
Step 4: Collect the ethanol from the mixture through a distillation process. This can be done by running the liquid through a carbon filter. This will effectively separate the alcohol from the water.
Step 5: Remove the water content from the resulting product through a dehydration process. This is done simply by adding a drying substance to it that absorbs the water and carbon dioxide. After this procedure, leave the alcohol to sit for several hours then screen it once more. This will provide you with a 200-proof alcohol.
Step 6: If you want to verify that you did successfully make ethanol, test it using a hydrometer.
This is the original way of making ethanol, and it is also the simplest that will allow you to make DIY ethanol fuel. As of today, however, there are other processes that are being used or developed for the production of ethanol. If you have the equipment and the knowledge, you can also consider using these other methods.
One alternative method is through wet-milling, which many large ethanol makers use. Another method, which can produce ethanol using the cellulose and hemi-cellulose components of cheaper biomass feedstock like wood and agricultural byproducts, is also being developed but is not as simple to do at home.
How is DIY E85 Made?
Aside from making ethanol at home, you can also make ethanol blends. If you have a flex fuel vehicle, what you need is E85 ethanol. To make a DIY E85, add unleaded gasoline to your ethanol with concentration levels of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Now, you’re ready to use your E85 ethanol to make your vehicle run. Take note, however, that E85 can only be used for flex fuel vehicles. If your vehicle is not flex fuel, just make an E10 ethanol fuel blend.
To do so, take your DIY ethanol fuel and add it to your regular gasoline. The resulting mixture should consist of 90% gasoline and only 10% ethanol. This blend, which is called E10, is safe for use in any kind of vehicle. However, make sure not to add more than 10% of ethanol in your fuel if your vehicle is not flex fuel. Although the government is now increasing ethanol concentrations to 15 to 20 percent, studies are still being conducted as to its safety on conventional fuel systems.
Ethanol is now a major fuel source. In fact, the government has started requiring gas suppliers to provide E10 as an alternative to pure gasoline. But since you can make your DIY ethanol fuel, you don’t have to worry about having to buy fuel each time you need a refill.