We had a wonderful 5 days with our new friend from Nigeria who was fulfilling a month long quest for solar and other sustainable power knowledge and techniques that he can take back to improve the quality of life in his village.
We crafted his class for the need to make fuel grade moonshine in a site that didn’t have modern amenities. Much like the prohibition era Moonshiners this technology is capable of making high octane motor fuel to outrun the revenuers or run a pump to bring water from a well.
He had already taken two of our online classes. One on the importance of bio-fuels (Free) and the other being a basic 101 distillation process How to do it. He had the general idea and having taken the online class for $50.00 he got $100.00 off the hands on training.
It is true you can make fuel alcohol out of anything that grows, but his village grows a lot of corn so that seemed to be a good place to start. A bushel of corn can make 2 and 1/2 gallons of ethanol fuel and the leftovers will still be nutritious food for animals or humans.
To cook a bushel of grain all at once, you need a 35 gallon crock pot as well as the strength to stir a 300 pound pot of oatmeal and keep it from burning for three hours. The village may have that kind of manpower but for learning purposes we start at 1/10th that scale.
Modern yeasts can ferment to over 20% alcohol in 5 days. We did that and ran an engine on fuel we made that week
After converting , fermenting and distilling we to a field trip to see how a megga producer makes fuel.
Ok so they aren’t really secret. You can go to the library and check them out like I did. But they do contain information about ethanol fuel that is not commonly available at present time . Since these reports are public domain I make them available to you in total along with this essay.
One report is from the US Geological Survey published in 1909 Titled Bulletins 389-394. The title of the report # 392 is COMMERCIAL DEDUCTIONS FROM COMPARISONS OF GASOLINE AND ALCOHOL TESTS ON INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINES. By Robert M. Strong. This report can be found on the internet Full report at https://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/0392/report.pdf
This report is a summary of the commercial results of 2000 tests done by the USGS in 1907 and 1908. “The tests dealt primarily with gasoline, forming part of the investigation of mineral fuels provided for by acts of Congress. To determine the relative economy and efficiency of gasoline it was compared with denatured alcohol” (Ethanol )….. “and to prove that the minimum fuel consumption rate for each could be obtained in approximately the same manner.”
My summary of the test results is as follows.
Ethanol can be used in any engine designed to use gasoline and will have more power but will use more fuel.
Ethanol used in an engine designed to use ethanol will get the same fuel economy as gasoline in an engine designed for gasoline in the year 1909. Because there were no fuel robbing anti-pollution devices on the gasoline engines of that time and because none are needed on modern ethanol engines we can extrapolate that a modern dedicated ethanol vehicle would get much better fuel economy than a modern gasoline powered vehicle. Maybe as much as twice as much.
The down side is that dedicated ethanol engines cannot be made to run on gasoline.
Some of the tests involved mixtures of ethanol and gasoline and concluded, “ there is no advantage in using gasoline and ethanol together. ….. Moreover, the use of gasoline in any appreciable quantity does away with many of the advantages that are obtained from the use of alcohol alone, such as safety and absence of disagreeable odors.”
The other report is titled The use of Alcohol and Gasoline in Farm Engines It is from the US Dept of Agriculture 1909. Farmers bulletin No. 277. By Charles Edward Lucke.