Re: News article, a street corner ethanol maker
- From: cosantoir@xxxxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 02:06:50 -0700 (PDT)
The cheap "inedible sugar from Mexico that sells at a fraction of the
price" will not long remain as such if there is any use for the
stuff. It's cheap currently because it's not edible, and apparently
because there is no perceived market for it in the US. If it's
available in large quantities and can be exported to the US, you can
be sure than commercial ethanol manufacturers will also be interested
in it; one of the major costs in the corn-to-ethanol cycle is mashing
the corn to produce enough fermentable sugars, a source of cheap
fermentable sugar bypasses these expensive processes and would not
require any additional equipment or significant changes to the
Without cheap sugar this device is useless.
With a $10,000 price tag, a person interested in personally producing
their fuel would be better served by one of the off-the-shelf
biodiesel production units (around $2500-$3000) and a press for
extracting oils from various seeds and fruits. That would give them
the capability of using waste cooking oils and gleaned/scavenged
agricultural products, even landscaping wastes in some places.
Converting a vehicle to run on straight vegetable oil (SVO) would be
even cheaper than using biodiesel and would not be dependent on the
lye and methanol needed for brewing up biodiesel. SVO can be a
problem in any place that gets cold, but a well-designed conversion
will use regular diesel to get the engine up to operating temperatures
and the engine's waste heat to preheat the SVO to a usable
The "MicroFueler" sounds more like a cunning plan to separate soccer
moms and their partners from big chunks of money under the guise of
"saving mother earth" than actually being a workable alternative fuel
Also have to wonder what the BATFE will have to say about a device for
turning out large amounts of untaxed unregulated ethanol...
On May 9, 3:18 pm, Winston_Smith <not_r...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Kick the oil habit and make your own ethanol
By Timothy Gardner
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new company hopes drivers will kick the oil
habit by brewing ethanol at home that won't spike food prices.
E-Fuel Corp unveiled on Thursday the "MicroFueler" touting it as the
world's first machine that allows homeowners to make their own ethanol
and pump the brew directly into their cars.
The portable unit that sells for $10,000 resembles a gasoline station
pump and nozzle -- minus the slot for a credit card, or the digital
"SALE" numbers that whir ever faster at retail pumps as global demand
pushes fuel prices to record levels.
Instead of tapping gasoline from an underground tank, the pump's back
end plugs into home power and water supplies to make ethanol for as
little as $1 a gallon (3.8 liters), according to E-Fuel.
The company says one of the machine's top selling points is its sweet
tooth. It ferments fuel from sugar, the price of which is historically
cheap as global supplies are glutted.
That means it avoids the Achilles heel of today's U.S. ethanol system
-- reliance on corn -- which has been blamed for helping to spike
global food prices.
"There's no mother in America crying that their kids aren't getting
enough sugar," Tom Quinn, CEO and founder of E-Fuel said in an
Regular table sugar alone is too expensive, so E-Fuels says it will
link customers to cheaper surplus supplies, including inedible sugar
from Mexico that sells at a fraction of the price. It also hopes to
get users to help pay for feedstock by selling carbon credits for
using the machine, since making ethanol from sugar emits fewer
greenhouse gases than making it from corn.
"We will break the traditional ethanol system," said Quinn a
California computer and computer games inventor, who has bankrolled
the company with what he calls "millions, but not multimillion" of
He said despite the steep upfront costs, the machines will pay for
themselves quickly. For a two-car family that drives about 34,500
miles a year, the MicroFueler will pay for itself in less than two
years, assuming average gasoline prices of $3.60 per gallon, the
company said. The unit makes up to 35 gallons (132 liters) of 100
percent ethanol per week.
Others are not so sure that the MicroFueler is a good investment.
"I doubt it will work," said David Pimental, a professor at Cornell
University who has studied the economics of ethanol for decades. He
said the history of the fuel has been one of moving to greater and
greater scales to increase the efficiencies of making the fuel.
E-Fuel says the machine is efficient in a way that big ethanol plants
aren't because it removes water from the fuel with special fine
filters that reduce the fuel costs of distilling the water out.
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