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Methanol preferred technologies M-85/E-85

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Unread postby k_semler » Fri 02 Jul 2004, 05:18:11

1. It would work, but only on a very limited basis only. There does not exist enough arable land on earth to fuel the global fleet of over 700 million private vehicles, provide food for everybody currently alive, and also house the population. Doing this on a limited basis would be possible.

2. He caved into the oil companies primarily because of two reasons, the prospect of becoming rich, and also the abundance of the refined fuels. Why manufacture the fuel required to propel your vehicle, when you can just pump it out of the ground for near free? Also, if there was not "financial incentive" (bribes), to do so, Henry Ford would have likely declined to change the fuel that the engines were fueled by.

3. Not at all. All you need is sugar, yeast, and an air-tight container, (a large Gatorade bottle works good for this), to make the brine. Add .5 cup of pure white sugar, and 1 TSP of yeast to 2 quarts of water. Now cap off the mixture so it is air tight, and set it in the sun. for the rest of the day. After the sun sets, place the brew near a warm, (but not hot) source of heat. Once per day, let out the excess air (which is CO2), by opening the lid and letting out the gasses. The brine will be ready in a period of 2 weeks if it is exposed to continual warmth.

It does not take very much warmth, and the distillation process creates heat by itself, as it is an exothermic reaction. After the brine is ready, you will need to create a distillery. All you will need for this is a one gallon jar, and 5 feet of surgical tubing. The extra volume will allow for the air to expand, and force out the alcohol. First, poke a hole in the center of the lid of the 1 gallon jar so the surgical tubing can fit in it easily. Extend the length of the surgical tubing 1 inch below the bottom of the jar lid, and seal the tubing with caulking. After the caulk has sealed, it will now be air tight, and water tight. Make sure there are no gaps in the seal around the surgical tubing.

After your distiller is ready, transfer the contents of your fermenter to your distiller. After you have done this, cap off the surgical tubing so no vapor escapes. Now place the jar over a heat source, and get the brine to a rolling boil. The alcohol will boil off first, which is why you need to cap off the end of the surgical tubing that is free. Next, run the surgical tubing through a cold source such as an ice pack . Make sure there is plenty of room left at the end to place it into a jar to collect the alcohol. After you have the tubing routed through the source of cold, and have the end placed in another jar, (at a lower altitude), about 2 quarts in size to capture the alcohol than the source of the heat, wait for the alcohol to boil off, and collect it in the cooled off jar. After the boiling has stopped, the contents of the second jar will be pure alcohol. Just turn off the source of heat, and re-cap the surgical tubing.

Let the distiller cool to room temperature. After it is cooled off, just add more yeast and water, and the reaction will be started again. Repeat process until your alcohol is to the desired amount. The brine can be reused for about 3 months before needing to start from fresh again. Congratulations, now you know how to make moonshine :)
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Unread postby PhilBiker » Fri 02 Jul 2004, 10:16:09

I believe alcohol is an energy sink. It takes more effort to grow the crops and make the alcohol than you actually get from the alcohol! Any solution has to be energy positive.

Net energy! What a concept!
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Unread postby Pops » Mon 05 Jul 2004, 12:58:41

Certainly alcohol on a commercial scale could be problematic. On a personal level things are different.

Take one acre and plant it to Sweet Sorghum, a little hand work to keep you in shape on the end of a hoe and you can get maybe 100 bushels of grain for flour and fodder, I don’t know how much fodder in the form of leaves stripped off the stalks, say 400 gallons of molasses by pressing the stalks and you still have the crushed stalks to return as mulch.

Take the molasses, ferment and distill it and you should come up with a respectable amount of alcohol.

Sorghum requires much less input and water than corn, although the birds really like it.

Now you know where to get the sugar for k's recipe. Granted it won’t work in Manhattan. [shrug]

Info from “Small Scale Grain Raising” by Gene Logsdon, Rodale Press.
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Unread postby Pops » Mon 05 Jul 2004, 13:35:18

I copied k's and my post on alcohol making to the Planning forum here:
http://www.peakoil.com/post6653.html#6653
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Unread postby MadScientist » Mon 05 Jul 2004, 14:55:53

But to not want to use it b/c it's an "energy sink" is nonsensical.



In most cases, it will be way better to just drink/sell it.

For example- You plant, cultivate, protect from pests, harvest, process, and distill enough plants to make 5 gallons of alcohol. The amount of work you put into that 5 gallon crock of alcohol will far exceed the fuel benefits. Remember you need practically pure (160 proof+) alcohol for fuel, so you will likely need a fractional still.

Are you gonna dump that into your hummer so you can drive 40 miles?

Are you gonna use it to run your chainsaw and put up wood?

Are you gonna use it to run your tractor to plant your next crop?

NO NO NO. Because its gonna be too valuable to use for fuel (work), because work (manpower) will be practically free.

Intoxication on the other hand may be priceless :lol: ...

As a rough example, because Ive never collected actual data, lets say that one Manday (one grown man laboring for 10 hours) will get the equivalent work done of one quart of alcohol as fuel.

In post peak times, one Manday is gonna be worth a few meals and a safe/warm place to sleep, or less. A quart of fuel grade alcohol will be considerably more valuable than that.

Anyways, my point is that alcohol as an energy source WILL be a sink for most applications as the cost of manpower drops.

One exception would be a 100mpg scooter, possibly modified for rails. Would allow you to travel quickly if you needed to badly enough.


"Brown's Alcohol Motor Fuel Cookbook" is a great start for anyone interested in gaining practical experience in this. It has a ton of history, diagrams, and instructions for modifying engines and building different size production rigs.
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Unread postby MadScientist » Mon 05 Jul 2004, 16:32:33

it can defiantly fuel my tractor


freudian slip? :lol:


The way I see your situation Pops is that you are considering using biomass (sorghum and wood) and manpower to make ethanol.

So its more of a concentrated carrier of energy than an energy source. IMO, theres no point in using that specialized energy unless there's no other way to do the work (like traveling 80 miles in 3 hours on a powered bicycle).

In the future, manpower will be cheap and fuel will be valuable. Quite the reverse of today, where fuel is cheap and manpower is pricey.

I tend to think that the risk and investment limits the net gain of the ethanol process. Obviously, experience will improve results.

How well you fine-tune the process will ultimately determine whether it pays off. I certainly wish you and me and anyone else who attempts to create firewater the best of luck.
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Unread postby Pops » Mon 05 Jul 2004, 20:09:09

Dang! Bill Gates foils my eloquent argument again!

Why doesn’t this machine know what I mean and not what I type!

Anyway MS, is there a chink in the 96% (granted, it is theoretical) return?

Even if I don’t have an IC engine on the place, I have around 400 days of free labor at a quart a day for one acre planted.
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Unread postby MadScientist » Tue 06 Jul 2004, 13:25:44

My gut says "wildly optimistic". I hope you prove me wrong though :D .

Sounds like the king of future cash crops, PoPs.
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Unread postby Learn to Horseride » Tue 06 Jul 2004, 18:44:42

MadScientist wrote:My gut says "wildly optimistic". I hope you prove me wrong though :D .

Sounds like the king of future cash crops, PoPs.



Why not invest in a horse?
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Unread postby Pops » Tue 06 Jul 2004, 20:58:47

Come on MS, tell me where I’m wrong.

Let me back track. What are the 2 things that you want and gotta buy, that most can’t grow?

Salt and sugar come to mind.

I started reading up on sorghum for the sugar a while back - maples don’t give sugar down in MO and they take years to mature besides. Then I found out that the syrup in sorghum comes from the stalk and not the seeds like corn. The sugar is basically free since the grain is almost as prolific as corn. “Well,” says me, “isn’t that handy, the place I’m trying to buy has 20ac of sweet sorghum planted for hay and grain to feed cattle over the winter right now”.

Then “k_” pipes up with his recipe.

Granted the paper has an example of 400 gallons but even 100 gal. /ac would be a nice sideline.

Go ahead and poke some big holes so I don’t go building a big still and wind up in Kansas – Leavenworth, I mean
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Electricity and methanol preferred technologies - IAGS

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 29 Mar 2005, 02:13:50

See this link:

http://www.iags.org/es.html

Hydrogen or electricity? A nuclear fork in the road
David B. Barber, active in nuclear systems research, development and demonstration for fifteen years, considers whether the US nuclear industry should turn its sights to hydrogen and concludes that economics, technical practicality and the urgency of strengthened national security through reduced dependence on oil all overwhelmingly favor electricity rather than hydrogen as the energy carrier that will be carrying stationary-source energy to the transportation sector in the 21st Century. Only 2% of U.S. electricity is generated from oil.
Barber notes that hydrogen has a critical inefficiency problem that is rooted in thermodynamics, that is essentially unsolvable and that renders hydrogen impractical as either an energy carrier or an energy storage tool and that a key driver for "the hydrogen economy" is an attempt to integrate renewable energy’s desperately needed load leveler into general commerce.

Yogi and Gasoline
Nearly twenty five years ago, in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, Peter Vanderzee was a project manager for a $1 billion project that was part of program of national importance - The U.S. Synthetic Fuels Program. Announced as a $60 Billion dollar program to free the U.S. from dependence upon Middle East crude oil, hundreds of engineers, scientists, financial wizards and executives spent years trying to find the most effective means to make crude oil from shale deposits, synthesis gas (syngas) from coal, and liquid fuels (in his case - methanol) from syngas.
In the interim he has concluded that converting coal to the alcohol fuel methanol using proven technology in “zero dischargeâ€
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Brains

Unread postby EnviroEngr » Tue 29 Mar 2005, 02:19:48

I suspect pup55, Whitecrab or Devil would. I think clv101 and a few others (Mark) would know something about this as well.
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Coal as a substitute for oil in chemical business

Unread postby Denny » Wed 24 Aug 2005, 20:13:42

With oil going so high in price and so much conversion away from coal as it is a dirty fuel, would it not open the door to repositioning coal as the feedstock for so many resin uses, such as fiber and the like?

Back before WWII, the organic chemical businesses relied on coal for much of the feedstock, coal tar in particular. Materials such as bakelite, paint resins and fibre had their origin in coal.

I am not sure what triggered the mass switch away from coal as the feedstock, if it was price related, maybe that market dynamic is now changing.

Are there environmental problems associated with the use of coal in the chemical business?
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Re: Coal as a substitute for oil in chemical business

Unread postby gego » Wed 24 Aug 2005, 22:43:36

In mining coal, the guys with the lights on their heads and the pick axes on their back (my uncle Chuck) have been replaced by machinery driven by petroleum and electric energy. Subtract the petroleum energy and coal production falls dramatically. These coal trains that did not pass thru the midwest 20 years ago are driven by pertoleum.

Maybe you don't want to get it so you want to believe that the substitutes will be as good or as available without oil. Fool yourself if you want to and if you are in the last decade of your life you might fool yourself all the way to the graveyard, but if you are in the earlier stages of your life, you need to address the reality and plan for a survival nitch, else you are fertilizer.

I can understand the panic that would keep a young person from taking the survival path, but then that is survival of the fittest dynamic confronting your future; make the correct choice and you have a chance, make the passive decision and you are the 6 in 8 who dieoff. Tough luck, and accident of birth.
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Re: Coal as a substitute for oil in chemical business

Unread postby hotsacks » Wed 24 Aug 2005, 22:58:15

Are there environmental problems associated with the use of coal in the chemical business?[/quote][QUOTE]

Ontario of course is on a schedule to shut down all its coal fired generators. In that light,I don't see 'clean coal technology' being any too clean. Coal tar products like creosote are notorious carcinogens -WHMIS recommends organic filters for application.
I imagine there would be MANY environmental concerns in a coal based chemical industry.
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Re: Coal as a substitute for oil in chemical business

Unread postby 0mar » Wed 24 Aug 2005, 23:19:17

It's all organic chemistry, so, theoritically, you would just be substituting one carbon source for another.

Depending on the chemical, you might need more or less steps to synthesize it. But overall, there really shouldn't be too much of a difference between oil and coal fundementally.
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Re: Coal as a substitute for oil in chemical business

Unread postby Antimatter » Thu 25 Aug 2005, 03:29:16

gego wrote:In mining coal, the guys with the lights on their heads and the pick axes on their back (my uncle Chuck) have been replaced by machinery driven by petroleum and electric energy. Subtract the petroleum energy and coal production falls dramatically. These coal trains that did not pass thru the midwest 20 years ago are driven by pertoleum.

Maybe you don't want to get it so you want to believe that the substitutes will be as good or as available without oil. Fool yourself if you want to and if you are in the last decade of your life you might fool yourself all the way to the graveyard, but if you are in the earlier stages of your life, you need to address the reality and plan for a survival nitch, else you are fertilizer.

I can understand the panic that would keep a young person from taking the survival path, but then that is survival of the fittest dynamic confronting your future; make the correct choice and you have a chance, make the passive decision and you are the 6 in 8 who dieoff. Tough luck, and accident of birth.


Nice way to pass off your opinion as fact and claim that those who disagree with you are in denial of reality. :roll:
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GM and E85

Unread postby jmacdaddio » Sun 12 Feb 2006, 03:42:28

I saw a GM commerical tonight promoting their push to produce vehicles which run by E85. A nice cross section of American young people danced in corn fields, which will theoretically fill the gas tanks of our GM vehicles with ethanol.

GWB just happened to mention corn-based ethanol in his address last Tuesday .. conicidence?

No mention of the magic scientific formula: Corn + Tax Dollars = Ethanol.

No mention of how we could take the fossil fuel that would have gone into the fertilizers for the corn, turn it into gasoline, and skip the whole charade of producing ethanol in the first place.

No mention of where the diesel fuel would come from so the tractors, combines, harvesters, etc would run. No mention of where the ethanol would be produced: all of our basic chemical production is heading overseas.

In ten years we'll still be driving cars powered by gasoline, we'll just be paying a lot more for it.
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Re: GM and E85

Unread postby rogerhb » Sun 12 Feb 2006, 10:38:27

... and diverting land for our food supply over to fuel production because more money can be made from fuel than for food.
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Re: GM and E85

Unread postby GoIllini » Sun 12 Feb 2006, 15:04:39

jmacdaddio wrote:No mention of where the diesel fuel would come from so the tractors, combines, harvesters, etc would run. No mention of where the ethanol would be produced: all of our basic chemical production is heading overseas.

I can at least answer this question. It would probably get produced by ADM, likely somewhere near Decatur, IL.

With all of the subsidies our Midwestern states offer to companies turning corn into Ethanol in the state, it would take a lot to move the process overseas.
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