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Popular Mechanics – May 8, 2008
Saw this article on Popular Mechanics. It really isn’t that hard to set up your own still to create ethanol to burn in your flex fuel vehicle. This Micro Fueler looks good but your housing association may have something to say about setting up a fueling station in your side yard!
While this isn’t going to make a huge dent in our development of CO2, it is an interesting idea to explore. Perhaps the best way to reduce foreign oil dependence and cut back on CO2 pollution is to make everything smaller and closer to home.
When I was in engineering school, my Thermodynamics professor hypothesized that the way to safely use nuclear fuel was to use the same sized power plants that ran naval submarines and spread them out around major cities. This was shortly after the disaster at Three Mile Island and he pointed out that there the safety record of those plants was phenomenal.
…the E-Fuel Corporation, a Silicon Valley startup, introduced the first ethanol refinery system designed for home use. The Micro Fueler, a backyard fueling station, can create pure E100 ethanol from sugar feed stock. “It’s third-grade science,” says Thomas Quinn, founder and CEO of E-Fuel. “You just mix together water, sugar and yeast, and in a few hours, you start getting ethanol.” The $9995 Micro Fueler has a can fill its own 35-gallon tank in about a week by fermenting the sugar, water and yeast internally, then separating out the water through a membrane filter.
Quinn dismisses many of the preconceptions about ethanol—lower gas mileage, long-term damage to automotive fuel systems and the need for a “flex-fuel” car—as just myths. Quinn claims that the E100 from the Micro Fueler can be mixed with ordinary gasoline, or even water to a 70/30 ratio—and still maintain a high-enough octane level to provide plenty of power for ordinary vehicles.
You can read the full article here.
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