How to Make Your Own Ethanol (Gas)

How to Make Your Own Ethanol (Gas)

Although DIY’n is a common practice in this era, it still may be surprising to some that creating your own ethanol source using just a few basic ingredients can be done very easily and by anyone. Why would anyone go through the trouble to create their own gas in the first place? For starters, it can save you a pretty penny on your fuel bill at home. Then there is always an advantage to being prepared in the occurrence of a natural disaster. Most ethanol producers use it to fuel their vehicles, lawn mowers, gas powered generators and even power tools. Although it might not be something you need to do daily, it’s not a bad skill to acquire.

First things first, keep it legal. In order to build your own fuel source, you will need to have a permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. This permit is called a “Fuel Plant Permit” and is necessary no matter how much gas you plan to produce or how you intend to use it.

Without the permit, it is a criminal offense to produce ethanol out of your home. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Now that we have warned you about the legalities, safety is next. For obvious reasons, you’ll need to use some common sense and precautions when producing ethanol. When using your DIY gas for your car and other home needs, it’s imperative that you know what the fuel system is made out of. Ethanol is highly corrosive to plastic and aluminum, so it needs to be mixed with gasoline, about 85% ethanol to 15% gasoline. Be sure to read up on the manufacturer guidelines before using your own ethanol in any fuel system to decrease the chances of destroying it completely.

Ethanol production is a natural process. It actually comes about through the fermentation of carbohydrates. There are several recipes for it, but let’s just assume that you don’t have your own crops to work with. Now let’s get to the directions. You will need the following:

(1) 20 gallon plastic barrel with a lid
(1) 10 ounce packet of brewer yeast or distiller yeast
(1) stirring paddle
(40) pounds of sugar
(1) still

Mix it

You will need to melt the sugar in hot water (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Fill up your barrel about halfway with water and then add sugar in 8-10 lbs at a time. This allows it to melt and stir easier. After the sugar is pretty much broken down, you can fill the remainder of the barrel with more hot water. You will mix the yeast in once the temperature is somewhere between 80-90 degrees. Place the lid on loosely to allow the fermentation process to occur. Set the barrel aside in a place that is about 70 degrees consistently.

Leave it

The fermentation process will naturally happen over a week or so. The yeast is eating up the sugar and producing waste in the form of carbon dioxide and alcohol. You will see bubbles coming out of the mixture, this is good. Keep that lid on loosely to avoid too much pressure causing the barrel to explode. Once the bubbles stop forming, fermentation is complete.

Filter it

You will need to filter the ethanol that will most likely carry dead bugs, debris and dead yeast.

Distill it

The remaining mixture is that of dead yeast, water, and ethanol. To get the ethanol out of this mixture, you need to use a still. The distilled version of your solution should get you around a 3:1 ratio of original solution to finished ethanol.

Dehydrate it

At this point, your ethanol may still have some water inside of it. In order to remove it, you need to use a unique fuel filter that can filter the water out. These filters are made out of specific fabrics that allow ethanol molecules to pass through while keeping the water out.

And there you are. Do it yourself ethanol for your car and other home needs. You’re welcome for the lighter fuel costs.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Aug 2, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

11 Responses to :
How to Make Your Own Ethanol (Gas)

  1. Jerome says:

    Cool article, I never thought of using a gas powered generator. I just assumed in a time of crisis or post apocalyptic environment that gas would become a thing of the past.

    This sort of knowledge is worth gold.

    1. Genius says:

      Send me some gold and I will teach you 🙂

      1. Genius says:

        Filter the (mash)? Ya maybe through a tshirt at most. Don’t try a finer filter it will clog asap! Besides, none of that comes out of the pipe, it stays in the pot geeeezus. Another thing: 3:1 ratio? This guy must be on shrooms or something! At the most you will get 5:1 if your lucky and that is 100 proof (50% alcohol) and that is with 20% abv mash. The longer you run it the more water is in the product (hence stop running at 60 proof out of the pipe). You will have to rerun your product 3 times to get a batch of 180 proof (90% alcohol). I have never seen filters that seperate water from alcohol either (if he says they are around they must be). If you want high proof runs you will need a reflux colum or similar device. You tube has vids on moonshining and equipment…Same thing.

        1. fishandmud says:

          All good points Genius. The article is full of flaws. If you read it with any common sense you will see the flaws. First thing, keep it at 70°. Even in the ground, I’m in Florida and that is not happening. You have to mix it. If you are trying to mix it, after TSHTF, what are you going to mix it with? This article should have some solutions to go with it. Like what can run on 100% ethanol? This article should show you where to get the yeast when TSHTF. How to make or buy all of the sugar you need when wally world is closed. Obviously this could be multiple articles. This one should have been part one and touched on the other parts. Don’t give out false hope with just part of an article. I guess if you know nothing this could be a good start but if you know nothing and rely on this article, you are in trouble anyways. A lot of smarter people than me can fill in the blanks. I would run an old mechanical diesel when TSHTF. Easier to supply the fuel. For gas you should use a gasifier. Same thing. Easier to supply the fuel. You can even get a free set of FEMA plans telling you how to set it up and use it. Save the shine for medical and trading purposes.

  2. Genius says:

    Hmmmm, some for me, some for the truck, some for me, some for the mower lol. You can get a distiller complete on ebay, a 5 gallon unit is about 170 bucks. If you buy one in the US you have to register it with ATF, buy it from china on ebay and no paperwork at all. If you like it and want a bigger unit just copy the design. With 4 gallons of mash made with 10lbs. of sugar you can expect 1 gallon of 100 proof alcohol. If you want to use it for fuel you will need to run it again and should get 160 proof. Cut the run when it is 60 proof out of the pipe and save the “tails” (about 3 cups worth) and rerun them when you have saved enough. If you run it too hot it will have too much water in it (and taste crummy too lol. Best to have someone who has done it teach you the tricks first.

    1. Genius says:

      Be sure and use distillers yeast, it will make more alcohol. You will also need to use yeast nutrient for maximum yield.
      BSG is a good brand.

      1. Genius says:

        Forgot to add, you will need a proof hydrometer to test it. Everything you need is on ebay.

  3. Genius says:

    Double distilled product can also be used in an alcohol stove. If your making it to drink save the “heads” and distill them again when you have enough. This is the “methyl alcohol” and is poisonous but makes good fuel. An alcohol stove doesn’t provide a lot of heat but the fuel is free lol.

  4. Genius says:

    One more thing lol, A lot of cars, mowers, etc. say don’t use more than 10% ethanol gas. Maybe you could add (if they still make it) Marvel Mystery Oil. Its been around forever and might help your gaskets etc. from drying out. If your in a pinch maybe use a small amount of 2 stroke oil with it. You don’t want to destroy your engine with too much ethanol!

    1. Genius says:

      Another thing whoever wrote this fooked up. 85% ethanol? Just say NO to drugs lol.

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