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