Ethanol powered still

Alcohol is an inexpensive, clean and renewable fuel source.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Ethanol powered still

Postby DarkSotM » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:28 pm

I'm new here so feel free to put me in my place.

I was wondering about using alcohol to power a still. I have use the heads cut off various thing to power my camping stove (Simple pop can alcohol stove) and it got me wondering if I could power a still off of all the undrinkable head cuts. While I'm sure it can be done, I guess the real question is it worth the effort, and how might someone go about this?

-Dark Side
DarkSotM
Novice
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:57 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Red Rim » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:44 pm

This topic has been touched on before. However, I don't think we really came up with a conclusive answer.
I also use pop can burners with heads for backpacking. They work great.
My thought on a heads stove for distilling is to use an old school white gas stove and hook up an air line to it from an air compressor with the pressure turned way down to like 10 or 15 lbs. The trick would be to have enough fuel in a tank to complete the run without running short. To keep the air pressure consistent so as not to have temperature fluctuations. And lastly to keep it safe without over pressurizing the tank and having a gas flare up.
I noticed MSR also makes a stove that runs on multiple fuels and it would probably be some thing that would work in this situation.
I believe T_pee was working on this too.
There is no such thing as a stupid question....... Unless you didn't research it first.
User avatar
Red Rim
Trainee
 
Posts: 807
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:14 am
Location: Orygun

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby T-Pee » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:14 am

You could probably do it with a Coleman liquid fuel stove and a small boiler but the problem would be fuel capacity, imo.

tp
User avatar
T-Pee
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 4332
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:20 pm
Location: The wilds of rural California

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Red Rim » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:34 am

I have been hitting the garage sales looking for the old stoves. Change the size of the fuel tank, add pressure and away we go. I would probably use it for cooking mash that way you get used to its operation without messing up a stillin run.
There is no such thing as a stupid question....... Unless you didn't research it first.
User avatar
Red Rim
Trainee
 
Posts: 807
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:14 am
Location: Orygun

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Pikey » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:46 am

I know this is an old thread, but I just did the "Google search" and this was what popped up about an idea I had this morning.

So does anyone do this ? or use diesel, paraffin or petrol (Gasolene) as a fuel source ?

and if so, how much does it use to do a run ?
Pikey
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 2318
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:29 pm
Location: At the edge of the Wild Wood

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:08 pm

Great idea, but you have to have a stove where you can adjust the fuel/air ratio. I'm going to look into using lard/tallow as well. I can get 500# of meat trimmings a week. Being able to burn it would be great. Probably need to make bio-diesel to do it.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby jedneck » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:47 am

Fat, tallow, bone all burns and burns hot. I have burned it in a woodstove un processed. Be prepared for everything to be covered in oily soot and not best smell
welcome aboard some of us are ornery old coots but if you do a lot of
reading and don't ask stupid questions you'll be alright most are
big help
Dunder
User avatar
jedneck
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 3560
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:16 pm
Location: drive to the sticks, hang a right past the sticks amd go a couple more miles.

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:00 am

You can burn Bio-diesel cleanly with the right type of burner, but it would need to be pretty large scale. You won't get enough waste alcohol to run a stove though, except once in a while. Loads of simple waste oil burners out there, but they are messy.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Kareltje » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:11 am

This question is posed several times and pops up now and then in my head too.
So some math to find at least a clue:

The burning heat of alcohol is 22 MJ/l.
Any amount of water diminishes this with 2.2 MJ/L water.
Edit: not only there is less alcohol, but also there is water that has to be evaporated. So water diminishes the burning heat with 22 MJ/L less alcohol and also with 2.2 MJ/L present water.

So the burning heat of heads of 90 %ABV is 19.6 MJ/L.
Vapourizing alcohol takes 0.675 MJ/L, vapourizing water takes 2.249 MJ/L.
Say one starts with a mash of 11 % (not uncommon), then the vapour is about 50 %ABV. To make one fluid liter of this vapour costs 1.462 MJ.

We neglect the heating up from 20 dgr C to boiling temperature for simplicity.
But we have to take into account the efficiency of the burner and still. In my still I find a loss of 35 to 65 % of the fuel, so producing 1 L of 50 %ABV will cost 2.249 to 4.177 MJ or 0.11 to 0.21 L of heads of 90 %.
That is only for the first part of the stripping run.

Making heads of 90 %ABV takes 0.834 MJ/L, so the burning of 1.283 to 2.383 MJ so 0.065 to 0.12 of the same heads. But that goes only for the last tray in a column, the one that uses a feed of 87 %ABV!

I start thinking that if you take the heads of the heads of the heads, insulate the still and recover heat of condensation it can just about be done. Ten trays of about 1/10th of the energy of the production.
But then you need to run the beheaded mash or low wines with different heating.

Or do I miss a few things?
User avatar
Kareltje
Distiller
 
Posts: 1645
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:29 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:08 pm

The water in the alcohol you are burning does not take energy, it just lowers the flame temperature. Depending on how your still is set up, you can capture that heat.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Pikey » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:22 pm

badflash wrote:The water in the alcohol you are burning does not take energy, it just lowers the flame temperature. Depending on how your still is set up, you can capture that heat.


Please explain how a lower flame temperature des NOT equate to "Less energy" :oops:

Yes you can use red diesel. waste sump oil, wood, coal, a windmill, a solar panel, or 999 Hampsters on a treadmill. energy is energy ! :D
Pikey
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 2318
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:29 pm
Location: At the edge of the Wild Wood

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:24 pm

The energy is captured as steam in what is called the "Latent Heat of Vaporization". Energy can't be destroyed. If your boiler is set up to condense the steam produced you will get it back in the form of sensible heat. You forgot nuclear, Pikey.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Kareltje » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:24 am

badflash wrote:The energy is captured as steam in what is called the "Latent Heat of Vaporization". Energy can't be destroyed. If your boiler is set up to condense the steam produced you will get it back in the form of sensible heat. You forgot nuclear, Pikey.

That is why water costs energy: it must be vapourized. This can be recovered, indeed, but most times it will vanish in thin air and there condense again.
When my still, that has a round bottom, is cold and I put it on the fire, the water of the burned natural gas condenses on the cold bottom, flows to the lowest part and drips on the burner. But when the kettle is hot, I see no condens.

Nuclear is not energy, it is a very difficult way to waste energy. At least until fusionreactors will work.
But that is drifting off topic.
User avatar
Kareltje
Distiller
 
Posts: 1645
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:29 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:17 am

Like I said, it depends on the design. This is a theoretical discussion. You were throwing around numbers and using terms that were not technically accurate. You can't even calculate it that way.

It may not be practical, but the energy is not lost. The heat is not diminished. The temperature you need to distill is well under 212F, so you could set up a system to condense the steam on your still and get all your energy back. Might not be worth it, but it is possible. There are also vacuum stills, and they could utilize this heat even easier.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Pikey » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:30 pm

badflash wrote:The energy is captured as steam in what is called the "Latent Heat of Vaporization". Energy can't be destroyed. If your boiler is set up to condense the steam produced you will get it back in the form of sensible heat. You forgot nuclear, Pikey.


ok lets look at two different cases here

Case a - 10 ml (10 gm) (Approx 1/2 oz - by weight) of water evaporated and entrained in the "Flame"

Case b - 1000ml (1kg) (Approx 2lb3 oz) of water evaporated and entrained in the flame

I accept that the LAtent heat of vapourisation can be reclaimed (theoretically and partially in practice).

But in case a) - there is a little heat required to raise the 10 ml of water from ambient to bp - at ambient of 20dC that would be around 80x10 calories - = 800cal

in case b the heat required would be 1000 x 80 = 80,000 cal

So when it condenses back, there is still the difference of 79,200 cal which has been used to heat the water - which you wil Not get back. (Yes I am assuming we are distilling water here - but the principle applies to the sliding scale of temperatures needed to distil booze just the same.

Slightly different bent on the question, I have one of these ;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WURZ9TF2jM8

which might just run on ethanol, or at least a diesel/ethanol mixture :D
Pikey
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 2318
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:29 pm
Location: At the edge of the Wild Wood

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:15 pm

Scaling makes no difference. I don't see how you are comparing the two. In any exchange of energy, there is an increase in entropy, which means that nothing is 100% efficient, but if you are burning the same substance and working between the same beginning and ending temperatures, it doesn't matter if you burn 10 ml or a 1000 ml. Subtracting the smaller from the larger is a meaningless exercise. What ever energy you put into the water to make it into steam, you can get back when it is condensed and returned to ambient temperature.

No idea what a fuel powered block heater has to do with this discussion. Drinking a little home made hooch?
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Pikey » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:58 pm

badflash wrote:Scaling makes no difference. I don't see how you are comparing the two. In any exchange of energy, there is an increase in entropy, which means that nothing is 100% efficient, but if you are burning the same substance and working between the same beginning and ending temperatures, it doesn't matter if you burn 10 ml or a 1000 ml. Subtracting the smaller from the larger is a meaningless exercise. What ever energy you put into the water to make it into steam, you can get back when it is condensed and returned to ambient temperature.


But you will not return the temperature of the steam back to "ambient" - you will simply return it to the temperature of the contact surface hence the losses I noted - - Well I tried :roll:


badflash wrote:No idea what a fuel powered block heater has to do with this discussion. Drinking a little home made hooch?


Try looking at the title of the thread :lol:
Pikey
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 2318
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:29 pm
Location: At the edge of the Wild Wood

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:42 pm

Neither the small sample or the large sample return to ambient, so I don't understand why you think they are different. There are also lot of ways to burn alcohol, so a block heater could work. I think there are better ways to use the heads. I have a flex fuel truck as an example.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Pikey » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:30 am

badflash wrote:................ I don't understand ...............


Ok mate :roll:


- Like i said -----"I tried" ................. :ebiggrin:
Pikey
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 2318
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:29 pm
Location: At the edge of the Wild Wood

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby Kareltje » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:43 am

If one could regain all the heat of condensation and cooling of the product at 100 % efficiency one could use this heat to make the wash vapourise. So then one would only need to heat the still to boiling temperature and then it would run by itself.
But 100 % effieciency is not possible.

My calculation was just a rough estimate, starting with a normal still without heat pumps and complicated recovery devices.

Yesterday I ran 7 L low wines of 34 %ABV and it took 18.4 MJ, so equivalent to 1 L of 90 % alcohol.
Making these low wines had already taken 2 stripping runs using a total of about 47 MJ of natural gas.
Final product was 2.566 L of 80 %ABV fores, heads and hearts.
Burning this product would make it possible to do a new stripping run, but no spirit run.
And worse: leave me without a drink. :evil:
User avatar
Kareltje
Distiller
 
Posts: 1645
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:29 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:43 am

That is why it isn't practical and moonshiners use wood or other types of low cost fuel. Unless you have a way to capture and re-use waste heat, you can only get part way there. A complicated heat pump type system could work where a vacuum pump/compressor system, working like a heat pump, would use the compressed vapor to boil the wort.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby The Baker » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:47 am

Kareltje said, 'But 100 % efficiency is not possible.'

The old perpetual motion myth or one of its close relations.

Geoff
The Baker
The Baker
Distiller
 
Posts: 1814
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 4:48 am
Location: Northern Victoria, Australia

Re: Ethanol powered still

Postby badflash » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:14 am

The Baker wrote:Kareltje said, 'But 100 % efficiency is not possible.'

The old perpetual motion myth or one of its close relations.

Geoff

Absolutely correct, but distilation caan be made very efficient, but never 100%. Any heat engine must reject some heat. All the energy that is really needed is what it takes to compress the vapor. All of the latent heat can be captured and only the heat lost from cooling the condensate to ambient is lost. With a system like that, the compressor could be run off of alcohol and you would show a profit as far as alcohol goes. A test device could probably be hacked together from a dehumidifier.
badflash
Swill Maker
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:23 pm


Return to Alcohol as Fuel



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest