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Burning Ethanol, even in cars, produces the Greenhouse Gas CO2. But why then is it considered an Alternative Energy that helps the planet?

Ethanol above 100 proof, or 50% ethanol 50% water will burn. Itís common in Brazil where they grow a lot of sugarcane, which in turn is fermented into ethanol.

In the growing of sugarcane, sugar beats, and other natural green plants, the process sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere. However, when fermented and burned, it produces less greenhouse gas than the green plant removed, so you have a net benefit to the environment.

Simple huh!

Now, ethanol can be distilled, thus purified, through distillation, just like seawater. The difference is the boiling temperature, (near room temperature,) and the height of the vacuum column needed to do the job are different. The exact height, depends on your altitude. The higher you are, the shorter the column.

With water, a 40-foot one gives you about 10 feet at the top for vapor. Like with clouds. The ethanol will boil first, so you can gage what you are getting as an output by the liquid height in the column.

However, use a calibrated hydrometer to be sure of the output.

In some installations, you may have to run the liquid through the still multiple times.

Iím going to direct you now to the pages that teach about the water column still. The principle is the same, just the liquid height, and temperature, are different for ethanol.

And when you have a combination of ethanol and water, the ethanol will come off first, and the liquid in the column will then rise to the water level. It's not perfect, so check your output with an hydrometer as you learn the process.

A big advantage is that you donít have to burn anything this way, and you can use other Alternative Energies to do the work.

Go to the column still explanation

Now there is another difference that should be noted. With a regular still, about the best you can get is 95%. The remainder is called the ďAzeotrope.Ē

Itís customary to shake together ethanol and gasoline to make Gasohol. The problem is that you have to burn it soon because it separates, on account of that tiny bit of water. They just hope you donít park your car for very long.

The standard way to purify the ethanol is with a Benzene process, which is poisonous. Of course so is Gasoline. But Benzene is also expensive.

Hereís a trick, the Azeotrope of ethanol in the vapor cloud at the top of a column still is almost nothing. Of course, the ethanol result is also hydroscopic, so as soon as you remove it, it starts to suck water out of the air.

In that vaper zone we can replace the Azeotrope water with Gasoline. Then you have real Gasohol that doesnít separate.

If you live in the U.S. they have a lot of regulations on ethanol, and you can get an experimental permit from the Federal Government, however I have no knowledge about other places. You have to check this all out for yourself.

But if youíre a farmer, or an island builder, this might make a good cash crop. And they donít shoot at you while crossing the border.

There are several other advantages to this method:

  1. The process is at room temperature. Thus the column still can be made out of PVC thin wall sewer pipe, you can get at almost any hardware store. In fact, you can make it out of clear plastic pipe so you can see what's going on.
  2. Itís cheap.
  3. Glue it as best you can, and if you have leaks, rub toilet bowl sealing wax into the leak from the outside. It works great and doesnít cost much.
  4. The bottom of the column can be those 5 gallon buckets they sell cheap at the hardware stores.
  5. However, there may be things in your implamentation that donít go right. So have that output tested, by a competent agency from time to time. Especially if you are going to sell the output.

Write me and tell me how it went, with pictures too.

    Thanks for your interest.

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