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Author Topic: Brainstorm: Alternatives to heat distillation? Back to Topics
darwinfinch

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Message Posted: Jan 13, 2014 5:03:18 PM

--Brainstorming thread--

The biorefinery of the present uses heat (generally from LNG or burned biomass) to boil and distill ethanol.

Is anyone working on alternatives? Are there different ways to mechanically or chemically separate the ethanol?

And/or is anyone working on an engine which can run on dissolved ethanol, perhaps distilling as it goes or simply dealing with the water portion differently?
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goldseeker
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Message Posted: Jan 18, 2014 10:42:03 AM

Today, gasoline use is legal in many countries, however it carries certain health hazards -- a number of unwanted by-products from the vapors created when you burn gas and also from just evaporation has been proven to cause cancer. With nearly 1/2 million cancer deaths per year, why don't we do something about this nasty ole gasoline?

[Edited by: goldseeker at 1/18/2014 10:41:04 AM EST]
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darwinfinch
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Message Posted: Jan 17, 2014 12:54:44 PM

Even if freeze distillation doesn't remove everything, couldn't it be used as a pre-distillation process, followed up by heat distillation for the final stages?
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borsht
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Message Posted: Jan 17, 2014 12:51:39 PM

Hello Silverstreaker;
I just mentioned that primarily as a warning that one shouldn't be doing this at home because of the potential health hazard.
Anyone contemplating doing this must check for the legal status himself.
As well as being aware of the danger.

I suggested it as a light hearted suggestion to the ethanol crowd, that they could take advantage of the winter cold in the mid-west.

Today, freeze distillation of alcoholic beverages is illegal in many countries, as it carries certain health hazards -- a number of unwanted by-products of fermentation (which are mostly removed by heat distillation) tend to accumulate in freeze-distilled beverages to an unhealthy level.
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Banjoe
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Message Posted: Jan 17, 2014 8:53:25 AM

Diffusion and centrifuge seem to be used to enrich uranium. Sound like expensive and small batch processes that wouldn't be resource effective for major distillation plants.

I like the thermal separation concept especially with all this cold weather we're presently 'enjoying'.
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darwinfinch
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Message Posted: Jan 16, 2014 11:23:48 AM

Interesting.

[Edited by: darwinfinch at 1/16/2014 11:22:37 AM EST]
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SoylentGrain
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Message Posted: Jan 16, 2014 10:41:12 AM

"Are modifications to vehicles needed to run hydrous ethanol? What are the benefits of anhydrous?"

Basically, the same FFVs are used in Brazil as here. There's no benefit to using anhydrous ethanol. The ATF requires US ethanol be denatured, so people will not drink it. This means getting most of the water out to denature the ethanol with gasoline. It's an expensive process.
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darwinfinch
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Message Posted: Jan 16, 2014 9:35:00 AM

Are modifications to vehicles needed to run hydrous ethanol? What are the benefits of anhydrous?
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goldseeker
Champion Author West Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 16, 2014 4:00:32 AM

Ethanol plants on waste energy.
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goldseeker
Champion Author West Virginia

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Message Posted: Jan 16, 2014 3:53:34 AM

soylentgrain has a good point. In Brazil they do not remove the last bit of water which leaves them with about 96% ethanol. Folks at the ethanol plants tell me if they could do this here the price of ethanol would drop 25-30 cents per gallon.
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SilverStreaker
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Message Posted: Jan 15, 2014 10:47:25 PM

borsht says "they could use freeze distillation as part of the process.
this is illegal for beverages, since the process doesn't have the selectivity of thermal distillation"
Please site the law that makes this illegal.
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borsht
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Message Posted: Jan 15, 2014 10:04:22 PM

Possibly with all the cold in the mid-west they could use freeze distillation as part of the process.
this is illegal for beverages, since the process doesn't have the selectivity of thermal distillation.
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SoylentGrain
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Message Posted: Jan 15, 2014 9:02:05 AM

Interesting thought.

As far as water fractions, hydrous ethanol is used in Brazil. While it is a distilled product, less energy is used to make it and, in all likelihood, it would be a more efficient fuel than the anhydrous for we use in the US.
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SilverStreaker
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Message Posted: Jan 14, 2014 1:11:16 PM

A molecular sieve may work, but I don't know if it would be more cost effective.
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