E-Fuel Introduces Production Model of Home Ethanol System
04 June 2009
E-Fuel Corporation has unveiled the final production model of the E-Fuel MicroFueler. The final MicroFueler product, which starts shipping in July to customers in California, is more than 60% smaller and 80% lighter when compared to the original concept unit shown last year.
|Design of the MicroFueler. Click to enlarge.|
The size and weight reduction is due to several design improvements to the core ethanol conversion column that is now capable of processing various organic waste material, as well as cellulosic and algae feedstocks.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA plans to install a MicroFueler this year and use its beer waste to power its vehicles. The State of California’s Department of General Services is also exploring a pilot program to test the MicroFueler with its flex-fuel vehicles.
E-Fuel has identified billions of gallons of organic waste worldwide which can act as the primary source of fuel for MicroFueler production of ethanol. One example is the “beer slurry” discarded from breweries. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co discards 1.6 million gallons of beer slurry each year, and has agreed to test MicroFuelers at its plant, with a goal of creating its own E-Fuel E100 ethanol for its fleet of vehicles and other purposes.
The MicroFueler is available for US customers for $9,995.00, not including any federal, state or local rebates.
The MicroFueler solution has been expanded to include the new GridBuster electric generator. The MicroFueler supports the optional GridBuster through a direct-connect fuel feed and intelligent control circuitry. The fuel is automatically combined with 50% water for optimal efficiency ad pumped to the GridBuster.
Given what might very well be a desirability, if not an urgency to reduce our consumption of energy from fossil carbon, the development by E-Fuel Corporation of their ethanol production system is, I would think, good news.
I can't help worry though, about a potential show-stopper issue. Just as development of breeder reactors and plutonium recycling was scuttled by the showstopper issue of plutonium diversion by terrorists to make nuclear weapons, I'm worried that all that high-grade ethanol will create a diversion problem, if you know what I mean.
Its not that I actively want to see ethanol abandoned as a motor fuel, but I am concerned we will have to deal with an at least potential alcohol abuse problem.
Posted by: Alex Kovnat | 04 June 2009 at 05:32 PM
Not only is distillation of ethanol from weak solutions very energy-intensive, from the appearance of this unit the heat comes from an electric resistance element.
If the energy balance of corn ethanol made in a large-scale distillery is only 1.3:1, ethanol made in one of this is going to be a long way sub-unity. Such wastefulness is greenwashing, pure and simple. Both the supplier and buyers should be ashamed.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 04 June 2009 at 06:47 PM
I think it may be a more energy independence ploy. People can feel that no matter what happens, they can get some fuel for their car. It may be more survivalist than environmentalist in nature.
Posted by: SJC | 04 June 2009 at 09:19 PM
What is really needed is an electrochemical cell that produces pentane from natural gas; a reverse fuel cell. A methane generator coupled with a compressor for natural gas vehicles would be more fuel efficient. It is now time to start using nuclear reactors to produce liquid fuels, and we can start by using them to provide steam for fuel refining and synthesis gas production and tar sand extraction. Oil shale processing is also useful.
US style power reactors cannot make both electricity and bomb plutonium. The plutonium in standard used fuel rods cannot be used for effective bombs because it has the wrong mix of isotopes. With the invention of the Uranium centrifuge, there is a much easier way of making, much easier to make, uranium bombs. More people were killed by malaria last year alone than all the people killed in both war bomb blasts. Every live thing has always had built in radio-activity so there is no really good reason to worry about a little bit more.
If any of you think that you should be worried about a little bit more, then move immediately to sea level or below where there is less natural nuclear radiation. Also living on a boat will keep you further away from soil radiation and radon. Try a houseboat on the Salton Sea or the Dead Sea. None of this will stop you from getting additional radiation from all the food that you eat.
We also know and use far more than adequate methods to protect people from radio-active materials used in nuclear power plants. These are similar to those that are used to protect people from being killed by the sun. There is even an approved operating repository adequate for used fuel rods in the US; it is called WIPP. There is far more than enough room for it to be expanded to enough area for all of the spent rods for hundreds of years. The radio-active materials for a thousand years of nuclear power could be safely reduced to a cube 100 feet on a side or less.
Fission power plants actually reduce the amount of radio-active materials on the earth, but fusion power plants can increase them unlimitedly, and would be the cheapest source of neutrons for making plutonium 239 out of uranium 238. Some proposed types of fusion reactors are far less bomb proliferation resistant than most operating fission reactors.
There is no chance that enough money could be spent to make automobiles and cigarettes and alcohol safer than nuclear power. In Finland, the high alcohol consumption actually prevents death from arterial disease whilst increasing those from liver disease.
Nuclear electricity can be and is generated for less than $0.05 per kilowatt hour capital costs and all. This means that hydrogen with all the heat energy in a gallon of gasoline can be made for $3.50 if the process is only half efficient. But electric cars now go 350 miles on the same amount of electricity. ..HG..
Posted by: Henry Gibson | 05 June 2009 at 02:59 PM
We could put banana peels into the Mr. Fusion on the back of our De Lorean hover mobile :)
Posted by: SJC | 05 June 2009 at 03:44 PM
Waiting for fusion (which has been 20 years from commercial use for the last 50 years) is pointless. We already have the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, which is what fusion wanted to be; just blow off the dust from 40 years of neglect.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 06 June 2009 at 08:08 PM
It is equally pointless to use nuclear power to create chemical fuels, continuing the inefficiency and pollution of internal combustion engines. Time to go electric.
Posted by: Engineer-Poet | 06 June 2009 at 08:09 PM