BIY (Blend It Yourself)?
August 16, 2008
OK, so I picked up a free copy of the Industrial Biotechnology journal at this weeks SIM meeting and in it they had something that caught my eye. It is a small company called E-Fuel that is coming out with a home ethanol distilling system. Yes, you read that right. It is a big box with a gas pump on it that you dump raw sugar and yeast into and out comes ethanol. Apparently it uses membrane distilling instead of traditional heat distilling so things won’t explode on you. They claim that making a gallon of ethanol costs about $1.25 and that you can even dump alcoholic drinks into it and run them straight through the membrane system to recover the ethanol in there for $0.10 a gallon.
The E-Fuel home ethanol production system
I’m not too sure who is going to buy this thing. I can’t imagine your average joe going out and buying big sacks of sugar (it takes about 10lbs per gallon) to feed this thing. Especially if you live in a humid climate, your sugar will be slowly decompose on you sitting in your garage (not to mention your massive new ant problem). I suppose that it does make sense for some customers. If you are a winery or brewery that does have large amounts of alcohol that you discard this could make sense (not to mention your local colleges fraternity – all that stale beer will be put to good use on Sunday mornings). I can also imagine a big aftermarket and hack culture growing up around this thing. People will make mods to use starches and maybe even cellulose efficiently and since it’s basically a rum refinery in your driveway, I can imagine mods to create your drink of choice. Maybe modify the membrane to be not so perfect in its operation and let some of the impurities through that would make a good hard liquor.