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Hairyloon

Wood alcohol.

I ran out of methanol recently and also out of money to buy more, so I built a still to see what I could extract from my stock of waste glycerol... I got enough for the next batch of diesel.
It was not very efficient, but as an experiment it did not need to be, and insulation is probably the answer to that.

That set me to wondering about distilling methanol out of wood, which is how they made it in the olden days... and I've just cut my hedge so I'm wondering if privet will be any good as a feedstock.

Any thoughts or comments?
Jamanda

Link
Nick

Promise me you're doing it outside.
Mistress Rose

Very interesting. The major problem with producing any fuel from sawdust, brash or waste straw of any kind is the breaking down of the cellulose and other woody structures. Anyone that can overcome that could do really well with a renewable fuel for vehicles and other engines.
Hairyloon

Promise me you're doing it outside.

The glycol still was in the shed, and I wasn't. The wood still will be outside.
Hairyloon

Very interesting. The major problem with producing any fuel from sawdust, brash or waste straw of any kind is the breaking down of the cellulose and other woody structures. Anyone that can overcome that could do really well with a renewable fuel for vehicles and other engines.

It is easy enough to break down the cellulose, you just need to get it hot enough. I'm not convinced about it for vehicles, and as far as I am concerned, vehicle fuel is a problem that has been solved.
For a static generator wood gas is what I'm planning.
The question is: can I combine a wood gasifier and a methanol still into one device?
dpack

you could but i wouldnt go anywhere near it

methanol has a low flashpoint and a high vapour pressure as well as a good range of vapour to air ratios for a good bang

for good bangs see what happens when a methanol fueled drag racer goes bad

ps it is quite toxic by inhalation and skin absorption ,at the least a proper respirator/solvent suit that is rated for methanol and a very big foam fire extinguisher would be a good investment

nasty stuff and getting it hot makes it very cross
Hairyloon

ps it is quite toxic by inhalation and skin absorption...
I'd go to very toxic. But I don't think it is cumulative over a long period.

Quote:
at the least a proper respirator/solvent suit that is rated for methanol and a very big foam fire extinguisher would be a good investment

I think a suit would be going overboard, but I'd add a big box of wine to your list since ethanol is the first aid treatment for methanol poisoning.
I generally take the treatment as a precaution anyway. Wink
vegplot

There has been work/research on bacteria breaking down cellulose into methanol. I no nothing more about it than that but might be worth researching if you like biology. Jamanda

Any one else remember Flixborough? Hairyloon

Any one else remember Flixborough?
How big do you think I am going to do this?

Though I have just found out about the biogas injection eligibility for feed in tariffs, so I think this plan goes on the shelf for now...

Which is not to say it shouldn't still be open for discussion.
Mistress Rose

Glad you have gone off the idea Hairyloon. From what I could see it definitely wasn't something to carry out in the back garden. Anyway, with your recent good ideas, glad I don't live next door to you. Very Happy

Vegplot there has been a lot of work on various method of breaking down cellulose, currently mainly favouring bacteria. The goal is to get useable fuel of some kind from waste from wood processing or farming. A good way to go imo. There have been quite a lot of articles about it in the Chemistry journals over the last few years.
Hairyloon

Anyway, with your recent good ideas, glad I don't live next door to you. Very Happy
I'm pretty sure the explosion risk is minimal, and if there are noxious fumes coming out of the still, then it is not working properly.

I suppose the hammering from the basement at 3am might upset some people, but the lodger has never complained...

I might turn out to be a very good chap to live next door to: most of the current ideas involve the production of cheap, renewable heat, and likely far more than I can use, so (if I ever get it working) I was going to offer to run a heating pipe through to them as well.
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