We are all looking for ways to eliminate the intermediary and be more self-sufficient. We see many people going back to the idea of subsistence agriculture and solar panels. So, what about feeding your car with an alternative energy source?
Secondly, how about learning how to make methanol so that you never have to worry about your fuel source again? While some might call it a crazy concept, survivors know how important it is to be prepared for the unknown. You never know when our world could undergo a drastic change, and it is better to be ready at all times.
What is methanol?
Methanol is used as an alternative fuel used in several countries around the world. It can be combined with gasoline or used alone. It was produced for the first time through a distillation process of wood which is what earned it the name “wood alcohol”. Nowadays, there are several methods that can be used to produce methanol. Some are more complex than others, and there are also ways to produce methanol at home.
Once you learn how to make methanol fuel, you can accumulate your own personal supply and replenish your stocks as needed. Some methods of methanol production include the use of carbon dioxide and renewable energy sources. Many experts see this as a way of recycling carbon. It is also colorless and odorless with several advantages.
Advantages of methanol fuel.
There are a number of benefits to using this alternative fuel. Understanding these benefits will encourage more people to choose this type of fuel in the future.
- Methanol is a form of fuel in itself, but it can also be used to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen can be used for fuel cells.
- Methanol has a higher octane than ethanol and gasoline, which is probably why they use this alternative fuel in the racing world.
- The production and use of methanol can help alleviate pressures on oil companies and the demand for petroleum-based fuel sources.
- There are also important environmental and health benefits from the process, and the use of this fuel does not harm our delicate ecosystems such as oil and similar forms of fuel.
- You would not have to change the way you refuel your vehicle, as it can be pumped as you would with regular gasoline.
- Methanol is not as volatile as gasoline because of its high flash point. This means that it burns at a lower temperature and at a slower rate.
- Methanol is soluble in water, which means that water will dilute this substance so that it does not harm the environment. Just think about the effect of all those unpleasant oil spills!
Disadvantages of methanol fuel
While the advantages are great, it is also important to understand the possible disadvantages so that you can prepare properly.
- Due to the corrosive nature of methane, it is essential that all equipment and storage tanks are resistant to corrosion. Otherwise, you may suffer a spill or leak. Stainless steel tanks are usually your best option along with special hoses and tubes resistant to corrosion.
- Current fuel stations do not allow methanol to be offered as an option. The tanks should be modified, as well as the hoses and various parts of the refueling system. Of course, this is a problem on a large scale, and if you plan to learn how to make methanol fuel for yourself, this will not be a cause for concern.
- Compared to gasoline, methanol only offers half the energy, which means that refueling will have to occur more frequently.
- Depending on several factors, gasoline can be cheaper, at least, most of the time.
- Mixing methanol with gasoline makes it more volatile.
- Direct contact with the skin, inhalation or digestion can cause several medical problems, but the same can be said for several sources of fuel.
Uses for methanol
In addition to feeding our vehicles, there are several interesting uses for methanol. As time passes, more research may reveal even greater uses for this alternative source. An interesting use is wastewater denitrification. In other words, methanol is added to water streams to help eliminate nitrogen. This is important because, at this point, wastewater is treated with ammonia. Ammonia interacts with wastewater, resulting in high levels of nitrate.
Water can never be returned to the environment due to the devastating effects of these nitrates, but methanol can help solve this problem. Another possible use is that of electricity generation. Several companies are working on methanol-powered turbines as an alternative energy source. Methanol is also used in the biodiesel production process. Its function is to decompose the different oils so they can be used as biodiesel.
Make methanol fuel at home.
Many people buy methanol, while others prefer to do it themselves. Doing it yourself will mean you never have to worry about running out of fuel, as long as you have the raw materials and equipment at hand.
What will you need?
The first thing you will need is a still. It must be able to close completely and withstand the heat. Given the corrosive nature of methanol, experts recommend stainless steel. Anything, even slightly lower, could cause spills and other damage. You will also need your fuel source.
Most people choose wood, but there are also those who prefer to add remains of vegetables to the mix. If you have a lot of compost in your garden, you may have to start choosing between using the remains of vegetables for fertilizer or fuel. You will also need a collection vessel to contain the methanol.
Remember to practice adequate security at all times. Never rush the process and do not take unnecessary risks. Always wear appropriate clothing and protective clothing. Methanol can be dangerous when inhaled, and can also affect your eyes and skin, so be sure to invest in durable protective clothing before you start.
Prepare the wood
The wood can be used in shaved or fragmented form. It should be noted that the smaller the wood, the easier it is to extract the methanol. This is due to the way the heating process works. Therefore, if your wood is still large enough, you will have to do whatever it takes to reduce it to the smallest possible size.
Put the firewood in the heating yet. Secure the lid and make sure there is a tube that goes from the still to the other container. As with the fixed and collection container, it is essential that you use the correct type of pipe due to the high level of corrosion. You may even find that the hose must be replaced from time to time, and it is essential to check and test the hose each time before using it.
Heat the still with an open flame. As a result, the interior wood will heat up, but it will not really burn as if you were lighting a fire. The still is essentially inhibiting the combustion process to be able to extract the methanol. If you burn the wood, it will completely destroy the process.
Methanol will increase in gas form, and this gas is obviously warmer than the air that surrounds it. Like warm, moisture-laden air, condensation forms in a window during winter, just as gas condenses and forms a liquid once it comes into contact with colder environments. This liquid will drip into the receiving container until the process is completed.
It is important to understand that, like any type of fuel, there are guidelines and storage restrictions. It is important to consult with your local Fire Marshal and verify the construction code regarding the maximum amount that can be stored in your facility. The amount that you are allowed to store is also subject to strict regulations. These include sufficient ventilation systems, explosion-proof electrical systems, spill containment, fire protection and special storage cabinets.
It is also important that any other flammable, corrosive or dangerous substance be kept away from your methanol supply. You should also check your stock regularly to detect possible problems or leaks. The sooner you notice any problem, the greater your chances of avoiding major damage. Depending on how you store your methanol, you can “stay” for quite a long time.
Remember that methanol absorbs water in the atmosphere, so you need to keep it tightly closed when stored. Once you open the container, you should use its contents as soon as possible, as the seal broke and the exposure to humidity in the room increases.
In case of emergency
Due to the risk of fire, it is always good to have the appropriate fire fighting equipment at hand. Methanol is burned with a non-luminous flame that can hinder vision in well-lit areas. If you observe a small fire, you can use a fairly standard fire extinguisher. Water is good for putting out these fires, but it also needs to contain water because, as it runs, it can cause the fire to spread before it is turned off.
You need to use four times more water than the amount of methanol in flames. The safest bet of all is to use alcohol-resistant foam (AR-AFFF) because it includes a significant amount of water but, due to the foam, will not spread like normal water.
Possible risk factors.
If you plan to make your own fuel, it is very important that you follow the correct safety procedures. Although not as flammable as gasoline, methanol still presents a fire risk, so you should take all necessary precautions and be prepared in case of an emergency. You should also make sure that the room you are working in is well ventilated, since inhaling the fumes can have serious side effects. Nor would it be wrong to have someone with you or, at least, someone who controls you every few minutes.
Contact with the skin can also cause a severe reaction, so be sure to wear the appropriate protective clothing and, in particular, avoid contact with the mouth, nose and eyes. If you notice that your container of fixed material or catchment is damaged in some way, you should delay repairs. First transfer the remaining methanol to another suitable container before working on the damaged one. While some professionals do not mind welding containers filled with methanol, others understand that this is an incredible risk and should be avoided.
Stainless steel for welding will require specific welding equipment and materials to be able to do the job correctly, so in some cases it may be better to buy a new still or have a professional do the welding instead of doing it yourself.
Fuel for a rainy day
You never know when our current fuel resources will run out. As soon as they begin to run out, you can expect some people to panic. It is at these times when your own personal fuel supply will be extremely useful! That said, it’s always important to use your supply and replenish it. Do not just accumulate an offer and leave it unused. Once you use some tanks, be prepared to replace them with some more so that you never run out!
Always store your tanks in a cool, dry place and never under the sun. Mark each barrel with a date so you know which ones are the oldest and should be used first. If you plan to use your stock as a fuel additive in your car, you should check with your mechanic, since methanol is more corrosive than other types of fuel.
DO IT YOURSELF