Brew Your Own Ethanol Fuel from Food scraps and Old Newspapers

If there’s one thing all Americans are good at, it’s producing waste: thirty million tons of it a year, in fact. From food scraps to old newspapers, a lot of compostable materials end up in the nation’s landfills. Thomas Quinn, the founder of Silicon Valley start-up E-Fuel wants to change all that.

The E-Fuel system uses two washing machine sized components: the MicroFusion Reactor (which to me conjures up images of Mr. Fusion from Back To The Future Part II) and the MicroFueler. The former reduces organic waste into sugar water and ferments it into a sugary, bacteria-ridden alcoholic soup not unlike bathtub homebrew.

The latter turns this soup into usable ethanol for automotive fuel. The whole process takes about 3 kWh of energy, or about a tenth of the average home’s daily energy usage. That’s less than the 4 to 7.5 kWh it takes to make a gallon of gasoline, at least according to Jacob Ward of the U.S. Department of Energy.

A third component called a GridBuster uses the ambient heat from a portable generator to fuel the whole compost to ethanol process. So good is it, in fact, that a claimed 80 to 90% of the E-Fuel’s power can come from this ambient heat alone.

Quinn sought the assistance of Floyd Butterfield, the inventor behind the legendary Butterfield Sill, to develop the E-Fuel system. Each of the three components are said to cost US$10,000 each, for a total cost of US$30,000 per complete unit.

E-Fuel’s mainstay clientele at the moment are universities and governments who, unlike the vast majority of consumers, are able to shell out copious amounts of money to save a little bit of the planet. In the words of “ethanol expert” David Blume:

“E-Fuel’s machines aren’t cheap, but for early adopters of new technology like this, I think cost really isn’t the issue.”

Quinn hopes consumers will be able to lease the units from distributors, with some seventy already ready for immediate lease in both the U.S. and overseas. A lack of E85 compatible vehicles on the market may stunt E-Fuels growth, though apparently one can convert an E10 vehicle over to flex fuel with relative ease.

Quinn is expecting sales to double this year, though requires an investment of US$25 million to top up the company’s coffers and keep E-Fuel rolling. In his own words:

“In this economy, finding capital is impossible. Banks aren’t taking any risks and we’re facing a green tech bubble that’s popping, because investors have dumped so much money into solar and wind and haven’t seen returns.”

Only time will tell if E-Fuel is the way of the future or another woulda-coulda-shoulda in a long line of clever-if-financially-flawed enviro-tech.

By Tristan Hankins

Source: E-Fuel via CNN


Relive The ‘90s In This Barely-Driven Infiniti M30 Convertible

Like all Infiniti M30s, this one started life as a coupe and was turned into a convertible.

Lexus RC F Set To Star In ‘Men In Black: International Movie’

The Lexus RC F from Men in Black: International is a bespoke alien-fighting machine.

Negligent Jeep Driver Swerves Into Truck, Flips Over Causing Huge Wreck In Illinois

Despite the severity of this crash, nobody was seriously injured, apart from a few scrapes and bruises.

Derelict Lancia Brought Back From The Dead Thanks To Thornley Kelham

Many would claim it was unsalvageable but not Thornley Kelham.

Is Porsche Planning Panamera Coupe And Convertible?

The rumored two-door Porsches might actually ditch the Panamera moniker and could arrive as early as 2020.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Sales Momentum In USA Is A Priority For The Company

JLR wants to keep growing in the US while trying to find a solution for China, Europe.

Elon Musk Says Tesla Will Launch A “Compelling” Insurance Product

Elon Musk says Tesla will use Autopilot data to help provide competitive insurance prices.

Audi A6 Tries On A Darker Look With New Black Edition Spec

The Audi A6 Black Edition starts from £44,635 and features black trim inside and out.

Porsche’s Panamera Is Celebrating Its 10-Year Anniversary

Porsche launched itself into a brand new market segment roughly 10 years ago with the Panamera.

Lynk & Co Cyan Racing Launches 12-Episode WTCR Documentary

The series will follow the team behind the scenes throughout the 2019 season.