Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Company Launches Brew-Your-Own Ethanol Machine

A company called E-Fuel just released the $10,000 "MicroFueler", a machine that brews 35 gallons of ethanol per week for as low as $1 per gallon. This according to a report at Reuters. All you have to do is feed it sugar (10-14 pounds to make a single gallon, according to an NY Times report on the story). No, sugar's not free (about $.20 per pound, according to the Times). But E-fuel is working on distributing surplus supplies of "inedible sugar" (which costs about 2.5 cents per pound) to MicroFueler owners for cheap.

Check out
this picture of the MicroFueler at the CNET.co.uk. Is it just Pound360, or does this adorable little machine seem like a giant Easy Bake oven for people that absolutely must prove they're the greenest family on the block?

E-fuel's goal is to "break the traditional ethanol system." Their competitive advantage (over traditional ethanol refineries) is using "special fine filters" to separate water from fuel. Most ethanol plants must distil the water, a costly process. Oh, they
sidestep the whole insanity of using corn for fuel, too.

One major problem of note for would-be MicroFueler buyers: According to the Times article, it's illegal in the United States to fuel a car with pure ethanol (unless you're driving a Formula One racer or, go figure, a tractor).

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.