With gas prices rising to record highs, individuals are looking for ways to cut that cost and one company are ready to give it to them. A California based company, E-fuel Corporation has just announced their newest product, a do-it-yourself home ethanol refinery. The Efuel100 home ethanol system is about the size of a refrigerator and can produce about 35 gallons of pure ethanol in just under seven days. While the company boast about how simple, cheap and effective the small refinery is, the simple facts just don’t seem to be adding up.
The process requires massive amounts of sugar, water and about $1 worth of a proprietary yeast developed by the company. Approximately 350 to 490 pounds of raw sugar and about 140 gallons of water are needed to make one 35 gallon batch of ethanol. If you factor in the cost of the $10,000 refinery, the travel cost to pickup 400 pounds of sugar every week and water and electricity, I have a strong feeling that $1 per gallon is a pipe dream.
As we have stated many times before, food based ethanol is a bad idea, even on a small scale like this. Chances are, this type of small scale ethanol production will only drive up the cost of raw sugar making the mini refinery less economical and disrupting food prices world wide.