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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sugarcane is a cheaper way to make ethanol than corn, but only two states in America can grow it, which is why most ethanol comes from corn. Brazil has a rather massive amount of ethanol produced from sugarcane, having been doing this for decades now, so you know its possible.

If I wanted to produce my own fuel this way, how much land would I need per gallon produced, and how would I setup a small backyard ethanol producer? Don't you just toss sugar into water and it ferments on its own?

Getting sugar from sugar cane seems rather easy. Something anyone can setup. You just squeeze it. Check YouTube for videos on that.

Anyway ever try or look into this?
 

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Sugar, water, yeast, a bit of time spent in the proper sterile environment and then run it through a reflux still and you have 190 - 195 proof alcohol, water, fertilizer and high protein animal feed.
 

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Google is your friend. There was some fiction about hemp being good for making bio fuels but it appears to be fictional. I don't have the link but you are correct corn isn't the best. I believe 80-100 gallons is normal per acre from corn and sugar cane is in the 300 per acre range. There is a wheat grass ( blue ) that suggests 400-500 gallons per acre and is the one to look at. I'm also hearing elephant grass is feasible and close to 400 gallons an acre. You also need lye, and a few chemicals. Production cost runs $1-1.5 per gallon plus your stock material.
 

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What about sugar beets they grow even in cold ares like Wisconsin. Well at least until the government stopped it.
 

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Makes you wonder just what you could get away with in terms of easy ways to get the sugars, edible or inedible. I know that basically, you can moonshine flexfuel. A guy I saw does it, you need a fairly reasonable permit. You can use toxic materials because it's not for human consumption like non food grade containers ect. You have to add so much toxic chemical to ensure it's non drinkable but still, even if I ran a set of mash like that and stilled it, it would be damn near toxic by itself. we're talking like 230-340 proof. The stuff is like racing fuel, it's badass. Sugar beets? I mean man, you could kill two birds with one stone there if you had the equipment and field. Then on the other hand cane is a tropical thing, whereas I've made strong shine off agave nectar, which is desert/tropical. I know nothing about growing sugar cane or how it works. I ate it one time, it was a stick you gnawed. The yeast is special too, it needs to be resistant to it's own alcohol.
 

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The by product left over from make ethanol is a good feed source also so it is a better return than it looks if managed right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Google is your friend. There was some fiction about hemp being good for making bio fuels but it appears to be fictional. I don't have the link but you are correct corn isn't the best. I believe 80-100 gallons is normal per acre from corn and sugar cane is in the 300 per acre range. There is a wheat grass ( blue ) that suggests 400-500 gallons per acre and is the one to look at. I'm also hearing elephant grass is feasible and close to 400 gallons an acre. You also need lye, and a few chemicals. Production cost runs $1-1.5 per gallon plus your stock material.
I Google about but don't see any comparison charts on any official government website. Odd. Anyway, different things take different time periods to grow. And of course, different things are growable at different times of the year.

If other things are better than corn, why don't they use them? From what I find online, it cost a lot to setup some large scale operations.

I was thinking just using a tractor to grow enough of something to make its own fuel, to be self sufficient that way if possible, would be something worth doing.
 

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I just came back from Europe through Dover, Delaware, drove for about 36 hours to get back home. One thing I noticed is that they are growning sugarcane around Dover. They were growing sugar beets in England and Germany as well as corn. If I wanted to make alchohol I think I would start with corn not beets or cane.
 

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You're also going to need a high quality reflux still and process to produce fuel-grade ethanol...drinkin' quality is a piece of cake...getting fuel-grade is tougher...not to mention the fact that straight out of the still...even 95% ethanol carries enough water that not all ethanol/gasoline mixtures will work well...

If you're going to make hydrous ethanol, you'll need additional steps (dehydration) before you can just blend it with gasoline yourself...

Best bet is to convert your engines to run the raw hydrous ethanol itself.
 

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I'm not familiar with ethanol but I am bio diesel and there are similarities. The later isn't real expensive. My brother has purchased a system in the $2000 range that can make about 80 gallons in 6-7 hrs. He is hoping to triple that in the future.
 

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Many years ago Sugar beets were grown in Wisconsin it was a profitable crop that bailed a lot of Wisconsin farmers out of debt.
However it was "destabilizing sugar prices" so the government put an allotment system in place killing off the sugar beet boom.
My father in law long sense pasted worked with a UW German Professor that showed farmers how they could grow them here.
He told us many times if it had not been for sugar beets they would have lost the farm.
Beats are still grown some here but not the sugar beet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Allotment system? Do you mean they eliminated a subsidy program? The Wikipedia says
The United States imports 30% of its sugar from other countries, while the remaining 70% is extracted from domestically grown sugar beets and sugarcane. Of the domestically grown sugar crops, over half of the extracted sugar is derived from sugar beets, and the rest from sugarcane.
Seems like they'd want more sugar beets instead of less, to eliminate the need for foreign imports.
 

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Allotment system? Do you mean they eliminated a subsidy program? The Wikipedia says Seems like they'd want more sugar beets instead of less, to eliminate the need for foreign imports.
You must understand that happen a long time back and yes they wanted to support foreign sugar prices .
Foreign imports has been and still is a big part of our foreign policy.
An Allotment was required to grow Tobacco also, Years ago if you had one here it added a major kick to the price when you sold the farm.
 
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