Generating Ethanol from Household Waste

E-Fuel Corporation of Los Gatos, California has created an in-home ethanol generator capable of converting standard organic waste products into usable ethanol fuel. The fuel system requires several steps – first the waste must be processed into sugar water and lignin powder, then the sugar water is converted to ethanol, and finally the ethanol is either added to home generators to replace standard electrical power or pumped into automobiles as a gasoline replacement.
 The pump of an E-Fuel MicroFueler ethanol generation system. (Source: E-Fuel Corporation)
The pump of an E-Fuel MicroFueler ethanol generation system. (Source: E-Fuel Corporation)

The MicroFusion Reactor, a standalone appliance, performs the first step in the E-Fuel process. This device breaks organic waste down into sugar water and lignin powder (used in the pharmaceutical industry) in less than two minutes. No specifics about how to process, package, or send the lignin powder to an interested pharmaceutical company is readily available, but the sugar water is the main ingredient required by the E-Fuel MicroFueler, the machine that actually creates usable ethanol fuel.

The MicroFueler was released in 2009 in conjunction with a required service that monitors the system and the quality of the fuel it produces. The unit includes a 50 gallon internal storage tank and houses a standard automobile pump interface for consumers wishing to use the ethanol instead of gasoline in their cars. The entire process is combustion free, making it much safer than other ethanol production methods and thus suitable for household use.

E-Fuel Corporation has not released sales and adoption numbers for the E-Fuel MicroFueler, but the addition of the MicroFusion Reactor to convert common organic waste products into the source sugar water needed by the MicroFueler should make it easier to use and more appealing to homeowners who generate the necessary waste during the course of their normal activities. A new GridBuster component designed to integrate E-Fuel’s ethanol into a household power system, reducing or replacing reliance on the standard electrical grid, should also make the system more appealing to the general consumer.

TFOT previously reported on other biofuels including an industrial method for turning household garbage into ethanol fuel, a method of converting carbon dioxide into a biological fuel without the direct use of plant materials, a biofuel derived from wood and straw that could sell for as little as $2.49 per gallon or 0.50 Euros per liter, a bacteria capable of converting carbon dioxide into liquid fuel, and bugs that excrete a carbon-negative oil-like fuel.

Read more about the E-Fuel system on the company website.