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Are Cars of the future running on sugar?

by on09 May 2008


Home ethanol product uses yeast and sugar to make fuel

A Los Gatos, California company known as E-Fuel Corporation has created the EFuel100 MicroFueler, which it is calling "earth’s first home ethanol product." It resembles a bulky washing machine  and works similarly:  it hooks up to a water source, a power source, and a waste water disposal outlet--"just like a washing machine," according to Floyd Butterfield, E-Fuel's Vice President of Biofuels and Technology.

The MicroFueler must first be loaded with yeast, water, and sugar "feedstock" (sugar not intended for human consumption) and then allowed to ferment and be processed into ethanol.  Once the process is complete, the consumer can hook the MicroFueler to a car and dispense ethanol just like a gas pump using electricity.

The company was founded by its CEO, Tom Quinn, in 2007. He indicated in a press release that, “E-Fuel will have a profound impact on the way we obtain and consume fuel, not unlike the paradigm shift that occurred in the 80s from the mainframe computer to the PC.  Just as the PC brought desktop computing to the home, E-Fuel will bring the filling station to the home. Making local sugar-based ethanol fuel production possible, E-Fuel can solve the commercial ethanol transportation and pump station problems while providing consumers lower cost fuel due to micro-efficiencies.”

Quinn went on to say, “Henry Ford started the automobile revolution using ethanol, predicting that this renewable and accessible fuel would become the ‘fuel of the future.’ If not for the Prohibition laws in the 1920 and the subsequent rise of the oil industry, ethanol may never have lost its public appeal.”

The MicroFueler is not cheap: it is priced at $9,995, but there will likely be carbon tax credits and ethanol incentives available from states and the federal government in the future that will help subsidize the price.  The company claims that ethanol can be produced by the EFuel 100 MicroFueler for less than $1.00/gallon.  And they claim that breweries, restaurants and bars can re-use discarded alcoholic beverages to create ethanol for as little as $.10/gallon.  Now we’re talking the ultimate recycling!!

E-Fuel says the MicroFuelers are available for pre-order now upon payment of a deposit, and will ship in Q4 of 2008.  The Efuel100 MicroFueler is available in the U.S. and will also be distributed to Brazil and China.

Read more here.

Last modified on 09 May 2008
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