DIY Ethanol: Startup E-Fuel to Sell Ethanol Kit

Backyard biofuels is the latest venture of entrepreneurs Floyd Butterfield and Thomas Quinn. The two have started the E-Fuel Corporation, which will sell a washer-and-dryer-sized home ethanol system called the E-Fuel 100 MicroFueler for $10,000 (though it could be half of that with government incentives) according to a profile in the New York Times.

The system requires sugar plus yeast to create ethanol (no surprise there) and the company says the MicroFueler can make ethanol for a dollar a gallon. One of the product’s innovations is supposedly an advanced membrane distiller that can separate water from alcohol with fewer steps and lower heat than other ethanol systems.

Who are the guys behind the DIY ethanol kit? The article says Butterfield has been working on ethanol still designs for decades, and Quinn is responsible for innovations like the motion sensor in the Nintendo Wii.

While we applaud the distributed and DIY aspect of the duo’s design, we don’t think the technology will be as revolutionary as the entrepreneurs tell the Times:

“It’s going to cause havoc in the market and cause great financial stress in the oil industry,” Mr. Quinn boasts.

If this technology could offer something to the commercial world and help ethanol producers become more distributed, then the product could be game-changing. But as a backyard, DIY biofuel system? We’re thinking the hobbyists will be the most impressed.