Village scale ethanol production

Small-scale manufacturing plants for producing ethanol on-farm from raw material such as maize, cassava and molasses are now commercially available. One recommended product is ethanol gel which can be used as a safe substitute for paraffin.
The technology is based on American research done into biomass and ethanol manufacturing during the en Small-scale manufacturing plants for producing ethanol on-farm from raw material such as maize, cassava and molasses are now commercially available. One recommended product is ethanol gel which can be used as a safe substitute for paraffin.
The technology is based on American research done into biomass and ethanol manufacturing during the energy crisis of the late seventies and early eighties.
South African business man Orlando Mostert obtained the research results, including the entire design drawings and operating conditions of ethanol plants, with a view of setting up farm-scale plants in Africa for rural upliftment purposes. However, interest in alternative fuel production waned when international oil prices fell after 1986.
Prior to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development Mostert received a grant from the US Agency for International Development to build and test this farm scale ethanol production unit as a demonstration to the Summit that village scale ethanol production is a feasible reality.
Mostert says he can supply a plant capable of producing 1m litre of ethanol, which costs around $300,000, takes up 500sqm and can be operated by two workers. One ton of maize will make 400 litre of ethanol and 300kg of high-protein animal feed as a by-product.
He claims pure ethanol, produced on-farm, can be used as motor vehicle fuel but would need engine modification. However, most vehicles can run on E10, a blend of 10% ethanol and petrol, without adaption, while E85, a blend of 85% percent ethanol and 15% unleaded petrol, is becoming increasingly popular abroad and many makes of cars, called Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV), can run on this combination.
However, Mostert recommends the production of ethanol gel, a thick paste made from ethanol and thickening chemicals that can be used in paraffin stoves instead of paraffin. As ethanol gel does not run like paraffin, its use minimises the danger of burns from spilt paraffin. Ethanol gel also burns hotter and longer than paraffin.
Mostert says one litre of ethanol gel is made from 75% ethanol and 25% water, with chemicals added. A litre can be produced around USC50, packaging included. Gel fuel stoves are already on the market in South Africa and some paraffin stoves can easily be adapted to the use of ethanol gel.
Mostert: Tel +012-654-4002; fax +012 654 4007; aprocot@intekom.co.za