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Old 06-23-2009, 12:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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lawn mower fuel from grass?

would it be possible to make ethanol from grass?

when i bought my house it came with a nice electric lawnmower, wich unfortunately since we increased the size of our lawn, is no longer big enough. My still had a rusty but trusty petrol powered lawnmower they no longer used wich they gave to me... fired up right away and mows great.

unfortunately it's not all that clean than the electric one... however after mowing i noticed i had produced a quite respectable pile of biomass...

so now i wonder would it be possible to distill some sort of fuel from it for the mower....

any ideas on how to pull this off?

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Old 06-23-2009, 12:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi,

Have you considered a push reel mower?

Amazon.com: Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower: Home Improvement
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Don't distill, digest

Ethanol from grass is difficult, it takes expensive enzymes to get the cellulose to break down. Yeasts are like kids, they like simple sugers, not locked up inside vegetables.

It would be easier to make biogas with a digester. Biogas is a mix of methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. It comes from bacterial composting, not from fermenting with yeast, like ethanol.

It works better if the grass first goes through a sheep, chicken, goat, or cow to get the plant breakdown process going. It is pretty easy to convert an engine to run on biogas, but your horsepower rating will likely drop by about 1/4.

Mother Earth Magazine has some online articles about it. Just search the archive. Here is a link to some books that can also get you started:

KP
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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from grass IS possible.......

To get straight to the point, if one reads the means where one makes ethanol from biomass, including grass, one will unequivocally see they
want what appears to be PRACTICAL means of making it. INDEED, should you or anyone decide to get your grass, chop it up, PULVERIZE IT, in a blender. THEN, add a little more (beer) malt as directed, and just keep it ONLY under a biol for one hour. AS one just almost boils it, (or just less heat then boiling according to directions on malt can). Add YEAST, and ferment- NOW this is the part that until now people say is impractical...that is- the fermenting of the enzyme and yeast grass that was thoroughly pulverized in your blender will only ferment completely with VERY HOT TEMPERATURE for fermenting and very controlled!. Please do this in a labratory flask first with your grass as many sorts of grass are different. remember, pulverize in a blender, add regular beer making malt (with enzymes, of course), add a little more yeast then usual with making alchohol, and HEAT. The heat must be absolutly controlled as you experiment with your fermenting. Indeed it will make a large head at first, but for complete fermenting, you need add heat constantly. This heat you can get from the solar distilling ideas all over the internet and a thermomoter heat controll with a shutter openinging and closeing for your absolute temperature. this solar distilling is the part "they" consider impractical, yet it works and can be done with a cheapo temperature "shutter" opening and closeing devise for absolute controll. Best Wishes and Glory to God Almighty for what "they" consider impractical is practical...Also, I speak in luie of me driving a slow vehicle with slow stickers, The Box, part time jobs for many years and saing so.
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notshiftgood2 View Post
To get straight to the point, if one reads the means where one makes ethanol from biomass, including grass, one will unequivocally see they
want what appears to be PRACTICAL means of making it. INDEED, should you or anyone decide to get your grass, chop it up, PULVERIZE IT, in a blender. THEN, add a little more (beer) malt as directed, and just keep it ONLY under a biol for one hour. AS one just almost boils it,

Also, I speak in luie of me driving a slow vehicle with slow stickers, The Box, part time jobs for many years and saing so.
My father drives a slow moving vehicle, that aside

Is it really practical to boil 2% alcohol beer into 92%+ alcohol needed for mowing? I would say MAYBE if you lived down south but up here I think the resources to make it exceed the gain, maybe I am wrong.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Practicality

Although it may take a lot of time to build a solar distiller and a little shutter to open and close a valve that makes it less HOT with a little eletric relay.... I am doing this anyway. I have had lots of success, TONS OF worthless things too whem making things from scratch, yet getting cheap alchohol from biomass would mean the price of sugar would not necessarily go higher with this fuel. Again, I'm only glad to keep some of the price of sugar down and use biomass (grass) for this alchohol fuel. Of course, in lieu of stickered vehicles bla bla bal hehehe.....PTL. (I have a horrible spelling phobia as well, sorry. :O))
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fultondp View Post
Ethanol from grass is difficult, it takes expensive enzymes to get the cellulose to break down. Yeasts are like kids, they like simple sugers, not locked up inside vegetables.

It would be easier to make biogas with a digester. Biogas is a mix of methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. It comes from bacterial composting, not from fermenting with yeast, like ethanol.

It works better if the grass first goes through a sheep, chicken, goat, or cow to get the plant breakdown process going. It is pretty easy to convert an engine to run on biogas, but your horsepower rating will likely drop by about 1/4.

Mother Earth Magazine has some online articles about it. Just search the archive. Here is a link to some books that can also get you started:

KP
You could also use any extra to heat/cook with/light your place.

I know a few farmers who use it to heat their cow/chicken barns in the winter.
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If you account for your energy inputs, it is unlikely that any homebrew cellulose to ethanol conversion protocol will give you an EROEI of better than 1:1, and most likely worse than 1:1.

Yes, some of the inputs could be solar, which helps, somewhat.

I will just say, having a degree in biology and chemistry, and growing up on a farm, and doing research and preparing grant applications to get free money from DOE for a solar driven vacuum assisted still to use on the farm,,,

you are pushing string uphill unless you are retired and you do this as a very time consuming hobby and you have a fair amount of money to get set up. Once you successfully make the ethanol, which is a challenge, you still have to get all the water out, which takes a huge amount of energy to run a still. Plus, ethanol and water together form something called an azeotrope, meaning, they cannot be fully separated by simple distillation. You have to use "molecular sieve" technology to get the last 10% of water out of the mix. Again, more energy and more money.

If you look at all the inputs, and compare that to the output (fuel grade ethanol), cellulose to ethanol very extremely challenging.

Good luck,

troy
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Get rid of the lawn?

Just sounds way easier and more eco-friendly, assuming eco-friendlieness is your bag.

I got rid of my lawn because I hate mowing...laziness is my bag.
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Old 01-08-2011, 02:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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^Beat me to it. My lawn used to be bigger, then I thought why not let some of it go au naturale. The front yard is still groomed but out back many new trees are coming in all by themselves. The best part is less mowing.

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