Eco Bootlegging

A company banking on drivers' weariness of skyrocketing gasoline prices unveiled a home refinery device on Thursday offering another option: Ethanol. E-Fuel Corporation says its EFuel100 MicroFueler can produce up to 35 gallons (132 liters) of ethanol a week that consumers can pump directly into their cars and trucks. There is no combustion inside the device, which runs on a standard household 110- to 220-volt AC power supply (consuming about 150 watts per day) and uses a membrane system to distill the sugar, yeast and water solution required to make ethanol rather than combustion heating elements, as commercial ethanol producers do.

Interested drivers in the U.S. can put in their orders now for their own EFuel100 MicroFueler at the company's Web site with a $3,000 down payment toward the total $10,000 tab; the first units are expected to ship some time this fall. . .

Ethanol fuel is made from a combination of water, yeast and sugar, Tom Quinn, E-Fuel founder and CEO, said at the press conference, adding that the process was no more complicated than what is taught in "third-grade science." (Full Story at sciam)

I often look for system flaws that would allow nefarious activity (not to exploit mind you), but this one seems rather obvious to me. Ethanol, if you did not know, is alcohol. Not only that but it's the alcohol that folks consume (opposed to something like Methanol). What this thing produces is close to 200 proof (as strong as it gets) vodka. I looked through the article to see if there is anything in the process that makes it harmful to consume, and it doesn't mention a thing. The company website also omits any information about human consumption.

On their site they do, however, proclaim that one of their goals is to keep Ethanol down to less than $1 a gallon. Keeping that in mind, after you cut the straight ethanol to drinkable levels you are looking at a gallon of vodka for about 25 cents. I'll let you do all of the rest of the math for yourself. Also, don't think that bootlegging isn't still around. I'm just saying this little machine would make it easy and lucrative for anyone to bootleg. Not to mention you wouldn't have to worry about hiding it.