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Thread: alcohol internal combustion small engines

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodiak View Post
    Pretty sure you can run any engine off alcohol if it's jetted correctly and has a carb set up for it. As far as finding one that is alky ready, the internet is your friend.
    yeah. I've checked "the internet". car engines have some posts. But engines suitable for running a small generator .... I found nothing. I thought a prepper forum might be a better "friend", given that we can all make alcohol but would probably be hard pressed to make gasoline.
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    Like I said, any engine can run on alcohol with the right carb jetting. Even if you can't get larger jets, you can usually drill them out. Would take some time, but doable depending on the carb.
    Last edited by Kodiak; 03-30-2020 at 11:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Call_me_Ishmael View Post
    anyone know if they exist? like a few horsepower. I'm not referring to gasoline and ethanol. I mean all alcohol... or alcohol and something that is obtainable if gasoline isnt.

    No, and for good reason.

    Alcohol has under half the BTU energy capacity of gasoline, of the same volume. Alcohol also sucks up moisture from the air - like a sponge.

    (Yes, I know it's used in NASCAR. That's for safety, not for performance...was mandated decades ago)

    It's hard on plastic and rubber; it's given to detonation. And where would you get fuel-grade alcohol to run it on?

    Propane conversions are out there, and work well. Natural-gas conversions are also common. If you want to run a small generator as an emergency power source, it's easy to get the hardware to tap it to a natural-gas line. Run an exhaust out of the garage, and you have a stationary standby power source.

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    It's not used in Nascar, but is used in the NHRA in some classes. But I mentioned propane but he seems stuck on alky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustPassinThru View Post
    No, and for good reason.

    Alcohol has under half the BTU energy capacity of gasoline, of the same volume. Alcohol also sucks up moisture from the air - like a sponge.

    (Yes, I know it's used in NASCAR. That's for safety, not for performance...was mandated decades ago)

    It's hard on plastic and rubber; it's given to detonation. And where would you get fuel-grade alcohol to run it on?

    Propane conversions are out there, and work well. Natural-gas conversions are also common. If you want to run a small generator as an emergency power source, it's easy to get the hardware to tap it to a natural-gas line. Run an exhaust out of the garage, and you have a stationary standby power source.
    Been there done that. already have generators running on natural gas and already took a 3/4 inch line to the patio where they can run if needed.

    I was asking about alcohol....because you can make it yourself. it's a prepper subforum.
    Last edited by Call_me_Ishmael; 03-30-2020 at 11:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kodiak View Post
    Like I said, any engine can run on alcohol with the right carb jetting. Even if you can't get larger jets, you can usually drill them out. Would take some time, but doable depending on the carb.
    I can do that. I have some extra carburetors to play with. but I'd have to find all the plastic and stuff that doesn't do well with alcohol and replace it. I was hoping someone already sold such a small several horsepower engine with all that taken care of. Apparently not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Call_me_Ishmael View Post
    Been there done that. already have generators running on natural gas and already took a 3/4 inch line to the patio where they can run if needed.

    I was asking about alcohol....because you can make it yourself. it's a prepper subforum.
    Well, you lose one-half the power of the engine by running it on alcohol.

    And distilling alcohol takes TIME. The generator will consume it faster.

    Were it me, I'd focus on how to live without electric energy. Because another thing that will be short, is wires and motor parts. Even engine oil - which you cannot make yourself or do without.

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    Ish, If I were to try this, I would start with the basics from this link:

    How to Build an Alcohol Engine | It Still Runs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Physics Hunter View Post
    Ish, If I were to try this, I would start with the basics from this link:

    How to Build an Alcohol Engine | It Still Runs

    Notice in the instructions, they caution that the engine will still need to be started on gasoline.

    So if there's no gas, there's no starting it. Or starting it becomes a six-hour workout with the rip-starter-cord and hot coals packed against the intake manifold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustPassinThru View Post
    Well, you lose one-half the power of the engine by running it on alcohol.

    And distilling alcohol takes TIME. The generator will consume it faster.

    Were it me, I'd focus on how to live without electric energy. Because another thing that will be short, is wires and motor parts. Even engine oil - which you cannot make yourself or do without.
    lose? compared to what? compared to fuel that one no longer has?

    I lose power when I run off of propane. I lose even more power when I run off of natural gas. I guess I shouldn't do that. Thanks.

    as far as parts...I'm Mr redundancy. I have 6 inverter generators. When they fail, they will do so one at a time. It's called graceful degradation. It's my choice.
    Last edited by Call_me_Ishmael; 03-31-2020 at 08:23 AM.
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