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Author Topic: Making methanol (& possibly acetic) from distillation of wood - possile at home?  (Read 388 times)

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RogueRose

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I've been reading a few different sources and looking at some videos and see some conflicting information.  Some say that all that needs to be done is burn the wood in the absence of air and collect the vapours - just like distilling ethanol.  Others show piping the gases into a bottle of water and it makes a brown substance, some call it "wood vinegar". 

Wiki says that to make methanol some catalysts are needed like zinc or copper oxides and very high pressures. 

Well it is easy to make ethanol up to the azeotrope point (~ 95% ethanol/water) but this may take a few cycles of distillation to reach this point (and maybe some dehydrators to absorb the water).  Is there a way to do this with methanol and possibly acetic acid as well?
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AWK

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kamikaze762x39

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I would just try the destructive distillation process.  Put sawdust in a metal still and condense the vapor.  A similar method is used for a gasifier, except the "wood gas" coming from the output of the still is flammable and burned immediately.  If you do manage to condense it into a liquid, you could try cleaning it up with a heptane or diethyl ether wash, but this would probably defeat the purpose of making an easy and self-sustaining fuel.  Alum might flocculate some of the impurities?  Other than this, you could try filtering through carbon.  I know that compressed wood gas is unstable and cannot be stored.  Not sure what liquid components you might get out of this, though.
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