Off-grid power with ethanol, pay with bitcoin

E-Fuel has launched its solution for people who want energy independence and to be green about it.

The Silicon Valley company introduced its 100% ethanol generator, the Personal Energy System (PES), 8 January. It is intended to give customers full independence from the public power grid.

With the smallest version starting at US$96,000, the generators can be purchased with cash or bitcoin. Citing blackouts in New York and California, as well as the cost and inefficiency of public utilities, E-Fuel wants to appeal to people who want to achieve energy security environmentally.

According to E-Fuel, the generator can provide 1100 watts/foot compared to solar’s 10 watts/foot. They also say that by cutting off the need for coal-fired power stations, using the technology can reduce carbon emissions by 99% when used with the right kind of ethanol. Customers’ are encouraged to distil their own fuel by the company, who say that PES can run on hydrous ethanol.

In addition to supplying electricity, PES uses a radiant heat exchanger at the engine exhaust header to distribute heat through buildings.

E-Fuel also provides a way to produce ethanol: the MicroFueler, an ethanol distillery that runs on waste to produce ethanol. According to the CEO of E-Fuel, Thomas Quinn, the MicroFueler's design is being revised, so is currently unavailable. He added that their larger Micro Fuel Plant, which produce between 100,000 and 1,000,000 gallons of ethanol anually, were still in production. These combined products are aimed at getting customers independent of traditional fuel supplies.

According to their website: “[The] PES’ objective is to eliminate consumer reliance on the energy grid, help consumers manage their escalating energy cost and aggressively reduce global warming emissions. PES can accomplish these goals for less than the purchase cost of solar and battery backup systems, at $2 dollars per watt without tax subsidies.”

On 9 January the US Department for Agriculture released a report on domestic ethanol output, concluding that although plants are near capacity there is limited demand for new facilities. Increased focus on fuel efficiency has stemmed gasoline consumption and so the ethanol that is blended with it.

A technology like E-Fuel’s could be a boon to ethanol producers if demand for 100% ethanol increases. But home-brewed ethanol is an obvious threat to commercial suppliers and is necessary for full energy independence.


10:30, 10/01/2018: This article was updated with comments from E-Fuel CEO, Thomas Quinn, about MicroFueler availability.

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