So I was writing a scene earlier today, based upon the idea of a solar powered still producing ethanol for fuel. By the power of teh internet, I have found that it is possible, and that people have already built there own- Making Alcohol Fuel With a Solar Still – Renewable Energy – MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
How to build a solar still to distill alcohol. This is a chapter from a book all about home production of ethanol to run your car, but I’m sure the Dukes would find a way to make moonshine with it. Obviously it works better the more sunshine you get, but I think it would work almost as well with winter sun as with summer, albeit for shorter periods. The active solar still described could have its pump powered by solar cells and theoretically run faster when there’s more sunlight, solving the regulation problems.
I’m against the production of ethanol as it’s currently envisioned by governments and corporations, because it’s taking away chunks of food producing land. The mash for the first brew should come from sugar loaded waste, not from perfectly good food products. On a domestic level would it be possible to make, say, an apple peel (and other compostables) brew that would taste vile but be a good basis for distillation?
Update Onfurther investigation I’ve found that the book has chapters on fermenting various base materials including starchy sources such as potatoes and cellulose materials including cor stalks and paper.
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