# How to remove Ethanol from Gasoline?

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

I have an idea that should work but I need some accurate numbers. If i mix 1 gallons of gasoline with 1 gallon of water then let is separate i should get approx 90% gas and 110% water that contains the alcohol. I think I can use less water but don't know how much less, 1 pint, 2 pints, 3 pints, etc without a lot of trial and error? Gasoline with ethanol is bad for the lawn mower and all small engines it screws up the carburetor they are not designed for alcohol. WHY do the factors not fix the carburetor problem so they work good with alcohol probably because they can sell more replacement engines bigger profit for the company. It is almost impossible to find a gas station that sells Ethanol free gas except farmers co-op they require a lot of red tape to make sure your not using their gas in your car.

I don't want to waste the alcohol I can burn that in my hobby jet engine less water I have the easier gas & alcohol are to separate. My jet engine runs good with 95% alcohol and 5% water.

Is there an easier way to remove alcohol from gasoline?

## Answers and Replies

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Is there an easier way to remove alcohol from gasoline?
Use fuel that has no added ethanol in the first place.
It should not be hard to find somebody selling 'parafin', aka kerosene.

If i mix 1 gallons of gasoline with 1 gallon of water then let is separate i should get approx 90% gas and 110% water that contains the alcohol.
Doing two separations with half a gallon of water in each should be more effective than a single separation with one gallon (and three separations would be more effective still). That principle would help you use less water.

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Gasoline with ethanol is bad for the lawn mower
And water isn't?

John Park
Nugatory
Mentor
Use fuel that has no added ethanol in the first place.
It should not be hard to find somebody selling 'parafin', aka kerosene.
Kerosene cannot be substituted for gasoline... But at least in the USA, in any reasonably large town you can find at least one station that sells ethanol-free gas if you google around (or ask the next person you see driving a pre-1980 car). And you are quite right that that's a much better idea than trying to get the alcohol out of E10 and that the answer to the question in the thread title is "You don't, you start with gas that doesn't have any alcohol to remove".

The water separation idea kinda sorta works, but has one very serious defect: you can't get the ratio of alcohol to water in your wastewater high enough to burn it as fuel, so you have to dispose of that wastewater. You cannot legally dump it into the storm sewer, or pour it down the drain as you would the water from washing the dinner dishes, nor pour it out on the ground when no one is watching.

russ_watters, berkeman, Vanadium 50 and 1 other person
256bits
Gold Member
Don't boating people like to use ethanol-free gasoline for their engines?
They must a service area.

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in any reasonably large town you can find at least one station that sells ethanol-free gas if you google around
www.pure-gas.org has a list and a map. The map is fascinating.

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
www.pure-gas.org has a list and a map. The map is fascinating.
Yes it is. Thanks for sharing. I was surprised by the small number shown in Canada.
1. I was of the impression that this E10 madness was just in the USA, promoted by get rich quick corn special interests.I guess I was wrong.
2. If they do have E10 gas in Canada, it looks like you might have to drive up to 1000 miles to buy ethanol free gas. I suspect that the map is not accurate there.
3. The map shows zero ethanol free stations in Alaska. What's the deal there?

Dr Transport
Gold Member
Pure gas is used by the boaters because the ethanol poisons the lakes, go to an area with a large lake or near the ocean and you should be able to get pure gas.

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Pure gas is used by the boaters because the ethanol poisons the lakes
That's not the big reason. Ethanol dissolves the fuel lines, some gaskets, and the fiberglass fuel tanks that older boats had. Any old gasoline engine may have had fuel lines that are not ethanol safe.

Ethanol also dissolves the sludge formed in the bottom of fuel tanks over the years, thus clogging fuel filters.

There are proposals to increase it from E10 to E15. If that happens, even modern boats that are E10 safe will stop working. It is a big headache.

CWatters
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Web site to help find it..
http://pure-gas.org/

Briggs & Stratton say their engines are ok on E10 (10% Ethanol) or 15% MTBE but not E15 (15% Ethanol).

Edit: Oops I see that web site already mentioned.

I googled pure gas and ethanol free gas found a list of gas stations in town that are suppose to have ethanol free gas. I spent several hours yesterday driving around town none of the gas stations listed have pure gas and never did. Whats up with the lies about gas stations that sell pure gas. I have to drive 40 miles round trip to buy pure gas. I have 3 gas cans I don't really like driving around hauling all that gas if I got in a wreck it would be one hell of a fire. My lawn mower, garden tiller, weed eater, chain saw will all use that gas up quick then I will be making another 40 mile trip to buy more pure gas. 3 container of gas will last 1 month. It would be a lot easier for me to build a separator to drain pure gas off the top then drain water off the bottom there is ethanol gas 1/2 mile up the street from my house.

There is also gas additive but does that really work? Gas additive is $10 a bottle good for 5 gallons of gas that doubles the price of gas$4.20 per gallon. What is the real name of gas additive all it says is petroleum distillates. It could be anything, alcohol, naphtha, kerosene, acetone, Toluene, paint thinner, other? I though federal law required all production to say what they really are?

I bought a new lawn mower last summer 3 months later the carburetor is trashed inside. A new carburetor costs $97 plus 10% sales tax. No parts available have to buy the whole carburetor. I refuse to buy a new carburetor every 3 months. anorlunda Staff Emeritus gas stations listed have pure gas and never did. Whats up with the lies about gas stations that sell pure gas. I have to drive 40 miles round trip to buy pure gas. Look carefully, in some of them only the premium grade is ethanol free. So the same pump might have E10 regular and ethanol free premium. Richmonder Nugatory Mentor Look carefully, in some of them only the premium grade is ethanol free. So the same pump might have E10 regular and ethanol free premium. And it's worth calling and asking if you don't want to risk a trip for nothing. Most of the sites that maintain lists of ethanol-free vendors depend on the general public to add and remove entries so there's no particular reason to assume that they're up to date. It's easy for me because I'm worried about my rusted-out out old junkers classic Italian sports cars, they need to be driven regularly anyways, so I might as well combine their weekly exercise with a trip to the gas station. I siphon from their fuel tanks into the lawn mower as needed. russ_watters Is there an easier way to remove alcohol from gasoline? Molecular sieves. Ethanol in water is azeotropic. You'll have a hard time recovering the ethanol if you need it pure. ... I bought a new lawn mower last summer 3 months later the carburetor is trashed inside. A new carburetor costs$97 plus 10% sales tax. No parts available have to buy the whole carburetor. I refuse to buy a new carburetor every 3 months.
Does not sound right. New mowers are designed to run on gas with ethanol. Something else is going on - what do you store your gas in?

I live in corn country (Illinois) we have had ethanol for decades. I have always used it as is in my mowers, and I've never had a fuel related problem. I don't use any additives. About the only precaution I've ever taken is that I usually fill the tanks before winter (less air space - not sure that makes a difference), and if I remember, I'll start them a couple times over the winter, and let them run a while. Once or twice, if I was near empty, I'd run them out of fuel so there was no gas in the system. I have a plastic gas can, so no rust, no build up on it either, and it's probably 15 years old?

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Does not sound right. New mowers are designed to run on gas with ethanol. Something else is going on - what do you store your gas in?

I live in corn country (Illinois) we have had ethanol for decades. I have always used it as is in my mowers, and I've never had a fuel related problem. I don't use any additives. About the only precaution I've ever taken is that I usually fill the tanks before winter (less air space - not sure that makes a difference), and if I remember, I'll start them a couple times over the winter, and let them run a while. Once or twice, if I was near empty, I'd run them out of fuel so there was no gas in the system. I have a plastic gas can, so no rust, no build up on it either, and it's probably 15 years old?
Both can be right. The most modern 4-cycle engines have very narrow orifices to meet emissions requirements. They clog much easier than old ones. Just a tiny amount of gum dissolved in the fuel will clog them. I have a sixty year old Johnson that is infinitely more reliable (on any fuel) than a brand new Yamaha. The small engines, like 2hp, are worse than big 200 hp ones because they can't have a fuel filter.

I'm not sure if mower engines have the same regulations as outboards.

Molecular sieves.
Ethanol in water is azeotropic. You'll have a hard time recovering the ethanol if you need it pure.
My industrial chemistry processes book says, mix salt with the alcohol/water mix. Alcohol will not mix with salt but water will. Salt will soak up all the water then you drain off the pure alcohol. Then you let the salt air dry and use it again.

Both can be right. The most modern 4-cycle engines have very narrow orifices to meet emissions requirements. They clog much easier than old ones. Just a tiny amount of gum dissolved in the fuel will clog them. I have a sixty year old Johnson that is infinitely more reliable (on any fuel) than a brand new Yamaha. The small engines, like 2hp, are worse than big 200 hp ones because they can't have a fuel filter.

I'm not sure if mower engines have the same regulations as outboards.
Ethyl alcohol is Hygroscopy it pulls moisture from the air. Fuel tank get moisture in it then the metal parts rust. The orifice on my garden tiller rusted shut I had to clean it out for the engine to run.

My industrial chemistry processes book says, mix salt with the alcohol/water mix. Alcohol will not mix with salt but water will. Salt will soak up all the water then you drain off the pure alcohol. Then you let the salt air dry and use it again.
Very interesting. I will try that experiment this weekend. Thanks.
-Stu

My industrial chemistry processes book says, mix salt with the alcohol/water mix. Alcohol will not mix with salt but water will. Salt will soak up all the water then you drain off the pure alcohol. Then you let the salt air dry and use it again.
Does this mean I could effectively 'distill' alcohol this way? For example, take a cup of vodka, add salt to absorb the water, pour off the (now stronger) vodka, repeat. It would be hard to imagine the alcohol that remains would not taste salty.

And if it leaves some salt in the gasoline, that could be bad. Probably far worse than the ethanol!

Maybe this question should be on Chemistry Forum. It's funny that someone asks a hypothetical question about removing alcohol from gasoline on a science-related forum, and somebody just tells him to go buy non-alcohol-containing gasoline. It would be like someone asking someone on Juggling Forum how to juggle 3 balls, and the answer would be to "hire a juggler" to do it for him. What a jerk, where's your sense of adventure?

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2019 Award
What a jerk, where's your sense of adventure?
What words would you use for someone who's first post in seven years is to criticize answers in a long-dead thread?

anorlunda
Now that you mentioned it, YOU are right. This should have been on the chemistry forum. I took chemistry in college many years ago I now how to remove ethanol by distilling it but I was hoping with new technology advancements there is another way.

Since I posted this I have bought several $2 gas cans at yard sales I carry them with me all the time. If I just happen to be near the only gas station in 15 miles that sells ethanol free gas I will stop and fill up the containers for the lawn mower. I know the 10 ounce bottle of gas additive that sells for$10 is probably a common over the counter item like 20¢ worth of kerosene. According to Federal Law for poison control all items are require to be marked with name of all contents but it is no longer enforced.

I can do a Research test to learn what that additive is by putting metal in ethanol gas sealed in a glass jar then wait 6 to 12 months until the metal rusts. In several other glass jars I do the same thing testing a different additive in each jar, kerosene, diesel fuel, acetone, and several others. When the metal rusts in the test jar of ethanol gas i need to look see if the jars with additives rusted. If I find metal with no rust in 1 jar I have learned which additive will prevent rust in the lawn mower carburetor and fuel tank.

When I learn what additive prevents rust in the lawn mower it will be all over the internet. I pisses me off that companies sell 20¢ worth of something for \$10 so they can get Rich from other people. It also pisses me off that lawn mower manufactures continue to make carburetors with metal parts that rust they should have fixed that problem 25 years ago when the problem started.

My 28 year old Son asked me a few years ago, WHY do gas pumps all say, Unleaded Gas? Did gas have lead in it once. I said, YES 25 years ago it did and 25 years later they still advertise Unleaded gas. Huh! Very few people under age 30 knows what leaded gas is & everyone over 30 knows there is no such thing anymore.

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
My 28 year old Son asked me a few years ago, WHY do gas pumps all say, Unleaded Gas? Did gas have lead in it once. I said, YES 25 years ago it did and 25 years later they still advertise Unleaded gas. Huh! Very few people under age 30 knows what leaded gas is & everyone over 30 knows there is no such thing anymore.
Lead us not quite 100% gone. Small airplanes use 100LL (low lead) fuel.