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  1. #1
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    Default Make ethanol out of honey

    With the global market and rising fuel cost.Why cant a person produce ethanol from honey?

  2. #2
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    (I have a feeling that this topic should really be in Tailgater! Or, perhaps will soon be...)

    Making fuel out of food is a bad proposition for everyone.

    It doesn't lower the cost of fuel, but it DOES raise the cost of food. This is evidenced by the price of corn, even in markets outside of the US.

    But to answer your question directly, honey CAN be converted into fuel. It would require honey to be converted from a product that sells for, say, $35 dollars a gallon on average. Then fermented, which would make a honey mead, which would sell for about $100 a gallon, give or take. Then you'd have to USE a FUEL to distill it into a higher alcohol content product. All to make a $4 a gallon fuel to burn in your car.

    Not to mention, inadvertently you've caused a shortage of honey (by one gallon, in this example), which raises the price of honey for everyone buying it. Whoops!

    The economics just aren't there. At least not SMART economics.

    Which is why corn ethanol is a bad idea too.

    DS (By the way, the view from up here on top of the soapbox is incredible!)

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE=BigDaddyDS;318724](I have a feeling that this topic should really be in Tailgater! Or, perhaps will soon be...)


    Hey Big DaddyDS,thanks for the post.Last time I checked Tailgator was for all none related bee topics,and this topic is about HONEY.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyDS View Post
    (I have a feeling that this topic should really be in Tailgater! Or, perhaps will soon be...)
    Agreed.

    For the sake of argument BD, I'll submit that making ethanol out of honey makes perfect sense. Of course, I'm speculating wildly as I haven't run the numbers.

    At first glance, there's a whole lot more potential energy in a pound of honey than there is in a pound of corn so the production costs of ethanol made from honey can't be directly compared to those using corn as a source of starch.

    Second, honey isn't a staple food like corn, rice, or soybeans. People don't need honey to survive.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyDS View Post
    But to answer your question directly, honey CAN be converted into fuel. It would require honey to be converted from a product that sells for, say, $35 dollars a gallon on average. Then fermented, which would make a honey mead, which would sell for about $100 a gallon, give or take. Then you'd have to USE a FUEL to distill it into a higher alcohol content product. All to make a $4 a gallon fuel to burn in your car.
    You're suggesting that a gallon of honey would make a gallon of fuel? I wonder how much 200 proof ethanol a gallon of honey really would make?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyDS View Post
    Not to mention, inadvertently you've caused a shortage of honey (by one gallon, in this example), which raises the price of honey for everyone buying it. Whoops!
    This would be bad how? The current wholesale price of honey is somewhere around $1.00 per pound. The beekeeping industry would benefit greatly from a higher price for honey.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyDS View Post
    DS (By the way, the view from up here on top of the soapbox is incredible!)
    I agree!
    Dulcius ex asperis

  5. #5
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    a group of people always bring up corn and trying to fill the bottomless gas tanks of the whole country when ever ethanol comes up. i don't care about the whole country and corn is not the only product to make alchohol from. i like the idea of using whats local and can be produced in my own back yard.
    all that is gold does not glitter

  6. #6
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    My thought was to buy all of the overseas honey for the purpose of fuel,wich would drive the price up for honey here in the states.

  7. #7
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    umm,

    shouldn't this thread be in the mead making forum?

    Dave

  8. #8
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    Mead making,we are not planning on drinking the stuff.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by high rate of speed View Post
    Mead making,we are not planning on drinking the stuff.
    Ethanol is highly drinkable until they denature it by mixing in some gasoline. One has to wonder if a wee portion of ethanol production doesn't get siphoned off prior to getting diluted with poison..
    Dulcius ex asperis

  10. #10
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    My simple answer is that don't believe we have enough of a honey glut to use the product economically for ethanol production. I do like the idea of turning imported, potentially harmful honey into something other than food! Might be a better use than food for a lot of the imported stuff! It's barely economical to turn corn and other crops into ethanol, let alone a costly commodity like honey. The energy required to turn the crops into ethanol is incredible.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by high rate of speed View Post
    Mead making,we are not planning on drinking the stuff.
    It is still worth far more in a wine bottle than in a gas tank. Lets hope that don't change!!!

  12. #12
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    I wasn't really suggesting you drink it, only joking
    the point is if you take a gallon of honey and make five gallons of mead it will be something like 10% alcohol
    distill that down to pure ethanol you get about a half gallon
    so a gallon in a half gallon out
    put in two 55 gallon drums of honey get one out
    two drums of honey used to be about $1200, maybe more now, the price has gone up
    mine costs WAY more because I don't wholesale it
    so $1200 for a barrel of honey-ethanol
    oil may be $125 a barrel but I know what I'd be putting in my car
    did I mention oil has a lot more energy in it per gallon than ethanol?
    it just doesn't make business sense
    of course neither does corn ethanol
    maybe we could get an energy subsidy
    then we could become dependent on government handouts
    maybe I am suggesting you drink it

    Dave

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by drobbins View Post
    I wasn't really suggesting you drink it, only joking
    the point is if you take a gallon of honey and make five gallons of mead it will be something like 10% alcohol
    But the percentage of alcohol in a fermenting liquid is limited by how much alcohol the yeast can tolerate. Champagne yeast can tolerate as much as 13% alcohol or so, maybe a touch higher. Eventually, the yeast pollutes it's environment and dies long before all the sugar is used up. Mead still has a lot of sugar left in it

    So the question is, how much ethanol could be made from a pound of honey if ALL the sugar was converted to alcohol?
    Dulcius ex asperis

  14. #14
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    George

    I'm no expert but I believe that if you use something like champagne yeast (with a high alcohol tolerance) and only use a gallon of honey (you usually use more) the mead will finish very dry with very little residual sugar
    it will also be only about 10% since you skimped on the honey
    this is what I shoot for in my mead (dry, not 10%)
    there are some unfermentable sugars left but they are, umm, unfermentable
    maybe you can throw some cellulosic enzyme voodoo at it
    bottom line, it ain't gonna work money wise

    Dave

    edit [champagne yeast goes much higher than 13%]

  15. #15
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    I had the same question (honey as ethanol) and brought it up during a tailgaiter post but we were to busy arguing the worlds problems to actually solve a problem.
    From my homebrewing days(way back when I had spare time) I remember that honey is an addative. I used to throw in a pound of honey to boost fermentation without adding lots of flavor. Honey will ferment almost completly when it is dilluted so that the yeast can handle it. I don't at all see why the ethanol industry couldn't do the same as in throw a bunch of honey in WITH the corn.

    Also, I would argue that the dollar amounts figured to date in this area are incorrect as they are based on current honey prices without government intervention. IF they jump on honey as they did with corn, then things may look a little different.

  16. #16
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    The theoretical yield of ethanol from sucrose is 163 gallons of ethanol per ton of sucrose. Factoring in maximum obtainable yield and realistic plant operations, the expected actual recovery would be about 141 gallons per ton of sucrose. Using 2003-05 U.S. average sugar recovery rates, one ton of sugarcane would be expected to yield 19.5 gallons of ethanol and one ton of sugar beets would be expected to yield 24.8 gallons of ethanol. One ton of molasses, a byproduct of sugarcane and sugar beet processing, would yield about 69.4 gallons of ethanol. Using raw sugar as a feedstock, one ton would yield 135.4 gallons of ethanol while refined sugar would yield 141.0 gallons.

    http://www.usda.gov/oce/EthanolSugar...ityReport3.pdf
    Now I suppose the next question is, how much of the sugar in honey is fermentable? I think the actual sucrose content of honey is rather low...
    Dulcius ex asperis

  17. #17
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    >> The theoretical yield of ethanol from sucrose is 163 gallons of ethanol per ton of sucrose.

    you're still getting something on the order of half the mass of ethanol out of the sucrose you put in
    thats with pure sucrose
    why discuss honey which would be less efficient, it's 18% water and what's left isn't all fermentable
    [edit] we're totally leaving out the energy inputs required for any of these processes
    we should eat food and use something else for energy

    Dave
    Last edited by drobbins; 05-15-2008 at 08:17 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by drobbins View Post
    why discuss honey which would be less efficient, it's 18% water and what's left isn't all fermentable
    I have to conclude after initial investigation that making ethanol out of honey is a bad idea.

    Dulcius ex asperis

  19. #19
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    Default Why not bio-diesel from Beeswax?

    Yes, there is still the lovely wax for you guys to fuel your hummers with! And how much energy is lost when slumgum is burned?

    But back to the Honey, it certainly could appeal to the World Health Organisation to outlaw honey for food and commence making gas with it! ............Particularly if the honey could be produced somewhere else than in their neighbourhoods.

    The World Health Organisation does not like honey, as it is far too cheap and easily accessed as a medicine.

    Cheers,

    John

  20. #20
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    Default hey, i was thinking of the biodiesel angle just today

    I get a few hundred pounds a week of combs from doing removals and was just wondering today what the viability of making biodiesel would be. All that wax, honey, brood and bees might go to a better use than compost. Well, i do render the wax
    Richard Martyniak, M.S. Entomologist - http://AllFloridaBeeRemoval.com

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