Thanks for the reference. I do not intend to mix alcohol with a petroleum-based fuel – just noted that it’s supposedly possible, according to the Britelyt folks. Even they don’t like that option though, apparently even with a 50/50 mix. And like you, I expect the two would quickly separate anyway. Plus there’s always the affinity problem with water. [ADDED: They actually make a methanol lamp that produces virtually no carbon, and the parts go years without needing replacement. But ethanol will carbon up just like petroleum fuels, they say.]
Will alcohol burn? Yep! Some of us remember when you could go to the hobby shop and purchase a chemistry set with an alcohol burner in it. Heck – I used mine to melt glass and do glass blowing, turning test tubes into all kinds of neat shapes! (I was inspired after touring the Corning Glass Works in Corning, NY, as a kid, watching their glass blowing demos.) Now that’d be lawsuit territory, of course, and I’m sure companies have long since discontinued selling that sort of thing to kids – after discovering that alcohol DOES burn hot, and with a barely perceptible blue flame as I recall. (Ahhhh, I miss the old days…. How is it that we lived through them without an EPA, FTC, etc., watching our every move? )
And yes, the Petromax/Britelyt does have a leather plunger seal if memory serves me correctly. At least I’ve got the motivation and curiosity now to finally pull that thing back out, clean it (I think there may be a little kerosene left in the tank, unfortunately), and figger it out once and for all.
But back to distillation, the topic at hand, I do wonder how it’s reasonably possible to create enough fuel to make transportation feasible. I suspect in a SHTF environment, it’d only be useful for power equipment properly modified to use the alcohol fuel in the smaller quantities one could reasonably produce at home.