California bans Denatured Alcohol, and......!!

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by Doc Mark, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States SotM Winner Subscriber

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    @SveaSizzler You might give one of THESE a try. I bought one to try making 200 proof ethanol which you can read about HERE. I also used it to distill 7 cases of shitty wine for a friend of mine. I ended up with 90 proof clear ethanol. I gave the spirits and the still back to my friend who was going to use it to make Port. They're small and work well.

    Ben
     
  2. SveaSizzler

    SveaSizzler United States Subscriber

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    That's an interesting item, Ben. Coast dwellers could use them to refine drinking water out of seawater, I guess. Except with rolling blackouts, there would be gaps in production.
    I am more drawn to the Copper Kettle configuration, as a traditional method.
    https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9_5TAX8Lys
     
  3. ArchMc

    ArchMc Subscriber

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    @snwcmpr
    Ken. it may be that bioethanol can still be shipped to California. I ordered some from Amazon, stopping just short of pulling the trigger (as I have plenty at the moment) and there was no indication of a problem.

    I hope this continues to be the case. I would like to be assured that this is "permanently" the case by my elected representatives. Part of what I want to do here is to make them aware that there is a constituency of alcohol fuel users out here, and that they are beginning to tread on our toes.

    And this regulation, even if it doesn't eventually cover bioethanol, does tread on our toes. A nice thing about denatured alcohol is that it's relatively easy to find if you're in a small town (maybe on a through hike). There are a lot more hardware stores in small rural towns than there are hiking shops. Given that it's not legal to ship most fuels by mail, this means that many through hikers will have to go back to the unhappy practice of using automotive gasoline in their white gas stoves.

    @presscall @Ed Winskill
    John, Ed, thank you for your compliments.

    It's pretty easy to write a letter. (Just realize that you probably won't want to send your first draft.) It's a lot more stressful to speak in front of a government body (for me, anyway), though that can sometimes be necessary to get one's point across.

    I also am disturbed that many people will complain bitterly about an issue, but are unwilling to send a simple, rational letter to an official with the power to influence the issue. It just seems like a cornerstone of a democracy to me.

    ....Arch
     
  4. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Is it possible that the toxins that are regulated should be regulated?
    I am not a chemist but I imagine that there may be good reason to regulate it. Even a broken clock iis right twice a day.

    So, purchase a better product, ethanol, that is not regulated. Easier to swim downstream. Pick your battles.
     
  5. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    You can't buy ethanol. It has to be denatured, either by methanol, other solvents, or bitterants of some kind.

    The only reason for 'meths' in the first place (and 'meths' are just Brit denatured alcohol) it to remove ethanol from the tax rolls, inasmuch as ethanol is beverage alcohol. The way you do this is to put poison or bitterant in it so people won't drink it.

    Ethanol is the product of yeast/sugar fermentation that we drink for elevation or intoxication. As such, it is heavily taxed by the authorities, and has been for centuries, if not millennia.

    Pure ethanol will never be removed from high taxation.

    It does bring up the question for California-- is denatured alcohol being banned because of its additives? Or is it being banned because it is alcohol? In other words, would pure ethanol be banned? And if not, why not? In short, is ethanol a VOC, or only the denaturants?
     
  6. BradB

    BradB United States Subscriber

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    Pretty silly, when we burn millions of gallons of ethanol in our cars, including in California. Arch is likely correct and this is a case of ignorance by regulators. I just purchased a 5 gallon pail of 200 proof denatured ethanol through ebay. No mention during the purchase process of not shipping to California. Brad
     
  7. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    @Ed Winskill Yes, you can buy ethanol, but, as you say you pay the tax. We know that tax goes way back in time.
    The intent of my statement was to buy a better fuel, a fuel that is available. An ethanol with bitterant is a much better option than the other crap they put in it. As I understand it, it is the additives that are banned.
    But, to advocate the purchase of a toxic fuel just keep our traditions alive is not a choice that I support.
    I bought a case of Regal Flame bioethanol. I have since not purchased the denatured alcohol. I am nearly at the end of the last can I bought. I therefore do not see the point of advocating for the toxic additives to be 'un-banned'. Support a purchase of a cleaner and better fuel than to advocate for the toxic and lesser fuel.

    I am quite often a treehugger, but I also am not in that category [box] that other treehuggers are in. On this topic I do not see the battle. I only see a solution.

    What is it denatured with?
     
  8. BradB

    BradB United States Subscriber

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    @snwcmpr , I am not sure. It did not arrive yet. I will let you know when I receive it. My previous purchase and use of Regal Flame fireplace ethanol has been less than satisfactory. It blackens pots and burns yellow when used in a Trangia or Origo. I need to start experimenting by adding some water. I hope the new stuff coming from a chemical supply house is better. Brad
     
  9. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    I have not noticed the same with Regal Flame. I may have missed it.
     
  10. itchy

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    @Ed Winskill

    Your last question might be retorical, but from a chemical standpoint, ethanol would be no less a VOC than would methanol or isopropanol.

    I suspect denatured alcohol is banned because its major intended use is as a solvent. But I may be naive thinking there is some buried rational explanation. The fake-fireplace fuel sold as bio-ethanol (cleverly rebranded denatured alcohol) may have escaped the ban just because it is sold as a fuel and is flying under the radar for now. Branding it with the ambiguous and meaningless term bio-ethanol probably helps.

    On a side note: If anyone can provide actual verifiable data that the "bio-ethanol" fuels on the market in the US are not denatured, I'd be very interested. As far as I know, in the US it is not sufficient to add a bitterant; non-taxed ethanol must be denatured to avoid taxation. All the MSDS data I can find list isopropanol (5-10%) as the denaturant in the "bio-fuel/bio-ethanol" sold for fake fireplaces. Drinking isopropanol is only slightly more toxic than ethanol by itself, but it is apparently enough to meet the regs. Some other countries (eg. New Zealand) have wisely allowed ethanol simply made to be unpalatable and stinky to go un-taxed.
     
  11. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States SotM Winner Subscriber

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    The ethanol used in cars has no added methanol or isopropyl alcohol. Denatonium Benzoate is the denaturing agent. It is the most bitter compound known and dilutions of as little as 10 ppm are unbearably bitter to most humans. Check out this Material Safety Data Sheet. It's just ethanol and 300 ppm denaturant.

    Ben
     
  12. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States SotM Winner Subscriber

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    No, it's not banned. It's just expensive, taxed, and used in laboratories. Here's a webpage that sells it. 5 gallons goes for $906.

    Ben
     
  13. itchy

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    @z1ulike

    Thanks Ben. I do remember hearing that some racing cars have switched from methanol to 100% ethanol.
    Let me know when you find that stuff on the shelf, or for sale from Amazon:content:.

    I'll add that I have un-adulterated un-taxed 95% ethanol and absolute ethanol in the lab at work -- but it is tightly regulated, monitored, and illegal to use for non-research purposes.

    But back to the bio-ethanol fuels. The stuff we can buy as members of the general public have a classic denaturant (isopropanol, methanol, acetone, etc) added, in addition to the bitterant.
     
  14. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    I still have not found that. I am still looking.
    But, the ones I found have 100% ethanol in the MSDS.
    They claim that the bitterant IS the denaturing agent. I think.
     
  15. itchy

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    @snwcmpr
    You are more trusting than I. I know what they say in the ads, but they can claim pretty much anything as long as it is slightly ambiguous. But, when you track down the MSDS, they all have isopropanol.
     
  16. BradB

    BradB United States Subscriber

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    @itchy @snwcmpr Can you please explain why the denaturant or bitterant is important? If the fuel is 95+ % ethanol what are the issues? Thank you. Brad
     
  17. Murph

    Murph United States Subscriber

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    Around here, I can buy 95% ethanol all day long - It's called Everclear! Walmart has it here. 750 ml bottle for $19.97.

    Here in the US, we have a list of specially denatured alcohol for use in cosmetics, paints, explosives, depending on the end product being manufactured.
     
  18. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    I am saying that if the additive is bitterant, I believe that to be less toxic of a chemical, hence it is called bioethanol. I could be incorrect, it happens a lot.
    I read the ban as an issue with the denaturing agents. That the powers that be have listed those chemicals as unwanted in the state of California.
    I will let @itchy speak for himself.

    As a side note, I can follow the logic, climate change is a popular issue right now, but it seems to be uninformed decisions they are making.

    I also can imagine a lot of wealthy boat owers being pissed about the ban of alcohol they are usually buying at marine stores.

    I am also concerned about the increased propane explosions on boats.

    Child protection acts resulted in Trangia bottles no longer being acceptable for gasoline. Like they are unsafe compared to MSR or Primus bottles.
     
  19. BradB

    BradB United States Subscriber

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    The only people using alcohol on boats are Luddites like myself. Everyone uses propane. Brad
     
  20. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Some forums have posts by alcohol users that are pissed.