Kerosene - why and how

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derajer
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Kerosene - why and how

Post by derajer » Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:27 pm

It seems to me that if we had a complete TEOTWAWKI, then after supplies of liquid fuels run out and things begin to stablize, there will be a need for liquid fuels again (assuming we don't try to just skip that step and go straight to all electric, but I digress) so what fuel would that be? In the United States I imagine it would need to be kerosene as it can be distilled from coal, which is an extremely plentiful resource that could be mined from the already open coal strip mines around the country.

I am currently trying to figure out just HOW this would be accomplished. Getting the coal is easy and I know that kerosene's boiling point is from 149 - 325 centigrade (according to its MSDS). I also know that it was originally distilled from coal by being heated in a retort (a sort of still for those who don't remember that from chemistry class) so what else is there to know? Surely someone here has enough background in chemistry or some other industry/science that can give us an idea of how to distill kerosene from coal?
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Kathy in FL
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by Kathy in FL » Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:53 pm

I thought kerosene was distilled from petroleum.

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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by derajer » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:51 pm

Kerosene was initially derived from Coal, but production soon moved to distillation from Petroleum since that is easier than distilling from coal.

http://www.answers.com/topic/kerosene

For the purposes of this resurrecting an economy/civilization in the United States I think the more difficult (less product?) process of distilling kerosene from coal is more worth while considering how much easier it is to get coal in the USA as opposed to Oil.
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by raptor » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:54 pm

Coal oil is a slightly different naturally occurring oil that is different form what we call kerosene toady.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerosene" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The vast majority of kerosene today is distilled from petroleum.
It is however possible to synthesize coal into diesel fuel which is a very close cousin of kerosene and is actually interchangeable for many uses. In the 1920's Fisher & Tropsch invented a process to make diesel fuel out of coal. It is not difficult to do but not very economical.

Here is a link to the process:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer-Tropsch_process" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Note there is way to power a vehicle using coal gas but this is very different from making diesel or kerosene out of it.
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by bonanacrom » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:00 pm

If it gets to that you wont be going for kerosene,it will be alcohol.You will be looking for hillbillies like me and are wonderful stills.You should imagine deliverance banjo music about now.
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by raptor » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:05 pm

I do not know anything about hillbillies but I do agree that bio fuels like alcohol and bio-diesel would probably be easier for a DIY production of fuel. Unless of course you lived near a coal deposit.

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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by ZMace » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:19 pm

Unfortunately producing distilled alcohol sufficently pure to burn is pretty intensive... not saying that producing coal oil or kerosene isn't, but it does take some effort to produce it, as well as a substrate that could be turned into alcohol or something that you can already eat, like corn or barley. There would have to be sufficient rebuilding of society for liquid fuels to come into the picture.
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by bonanacrom » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:01 pm

Society isn't required.And were did you get the idea that making a still was hard.And believe me it will burn.
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by ZMace » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:04 pm

For someone who has not seen or made/used one before it would be difficult. Sure it is just a boiler with a condensing column, but in practice that could be hard. Of course, since we are all about preparation here, every one should learn to build/operate a still!
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by Daithi » Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:17 pm

raptor wrote:I do not know anything about hillbillies but I do agree that bio fuels like alcohol and bio-diesel would probably be easier for a DIY production of fuel. Unless of course you lived near a coal deposit.
+1. Just use alcohol, or biodiesel. We can already do that in our garage, and we will be farming anyway. Plus it alleviates the need to mine coal.



ZMace wrote:For someone who has not seen or made/used one before it would be difficult. Sure it is just a boiler with a condensing column, but in practice that could be hard. Of course, since we are all about preparation here, every one should learn to build/operate a still!
Actually making a still is quite easy. Making hard alcohol is quite easy. Making tasty, quality alcohol is quite another matter though.

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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by bonanacrom » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:11 am

Each swig of the jug is better than the last.I think the better stuff is heavier and so it sinks to the bottom.
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by ZMace » Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:58 pm

blast started a thread about woodgas, could be a good solution to liquid fuels as well or in addition to ethanol.

http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 39&t=33910
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by derajer » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:45 am

I've been playing around with woodgas as well, but that can be kind of complicated to store since it is not a liquid fuel.

Fischer-Tropsch? I am familiar with the process on paper, but I have never seen an actual explanation of implementation. If you can point us to a workable model I would be very greatful. How does this compare to heating ground up coal in a retort?

As for the kerosene from coal, if you live in the USA you probably do live very close to a coal deposit. There are open coal mines and shallow minor deposits all over the country making it extremely easy to get if the companies who own the mines are no longer in operation.
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Re: Kerosene - why and how

Post by raptor » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:01 am

derajer wrote:
Fischer-Tropsch? I am familiar with the process on paper, but I have never seen an actual explanation of implementation. If you can point us to a workable model I would be very greatful. How does this compare to heating ground up coal in a retort?

As for the kerosene from coal, if you live in the USA you probably do live very close to a coal deposit. There are open coal mines and shallow minor deposits all over the country making it extremely easy to get if the companies who own the mines are no longer in operation.

Germany in WWII had several plants to produce synthetic fuel. South Africa also built some to deal with their embargo issues and still have these operating.

It is an old process but until recently it was too expensive to make economic sense. But As oil stays around $90 to $120 per barrel all sorts of previously uneconomical things suddenly make sense. The Oil Sands in Alberta are a prime example. They lost their ass at $16 per barrel since their average production cost is publicly cited at above $20 per barrel and below $25 per barrel.
However at $120 per barrel they are minting money. The same will be true for FT process plant, even though previous plants had costs over $25 per barrel several years ago.


Here are some links to US corporations that have a FT project either running or in the test stage. Note some of their projects use natural gas as well as coal.

http://www.syntroleum.com/main.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (note: they made synthetic jet fuel for the USAF out of natural gas)
http://www.rentechinc.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here is a link to the Fischer-Tropsch archive maintained by Texas A&M and has a wealth of documents.
http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here is a link to good technical article:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour ... 1&SRETRY=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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