( Unidentified Source )

Synthetic Fuel


Anakar M.

When I was forced to cease publishing the [ NATIONAL ] EXCHANGE last April I told all of you that I was working with an inventor who had a new synthetic fuel that utilized mostly water and vegetable oil. It's all true, and it's still developing.

The inventor is David Townsend, a man with unusual insights in electrochemistry. I have known David personally for a number of years and I have been associated with him for the past two years, starting with my interest in his new coating.

In a nutshell, Townsend found a way to make an alcohol-type fuel from low-cost, renewable ingredients without using more energy to manufacture than the fuel could produce. Essentially, the inventor utilized his vast knowledge of electroplating technology to form macromolecules or colloids from a combination of water, soybean oil, methanol, and certain activator chemicals. The first combo was with 90% water. This was later modified to using 80% water, 10% vegetable oil, 7% methanol, and 3% activator chemicals. The process requires electroplating current and two distillations. To the best of our ability, we have computed that the energy conversion ratio is 3 BTU back for every BTU expended.

The cost of a production facility was estimated to be about $50,000 in materials and one could produce a tank car of such fuel each day ( 6000 gallons). The cost of making the fuel, which was tested out at 85,000 BTU per gallon ( the same as 200 proof alcohol ) was said to be less than 40 cents per gallon.

Too good to be true! That's the way it seemed at first. Then came the unexplained inconsistencies. Some batches in the 12-liter lab system were perfect, but others turned to water in a short time... why?

At this writing Townsend has sought help from other chemists to solve the problem of the unstable batches. Energy department aid was sought, so far for naught, and papers were filed with the State of Illinois for a research grant into this promising new field. There are negotiations ongoing in North Carolina at this time and Doxa Fuels International has been formed around the new technology.

Synthetic fuel containing methanol and butanol


1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the field of fuels and more particularly to a new and improved synthetic fuel.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Prior to the present invention a variety of additives have been produced to be combined with gasoline to increase octane ratings. Many of such additives in turn became a source of unacceptable carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides. In the effort to reduce consumption of petroleum it is known to combine 195 proof ethanol as an extender with conventional gasoline, generally in a 10%-90% ratio.

The ethanol-gasoline combination remains deficient in several respects. First, the ethanol is generally derived from otherwise useful feed grains such as corn. Second, the relatively low ratio utility of ethanol offers an inadequate displacement of gasoline. Third, the ethanol-gasoline combination is not significantly different from plain unleaded gasoline in terms of the generation of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and unburned hydrocarbons. Finally, ethanol is subject to phase separation from the gasoline in the presence of water.


From the foregoing it will be understood that among the various objectives of the present invention are:

to provide a new and novel synthetic fuel;

to provide a fuel of the above-described character which may be combined with petroleum fuels in increased ratios;

to provide a fuel of the above-described character which reduces the generation of carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides; and

to provide a fuel of the above-described character having improved stability.

These other objectives of the present invention are efficiently achieved by linking methanol, butanol and a kerosene type oil into a stable long chain macro-molecule with a colloid stabilizer through distillation.

The foregoing as well as other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description.


The applicant has discovered that by combining methanol (methyl alcohol), butanol (butyl alcohol) and a heavy hydrocarbon kerosene type oil (such as naptha) in the presence of a colloid stabilizer (magnesium laurel salts), a new and useful synthetic fuel may be very economically produced. He has further found that by varying the relative amounts of the three main ingredients the range of fuels from home heating oil, diesel fuel, automotive fuel and high performance aviation fuel may be obtained. For example, a fuel useful as a gasoline extender for automotive use is obtained by combining 40% naptha, 40% methanol and 20% butanol and adding 0.001 pound of magnesium laurel salts per gallon. The mixture is heated in a reactor to a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit and the resulting vapors are passed through a water cooled condenser. The liquid fuel is collected in a holding tank.

A mixture of 25% synthetic fuel formulated as above with 75% unleaded gasoline and burned in a conventional automobile engine has been found to yield very substantial performance improvements from those of so-called "gasohol." More specifically, since the synthetic fuel has a substantial oxygen content, the stochiometric mixture of air to fuel is reduced from 14:1 to 4:1 and the production nitrous oxides is thereby substantially eliminated. Further, due to the high oxygen content of the synthetic fuel, the carbon content of the fuel is more completely oxidized in the combustion process yielding a higher amount of carbon dioxide and less carbon monoxide as well as substantially reduced unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust gas.

In blending the ethanol-gasoline fuel it is necessary to scrupulously avoid the introduction of water since a content of as little as 5% water will cause the two constituents to separate. With the applicant's invention the use of the magnesium laurel salts as a stabilizer provides a very strong colloidal molecular link between the synthetic fuel and the gasoline which prevents this phase separation. A further advantage arises in that the colloidal molecular link, once established, involves such strong electronic forces that when any part of the chain is ignited the entire chain tends to ignite and combustion is more complete leaving less residue to foul an engine or burner. A still further advantageous result is that the applicant's synthetic fuel does not exhibit the adverse effects on rubber and plastic engine components exhibited by gasoline either alone or in mixture with ethanol.

The basic ingredients of the applicant's synthetic fuel are available in abundance from readily renewable sources. Methanol is economically produced by pyrolization of any organic matter including wood, garbage and sewage. Butanol is readily produced by fermentation of garbage, sewage or animal wastes using any one of a number of bacterial cultures. Naptha, as an inevitable by-product of the cracking process to produce gasoline from oil, is readily available and inexpensive. As an alternative to naptha, coal oil, vegetable oil or any other similar heavy hydrocarbon is useful in the practice of the applicant's invention. The term heavy hydrocarbon as used herein is defined as any hydrocarbon having sixteen or less carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms at least equal to the number of carbon atoms.

The utility of a fuel; e.g. heating oil as opposed to aviation fuel, is determined in large measure by its flash point. The flash points of the three main ingredients of the applicant's synthetic fuel are naptha--155 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit; butanol--90 degrees Fahrenheit; and methanol--42 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, primarily by adjusting the methanol content the flash point of the synthetic fuel is adjusted to approximate that of the petroleum fuel with which it is to be mixed. For example, a mixture of 60% naptha, 30% butanol and 10% methanol and magnesium laurel salts in an amount of between 0.0001 and 0.001 pound per gallon yields a synthetic fuel having a flash point of approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit which is compatible with the typical home heating oil. The range over which the mixture may be varied to produce synthetic fuels compatible with the range of petroleum fuels is:

Naptha: 20%-60%
Methanol: 10%-40%
Butanol: 20%-40%
Magnesium Laurel Salts: 0.0001-0.001 pound/gallon

It will thus be seen that the applicant has provided a new and novel composition of matter of great utility as a synthetic fuel which may be used either alone or in mixture as an extender with a petroleum fuel. Since certain changes in the composition described above will occur to those skilled in the art without departure from the scope of the invention it is intended that all matter contained herein shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

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