Car to Run on Wine

When Queen Elizabeth gave her son Prince Charles an Aston Martin for his 21st birthday present she would no doubt have raised the royal eyebrow if she had been told that 38 years later it would be fueled up and run on wine!

Prince Charles has never made a secret of his interests in environmental issues and has practiced what he’s been preaching by turning his household supplies around to reduce their carbon footprint by 18 percent after switching to green electricity.  The next in line to the throne has made a promise to reduce his emmissions of greenhouse gases by 25 percent by 2012 and is well on the way to uphold that promise!

His beloved Aston Martin is not the only car that now runs on fuel other than diesel or petrel.  He has also had his Range Rover, Audi and several Jaquars converted to run on 100 percent biodiesel fuel which is produced from cooking oil.

Car company Aston Martin contacted Green Fuels based in Gloucester for help when they found out that Prince Charles was interested in turning his ‘run-around’ to a more friendly environmental way of travel by reducing carbon emissions, as well as saving on the rising cost of diesel.

8,000 litres of surplus wine was purchased from a local vineyard by the company for the bargain price of only 1p a litre which was then ran through the distillery!

Once the wine reaches a boiling temperature of 11% the alcohol is condensed along with any remaining water and hundreds of litres of 99.8% of pure ethanol were produced by distilling the wine this way. 

Cheese Added to the Wine Mixture

This pure ethnolon then had fermented alcohol whey added to the mixture that had been collected from local cheesemakers.
"Anything that contains alcohol can be distilled in the same way you produce vodka and whisky. The only waste is fruit juice, and that is sent off to make biogas for electricity," says James Hygate at Green Fuels. After covering costs and adding duty, the ethanol was sold for £1.10 a litre.

Any car can be converted to run on it, so what's to stop someone turning their failed homebrew or leftover Piat d'Or into ethanol to ease the pain at the pump? "You would need an awful lot of corked wine to make enough fuel to get anywhere," says Hygate. "The best way to produce ethanol on any scale is to effectively brew beer and distil the ethanol out, but with the licensing and health and safety issues, it's not something we'd recommend people do at home. You're producing something that's extremely flammable."

Cars run on a mixture of wine and cheese fuels – whatever next? I don’t think I will have my after-dinner of wine and cheese again without thinking ‘should I drink this or pour into my car engine!’