You can buy 98% ethanol (the remaining 2% is water absorbed from the air)
without paying the tax. You may use it for fuel, compounding cosmetics,
pharmaceuticals, mouthwash, antiseptics, and dozens and dozens of other
things. The retail price is trivial (like $5/gallon).
In my younger days, we'd steal a gallon from the biology department (it cost
the department about $0.85) and have a party. One gallon is equivalent to 10
fifths of 100-proof Vodka.
As I said, you CAN obtain pure ethanol - you just have to jump through
innumerable government hoops (and probably pay enormous licensing fees).
Basically you either pay the tax or convince the BATF that your use falls
into one of the tax exempt categories. If the end result is something that
one can drink without going blind you don't fall into a tax-exempt category.
If you do convince them of this and you use less than 25 gallons a year then
there's no tax at all--if you use more than 25 gallons a year you pay 250 a
year for the privilege of not paying the excise tax. Hoops to jump
through--you have to convince them that you are a legitimate business, tell
them how you are going to use it, tell them how you are going to store it in
such manner that it can't be diverted to beverage use, and you're going to
have to keep books on its use and provide them the books on request (if they
don't like your record keeping they can pull your permit).
Unless you're using a lot of it it's easier to just pay the tax--it's 27
bucks a gallon.
Fischer Scientific and several of the other major chemical suppliers have
explanations of the various grades they sell--unless you have a permit on
file with them they charge you the tax on any alcohol that is not denatured.
Anhydrous alcohol can be denatured with less than 2 percent denaturant (but
the denaturant is going to be something really unpleasant).
So once again, while there is a way to obtain alcohol that is not denatured
without paying the tax, picking it up off a pharmacy shelf is not that way.
Only *beverage* ethanol carries the high tax burden. "Denatured" ethanol,
made unfit for beverage use by the addition of small amounts of methanol
and/or other toxic substances, is comparatively cheap.
Eye of newt....
Your scheme is basically safe, other than for possible flammability hazard
but I'm not sure if ethanol is the best solvent for your oils. You might want
to try a pre-production test with acetone, for example. (as used for
decaffeinating coffee beans.)
You could even ferment a woodchip/sugar mixture for the totally organic
approach but this will give a high methanol content which may be a better
solvent than ethanol; but must be evaporated off as it is decidedly nasty
stuff and will produce formalin if absorbed or imbibed and being embalmed
before death is not ideal...
Toe of frog...
Well, I have a BS in chemistry and know wood fairly well but that does
not make me an expert. The most concern is that the mix is flammable,
so keep away from heat and sparks. Of course the danger depends the
amount. The alcohol will drive the cedar hydrocarbons (resin) to
solution which is a physical change.
several replys have referred to toxicity issues with alcohols
(isopropanol) in terms of drinking or skin exposure.
this is information from emedicine http://emedicine.medscape.com /
Isopropanol, methanol, and ethylene glycol
In 2005, 7,394 cases of isopropanol ingestions were reported to the US
Poison Control Centers. Of these, 406 patients were classified as
experiencing "major" morbidity. Five additional deaths occurred. In
the same year, 807 cases of methanol and 5,469 cases of ethylene
glycol were reported. Of those intoxicated with methanol, 33 patients
were classified as experiencing "major" disability, and 6 additional
patients died. For those patients who were intoxicated with ethylene
glycol, 176 patients were classified as having "major" disability,
with an additional 16 patients dying.1 It is important to recognize
that these numbers likely underestimate the true incidence of
exposure, however, because of both a failure to recognize the
ingestion as well as a failure to report the suspected or known
ingestion to a poison control center.
The primary toxicity with isopropanol is CNS depression. These CNS
manifestations can include lethargy, ataxia, and coma. In addition,
isopropanol is irritating to the GI tract. Therefore, abdominal pain,
hemorrhagic gastritis, and vomiting can be observed. Unlike methanol
and ethylene glycol, isopropanol does not cause a metabolic acidosis.
The toxicity with methanol occurs from both the ensuing metabolic
acidosis, as well as the formate anion (formic acid) itself. Although
the eye is the primary site of organ toxicity, in the later stages of
severe methanol toxicity, specific changes can occur in the basal
ganglia as well. Pancreatitis has been reported following methanol
ingestion. Hyperventilation will occur as a compensatory mechanism to
counteract the acidosis.
As previously stated, ethylene glycol by itself is nontoxic. The
majority of the metabolic acidosis occurs from glycolic acid. One form
of morbidity occurs when oxalate combines with calcium to form calcium
oxalate crystals, which accumulate in the proximal renal tubules,
thereby inducing renal failure. Hypocalcemia can ensue, and cause
coma, seizures, and dysrhythmias. Autopsy studies have confirmed the
calcium oxalate crystals are deposited not only in the kidneys but in
many organs, including the brain, heart, and lungs.
33 years as analytical chemist.
the only reason I can think of is as a practice run.
errr.. if it works on cedar oil it'll also work on oils you might want to
ingest in small quantities ?
yerknow, _perfume_ and stuff. :-)
which reminds me... another solution
Small pressure vessel containing cedar chips.
Flood vessel with small qty liquid butane or propane which will almost
certainly dissolve yer oils. Run mixture into larger condensing vessel and
bleed gas off, leaving uncontaminated oil in condensing vessel.
Just needs a thick jar with a rubber tube in, a clamp for a valve, a larger
container to condense into.. (could be a big jar with a slightly loose fit
where the tube slides in) A can of common lighter-refill butane...
Obvious fire hazard, less obvious but very real is the danger of burns from
the temperature drop.
scrap the jar... use a block of cedar wood instead, slice a "lid" off it,
route a channel through it, thin at the ends, fat in the middle to take more
cedar chips.. screw lid back on and pass liquid butane straight through it,
end to end. Maybe screw in tube connectors or epoxy or... whatever.
Either way you'll get good, "dry" oil - or resin - with no solvent residue so
you can then dissolve in whatever expensive end-use solvent you might care to
use. Obviously the butane will be totally lost, unless you go industrial and
scavenge and re-compress it.. and then you'll have reinvented the fridge.
Hours of harmless fun for boys and girls of all ages.
Usual disclaimers apply...........
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