Unfortunately, the camp fuels sold at stores aren’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Here, a 3.78L (1 US Gallon) can of the cheapest camp fuel fetches about $15.50. Well, what about regular gasoline then? It’s relatively cheap, and readily available, but can clog stoves and burns with an odour. Following my grade 11 chemistry background, I decided to try making a “gasoline still”. Because chemicals like hexane and octane boil at lower temperatures than other additives, boiling gasoline will yield vapours of chemicals I want, and the chemicals I don’t want stay in the retort. The gasses pass through a tube and condense to liquid, then drip into a separate container.
Disclaimer: What I have done here is extremely dangerous, with potential for serious burns/loss of hair and/or dignity. If you should attempt to follow my example, godspeed to you! But, I do not accept any liability.
Not being one to spend much, I skipped the lab equipment and went straight to fabricating this odd contraption:
|Gasoline Still – note the high tech device (rag)
used to prevent gases from escaping and causing a fire.
The Zippo lighter fluid can was filled with gasoline and then was boiled (very carefully!) over a candle flame. The gasoline boiled off and went through the straw into the watering can, where it condensed. It took a while, but eventually enough was collected to use.
The watering can was filled with a clear liquid and the Zippo can was filled with a yellow sludge, proving that there were a lot of additives. The clear liquid still smelled a little like gas, but not nearly as much as before. If one were able to control the temperature more, I’m sure the result would be even better.
The “white gas” I distilled burns fine in stoves, still with a bit of an odour, however. I hope to get some better equipment (and a hot plate for sure) to produce this faster and in greater volume, but as a proof of concept, I’d say it works!