A blog from University of Borås

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Vietnamese Rice Wine with Snake Taste

People in Vietnam are used to drink beer and spirit. As I heard, in the rural area, it is very common to drink and take rest in the afternoon. The statistics by WHO shows that males (not females) of age 15+ drink more than 27 liter equivalent pure alcohol per year.

Rice wine (with ca 45-50% alcohol content) is a common drink. In addition, they believe if they keep snakes in this alcohol solution for a while it makes you stronger. If the snake is more dangerous and you keep it longer, then the drink become better!

But the processing of this drink with very simple equipment (home distillery) is interesting. Here I put some photos that I took from Mekong region in Vietnam:

1- They soak rice mixed with Baker's yeast (it means the enzymes become active)

2- They put it in jars and keep it for a while (fermentation occurs)

3- Distillation of the fermented mash to collect alcohol (obtaining 45-50% alcohol in water)

4- Kill the snakes and put it immediately in the alcohol and keep it for a while!

5- Cheers!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Greenhouse gas emissions in 2014

This week came the news about the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2014 that was 32.3 billion tonnes. It was the same as the year before although we have a global economical growth by 3%.  It is a very good news that shows a positive development to reduce the global warming. However, I believe it is not enough.

As I wrote before, this level of GHG emission is about 50% more than the capacity of the earth to reabsorb the gases and we should reduce it to less than 20 billion tons per year. In addition, with the current oil price, it is hard to believe that this positive trend remains in 2015. Nowadays, the biofuels have difficulties to compete with the cheap fossil fuels and it will affect the GHG emissions in the next statistics. Anyway, let's enjoy this little positive little news for the time being!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ethanol ED95 for diesel trucks

Ethanol is well known as an additive or substitute for cars with gasolines. For this purpose, hydrous ethanol (e.g. less than 95% ethanol and the rest is water) is dehydrated to ethanol with 99% purity and mixed with gasoline.

Now, ethanol is also produced commercially for diesel engines. Diesel engines have a high compressions and use no ignitions. In order to match these properties,  hydrated ethanol (e.g. 95%) is supplemented with about 5% additives to obtain ED95. This mixture has about 92% ethanol, ca 4% water and 4% other additives. It is produced now by Agroetanol here in Sweden and is being used by light trucks (26-tons with 270 hp bioethanol engines) in Stockholm. Such trucks are about 10,000-15,000 USD more expensive than diesel trucks as the engines need different compressions. The examination of these trucks show an average reduction of 68-85% GHG emission compared to fossil fuels. I wish good luck with this work!