Just like how ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is distilled from fermented sugar, gasoline is more or less distilled from petroleum oil. Gasoline is generally not a pure liquid and in order for it to perform optimally as a fuel for internal combustion engines, it is made up of both distilled petroleum and an array of additives (often including ethanol). Due to emissions standards in most regions, engines are required to operate within certain allowances of exhaust polluting emissions and as such the gasoline for these engines must be modified to operate within desired thresholds of temperature and pressure. Gasoline is like a watered-down fuel, but instead of water it contains a mixture of other elements which help it burn longer, slower and in most cases cooler and more stable. Whereas most conventional engines would require modification to operate with ethanol, gasoline functions as the optimal fuel that can be modified to meet the octane requirements of the engine.

You can refine the main elements of gasoline from petroleum oil, but you can also do so from organic material and garbage. The fuel yielded from the latter is considered synthetic gasoline; it functions the same but is not derived directly from petroleum fossil fuel. Gasoline also shouldn’t be confused for kerosene (or paraffin). While both are refined from petroleum oil, both are different compounds (with different properties) that can be distilled from crude oil. The most effective way to refine gasoline is by using something called the Fischer Tropsch process; a chemical reactor. Think of a reactor as a machine that controls a series of reactions (in this case chemical) that will convert something into something else. In this case, the reactor is very similar to a still and capable of precise control over the process and product yielded. If different compounds can be refined at different temperatures or pressures; the Fischer Tropsch process can a achieve desired results.

While this article is similar to our article on making ethanol, it is specific to gasoline and it’s properties. It is generally only used as a combustible fuel and unlike alcohol, cannot be ingested by humans. While ethanol requires the addition of gasoline to operate in most internal combustion engines, gasoline often requires some ethanol to perform optimally. Making synthetic gasoline from trash requires a little bit of trash and some specialized equipment.

To refine gasoline in a FT (Fischer Tropsch) machine using trash, said trash must be comprised of organic waste. Similar to with ethanol production, you must create a mash before adding your mixture to the apparatus. For simplicity and safety’s sake, we recommend just buying a FT reactor here and then following the operating directions provided.

Otherwise, we can teach you how to make a basic FT reactor here.