Removing ethanol from gasoline is easier than it sounds. Ethanol is more soluble in water than in gasoline. So, if you add water to the gasoline and shake it vigorously, the ethanol will attach itself to the water. After it has sat for a while, the gasoline and water/ethanol form two distinct layers and you can drain the ethanol/water in a number of ways.
Items You Need:
- Separatory funnel
- Plastic funnel
- 2 small glass jars
- Adhesive labels
- 1 g anhydrous magnesium sulfate
- Glass funnel
- Filter paper
Let’s understand how to remove ethanol from gasoline step by step:
Choose a funnel that is twice the size of the liquid you are adding. Separating funnels are used in chemistry to separate liquids. It needs to be doubled in size to give the liquid room to move.
Check the valve at the bottom. The valve, called the stopcock, should be closed to prevent liquid from escaping. Use a ring stand to keep the funnel in the air so you don’t have to hold it.
Remove the cap(stopper) from the top and pour the gasoline into the funnel. Pour in the water after the gasoline and put the plug back in place. Use approximately 1 cup (240 ml) of water per 1 gallon (3.8 L) of gasoline. Make sure there are no open flames nearby as gasoline fumes can ignite.
Put your finger on the stopper. Invert the funnel and shake the solution. With the stopper pointing down, turn the stopcock to open to relieve any pressure. Close the stopcock and shake the solution a little more. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
Place the funnel back in the holder. The stopcock should be facing downward in the ring stand. Let the mixture sit until the gasoline isn’t cloudy anymore and you have a clear separation between the 2. It will take at least a couple of minutes.
Drain the ethanol and water out of the bottom. Place a container under the funnel. Open the stopcock to let the ethanol and water come out of the bottom. Be careful to stop right where the mixture is separated, and close the stopcock.
Add about 1 gram of anhydrous magnesium sulfate powder to the jar containing the gasoline and swirl for 30 seconds. The magnesium sulfate will absorb any water that may still be mixed with the gasoline and form a solid clump in the bottom of the jar.
Place a piece of filter paper in a glass funnel and place the funnel on top of an empty glass jar. Slowly pour the gasoline through the filter paper. The filter paper will catch any solid pieces of magnesium sulfate. The jar should now contain gasoline that is free of both ethanol and water.