What's the process to convert wine into fuel?

Prince William and Princess Kate leave Buckingham Palace after their wedding reception in Prince Charles' vintage Aston Martin DB6 Volante, which runs on bioethanol -- or fuel made from wine. Want to learn more? Check out these alternative fuel vehicle pictures.
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Wine has powered movement for thousands of years, but usually only as the "liquid courage" that enables people to perform uncharacteristic feats such as dancing after drinking a few glasses. So maybe it's not surprising that investors and inventors have been working on ways to turn wine into fuel for powering vehicles. It may not be as simple as toasting and pouring a delicious glass of vino down the hatch, but converting wine to auto fuel actually works. Whether or not it will be a viable alternative to regular, petroleum-based gasoline any time soon is another story.

Alcohol is already useful as a fuel source in ethanol form, but only a handful of prototypes and conversions using specific wine-powered varieties exist. Maybe most well-known among the vino mobiles, so to speak, is the Aston Martin DB6 driven by Prince Charles of England. His little blue car was gifted to him by his mom, the Queen of England, on his 21st birthday and almost 40 years later, in 2008, the Aston Martin company helped convert it to run on fuel made from wine, called bioethanol. In 2011, the wine-powered car took newlyweds Prince William and Princess Kate on a post-nuptial spin for the crowds of fans and photographers [source: English].

Prince Charles logged up to a few hundred miles in the car each year after it was converted, and at about 10 miles per gallon, the car guzzles about four-and-a-half bottles of wine -- but emits an estimated 85 percent less carbon dioxide. The Prince's blue, biofuel classic is quite environmentally green. However, filling up the tank isn't just a matter of pouring in stock from the wine cellar. Converting wine to fuel involves some science, heat and careful handling [source: English].

How can a beverage made from grapes become fuel in the first place, and can it work in just any car with a few modifications?