Been looking a little at ethanol production, I hear it's cheaper to make from sugar than it is from corn or grain mash. If it took a lot of continuous work I wouldn't mess with it because I have more important things to do with my time, I get paid more for overtime at work than I could save on fuel.
So anyway in my hobbies I mess with automation and controls, I have a dozen or so PLC's around here to play with or make things with. I have thermocouple, RTD, and other assorted I/O modules for the PLC's.
If I could weigh up sugar, mix with water, and add yeast automatically, transport to a fermentation tank, wait a few days, maybe having a few small fermentation tanks, I could get a somewhat steady supply of alcohol/water. Then for the distiller, use a continuous mode where mix is added in, alcohol is evaporated out the top and water goes out the bottom. It would seem that with a properly sized heating element, it could be left on high and the temperature controlled by the flow of alcohol/water going into the boiler. If the top of the fracturing column is at alcohol temperature, slow or stop the inflow, as alcohol is evaporated the temperature should rise the flow coming in could be increased. Should all be pretty much automatic, shouldn't need a larger boiler or still since there would be a constant supply of alcohol / water until the fermentation tank was empty.
It seems like with a few valves, tanks, and a pump, plus the boiler and a chilled receiver, alcohol production may be do-able without too much daily time and effort. Not sure it would save enough money to pay for itself but a small continuous type setup seems like it could cut a lot of the labor out.