After reading the following, let me know what you think,
I heard David Blume on
an AM radio show called "Coast To Coast AM"
with George Noory and for three hours he had my attention. Basically David lays
out a plan with the ways and means to make fuel for as little as 30 cents a
gallon from stuff that we throw in the trash! Just like this last tomato crisis
with salmonella where they threw away all the tomatoes, we could have made fuel
from those tomatoes to use in our cars.
I guess the
key part of the show that really got my
attention was when David laid out the economic impact of using US Farmer grown
and made alcohol. Instead of paying money to a nation that does not have our
best interest in mind. We can pay US Farmers that are already getting paid NOT
TO GROW corn or soybeans to grow crops to make fuel. Then our fuel money can
stay in the country and boost our economy instead of transferring our wealth
Farmers can grow a diversity
of crops, not just corn or soybeans, to make alcohol. Corn will
yield about 250 gallons of alcohol per acre but sugar beets can yield 1000-1200 gallons an acre
and the mash that is left over from making alcohol can be used as feed for
livestock, fish, even human consumption or fertilizer for new crops! Nothing is
I did not realize that the first internal combustion
engines DID NOT use gasoline; they ran on alcohol. Alcohol has 105 octane
instead of the 87 in gas and alcohol does NOT gunk up your engine!! Dave put a
million miles on his pickup running on alcohol and they took apart the engine
and could see 40% to 60% of the original tool marks on the cylinder walls from
when it was machined at the factory! Alcohol does NOT have carbon
and carbon is what gunks up and wears out our automotive engines. Because it is
a clean burning fuel you can save thousands of dollars on costly engine repair!
Then we can get back to running our engines as Henry Ford and intended them to
run, on alcohol.
Alcohol Can Be A Gas
By Dave Blume, published by the
International Institute for Ecological Agriculture, 2007,
630 pages, $59
In the foreword written for this book in 1983, when the project was first
started, R. Buckminster Fuller writes that it is possible to harvest enough
energy to sustainably meet humanity's needs through solar sources while
completely phasing out all fossil fuels and atomic energy. Many know Bucky
Fuller for his work on geodesic domes. Few are aware that he was also in charge
of alternative energy research for the U.S. military during WWII, and held
ethanol fuel in great esteem. The author was inspired and mentored by Fuller in
the 1980's, and it could be said that this book is the culmination of Fuller's
work in this field.
The intent of the 600+ pages of Alcohol Can Be a Gas is to act as a complete
tool kit to revolutionize our transportation fuel system, from the grassroots
up. It combines sweeping vision with intricate ecological and mechanical detail,
starting with a thorough history of the use of alcohol as a fuel for internal
The Model T car was designed as a flex-fuel vehicle, and got 34 MPG on alcohol
until prohibition put an end to small-scale ethanol production. "There's a lot
that goes on in the world of energy that you never see on the 11 o'clock news"
writes the author. "The control of a country's energy is the ultimate control of
Blume has seen his share of the dark underbelly of the big energy conglomerates
in his 25+ years working in this field, and carries the scars to prove it. There
are six big sections to this tome, each of which could be a book in its own
right, comprising 29 chapters. Section I gives the sweeping vision of ethanol
set within the context of an ecologically renewed agriculture. The great promise
of alternative energy development under President Carter during the first energy
crisis is summarized, and what the author dubs 'MegaOilron's' success at
Blume dives quickly into the controversies swirling around ethanol as a fuel
with a chapter entitled 'Busting The Myths.' These myths include: 'Ethanol's net
energy is negative' (studies from Brazil show ethanol has a positive net energy
ratio of 9.0 when using sugarcane); 'There isn't enough land to grow the crops
for ethanol' (highway medians could grow enough ethanol crops to supply 40% of
America's gasoline); Ethanol is an ecological nightmare' (a permaculture ethanol
system vastly improves soil fertility); 'It's food vs. fuel' (cattails grown in
wastewater show tremendous promise); and 'Ethanol fuel does not address global
warming' (the growing of plants, especially if organic, ties up much more CO2
than goes into the ethanol).
Part of the beauty of this book is its ecological sensibility. Blume is an
organic farmer and brings 20+ years of bioregional wisdom to his writing. Two
chapters contrast the nightmare of America continuing on its present energy
course vs. retooling the way we do agriculture and energy along the regenerative
principles of Permaculture design. There are sidebars on the restoration of
degraded prairie farmland using highly complex fuel crop polycultures, and the
practice of swale contour farming to replenish groundwater and topsoil.
His vision for a grassroots ethanol revolution is ambitious but conceivable: "A
nationwide switch to organic farming is in order, but it can't work if we
maintain a monoculture-based system, with its present emphasis on corn farming."
The second big section of Alcohol Can Be a Gas has five chapters laying out the
How To's of alcohol production for fuel, including chapters on feedstocks
(everything from algae to buffalo gourd), fermentation technology, distillation,
and plant design.
Section III deals with saleable or otherwise useful 'co-products' from alcohol
production -- from livestock and aquaculture feeds to yeast, methane, protein
and propagation material for mushroom production. Sections IV, V & VI address
the mechanics, regulations and subsidies for using alcohol in engines: "We can
put 85% alcohol in our cars now! Really!"
Included are chapters on the business of alcohol, its economic, regulatory and
legal considerations and a practical vision of small-scale production that Blume
dubs "Community Supported Energy." Six case studies depict the type of
grassroots on-farm ethanol production the author envisions in his revolution.
Alcohol Can Be a Gas is tailor written for people who want to put their shoulders to
the millstone and do something. Despite its focus on ethanol as
The solution to our looming energy crises, this book has the feel of a resource
one does not want to be without -- the depth of a Whole Earth Catalog hybridized
with the humor of a Humanure Handbook.
Those people working on biofuel development would be well advised to study the
history of ethanol cooperatives described in this book -- honesty, integrity and
setting a high ethical standard seem to be crucial to success.
I hope you will order your copy of "Alcohol Can Be A Gas"!
Click Here to get your copy
You can even turn the waste in your septic tank into fuel
for your car!
Thanks, Tom Stepanski Jr.