Lasted edited by Andrew Munsey, updated on June 15, 2016 at 1:36 am.
Brian Hughes reviews new book by David Blume that argues for alcohol fuel, and what should and should not be used in making it. Also addresses the history, pointing out that alcohol was used as fuel before gasoline, and the politics that hinder it yet today.
On April 08, 2008, Brian Hughes wrote:
(Subsequently, several others have contributed to the making and updating of this page)
Below is a short summary of a viable solution to the current energy crisis that could be
implemented today if the right people got involved, educated the public and
started promoting it. This type of technology has already been used in Brazil
for over 20 years and our Government and Scientific community have been
spreading myths that it cannot be done today. I assure you through David Blumes
book, “Alcohol can be a Gas? that is can be done.
It can be done today at less than $1/gal of alcohol wholesale on a large scale and a 50/50
blend of diesel alcohol has already developed that will run our freight
transport vehicles. We could total end our dependence on fossil fuels within a
Why Alcohol for Fuel makes since right now.
We can grow and produce it now for about $1.50-2.00 per gallon retail(Brazil does so currently)
It was already used in American history
It is a proven technology currently being used in Brazil
There is no governmental red tape to go through as long as the government does not create any new ones
Alcohol is already being used on a small scale currently in the US
We can use some of the existing delivery systems already in place for fossil fuels
The only investment is large-scale distilleries, technology already available
We could grow crops (not corn) with land currently not it use without impact to existing agriculture
The whole carbon cycle would be ZERO greenhouse emissions, possibly negative
It would eliminate all carbon emissions related to fossil fuels possibly reversing global warming in 5-10 years
Only minimum modifications are needed to current gasoline and diesel engines to use alcohol
Huge potential for mileage increases with fuel vaporization
It could easily bring the US Economy out of a recession and no longer reliant on foreign fuel
It could end any political future wars over energy
Please take a look of my summary, buy David Blumes book and DVD. See for yourself that we don’t have to wait for the next best Free Energy thing that will just be suppressed or seized by the US Government for military purposes. No one is going to outlaw alcohol.
Tired of paying $3-4 dollars for gasoline? Try $6/gallon by 2009... Let’s not even talk about diesel! Do you really want to wake up in 2010 with your total net worth cut in half?
Most everything you use, own and buy is some way tied to Energy and our main source of energy as of 2008 is Fossil Fuel. The world's governments are fully aware that peak oil happened around 2006 and the world’s oil reserves are now on the decline. This is due to the fact that new oil is not being found at the rate of increase of world demands. This reduces competition and therefore increases pricing. Oil prices will never go down again till demand is reduced. Many Arab nations feel that oil should be selling for $200/barrel due to the $2500 profits from the various byproducts of raw crude.
The US Government/Corporate America will not allow us to buy electric cars on a mass scale until 2012. Thursday March 27th 2008, the California State Air Resources Board met in Sacramento to consider a plan to cut the number of pure electric vehicles that carmakers would be required to sell over the next few years from 25,000 to 2,500. That is less than the Tesla Roadster (electric sports car) will sell in its first year alone in 2008. If you have seen “Who Killed the Electric Car?? you might be able to figure why the California State Air Resources Board appealed the 2003 mandate that would have forced 10% of all the cars on the road in California be zero emissions and again in 2008. If air quality is their primary objective and not corporate influence this does not add up.
Why can’t we buy electric cars? Because the current Oil Tycoons controlling interests in the government (lobbying), energy companies and car-manufacturing will not step aside and do the right thing. The worst thing is that we could use the cars we already have if they’d start implementing what was done in World War I & II when there were fuel shortages. Start mass-producing Alcohol for Fuel! You don’t need corn to do it. In fact, corn is not even the best crop for alcohol production in North America. I bet you have not heard that one yet!
Alcohol was used for FUEL well before gasoline was invented in the late 1800’s up until the early 1900’s. In 1923, the price of alcohol from molasses was less than 20 cents per gallon. The first internal combustion engines were designed to run on alcohol. Henry Ford actually preferred alcohol as fuel to gasoline and was heavily into promoting it in the early 1900’s because it burned cleaner, till the oil companies priced gasoline so low that the farmers could not compete with it. Oil was sold between $1-4 per barrel for more than 50 years when is slowly raised to $60/barrel in the 1970’s. In the 1920’s gasoline was $0.15/gallon, 1930’s $0.18/gallon, 1950’s was $0.25/gallon, 1960’s $0.31/gal and in the most of the 1970’s it was $0.37-0.55/gallon. The first Model T Ford’s were designed to run on both Alcohol and Gasoline with an adjustment inside the car. Racecars have been running on methanol similar to alcohol for years because of its superior performance.
During World War I & World War II the US had oil shortages because they could not meet the demand with the current US oil production (Yes the US produced our own oil prior to the 1950’s). So farmers mass-produced Alcohol from BioMass, a technology that has been known about for well over 100 years using an acid-hydrolysis method to break down cellulose to create starches to ferment into alcohol/ethanol. In fact, most farmers ran their farm equipment solely on alcohol up until the 1940’s. The US Government under the necessity of fuel was more than able to set up and start manufacturing Alcohol for fuel within 6 months. The farmers of America produced the feedstock for fuel and everyone benefited! Guess what, we can do it again...
You do not need corn to make alcohol! There are dozens of better choices like sugar beets, switch grass, cattails, Jerusalem artichokes and even lawn clippings. In fact, the world’s most abundant biomass that can be produced is the illegal industrial hemp, which could yield 1000+ gallons of alcohol per acre within 4-6 months or 2500 gallons of alcohol a year per acre. This crop alone would bring farmers 5-10 times as much money as they currently are getting for growing corn (net profit of $50/acre).
We would only use 5-10% of our farmland to produce all the industrial hemp needed to fuel America. It was even agreed by Steve Rawlings in an interview with Jack Herer, the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1989, that Hemp alone was the only plant that could create enough biomass to stop deforestation, create energy and reverse global warming caused by fossil fuels. But hemp was illegal and the government would not allow it to be grown. Not even to save the planet!
We are the only industrialized nation in the world that does not grow industrialized hemp.
From Sugar to Gasoline
Published: 14:35 EST, September 18, 2008
Following independent paths of investigation, two research teams are announcing this month that they have successfully converted sugar-potentially derived from agricultural waste and non-food plants-into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and a range of other valuable chemicals.
"NSF and other federal funding agencies are advocating the new paradigm of next generation hydrocarbon biofuels," said John Regalbuto, director of the Catalysis and Biocatalysis Program at NSF and chair of an interagency working group on biomass conversion. "Even when solar and wind, in addition to clean coal and nuclear, become highly developed, and cars become electric or plug-in hybrid, we will still need high energy-density gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for planes, trains, trucks, and boats. The processes that these teams developed are superb examples of pathways that will enable the sustainable production of these fuels."
The key to the breakthrough is a process developed by both Dumesic and Cortright called aqueous phase reforming. In passing a watery slurry of plant-derived sugar and carbohydrates over a series of catalysts-materials that speed up reactions without sacrificing themselves in the process-carbon-rich organic molecules split apart into component elements that recombine to form many of the chemicals that are extracted from non-renewable petroleum.
According to Dumesic, a key feature of the approach is that between the sugar or starch starter materials and the hydrocarbon end products, the chemicals go through an intermediate stage as an organic liquid composed of functional compounds.
"The intermediate compounds retain 95 percent of the energy of the biomass but only about 40 percent of the mass, and can be upgraded into different types of transportation fuels, such as gasoline, jet and diesel fuels," said Dumesic. "Importantly, the formation of this functional intermediate oil does not require the need for an external source of hydrogen," he added, since hydrogen comes from the slurry itself.
Note: Henry Ford did the same thing (coverting biomass into the same byproducts as crude) over 100 years ago using biomass pyrolytic plant at Iron Mountain, Michigan. Pyrolysis is a thermochemical conversion technology used to produce energy from biomass. It is the same method used in crude refining developed by Standard Oil in the late 1800's.
Not even close! The U.S. used about 510 billion liters (138 billion gallons) of gasoline in 2006. The US Department of Agriculture says we have 434,164,946 acres of used farmland. Only 7.45% is used for growing corn.
It is conservatively estimated that we have 939,279,059 additional acres of unused farmland. It may not be ideal farmland, but could easily be used to grow crops that would be better than corn for making alcohol for fuel like Cattails (2500gal/acre/year), Sorghum (1500gal/acre/year), Cassava or switch grass (1800gal/acre/year), Sugarcane in southern states (900gal/acre/year), Buffalo Gourd & Fodder beans (900gal/acre/year), Sugar beets, (600gal/acre/year) any tubers will usually produce a minimum of (500gal/acre/year). Corn produces even less alcohol at 500gal/acre/year. If the US legalized industrial hemp it can grow anywhere in the US and would yield (2500gal/acre/year) of ethanol for fuel. One of the best (free sources of feedstocks)are residential grass clippings, which are considered to be a waste product for most Americans.
How much land?
When creating an average (700gal/acre/year) of ethanol through agriculture using various crops, it would only take 200 million acres of land to produce all the fuel needed to get America off of fossil fuels and it could be done without disturbing the existing farmland at all. If we would simply legalize hemp we’d only need 60 million acres (less that than 5% of the total available farmland) to do so. We do not even need to use any existing farmland to do so.
Won’t I have to buy a new car? Absolutely not!
All cars made since 1985 will currently run on Alcohol as Fuel (E85) with a few simple modifications. This modification typically costs $300-500. Many cars currently being sold can already run on Alcohol with a simple change of the cars computer fuel intake program in 10-15 minutes. Don’t believe the myths of alcohol’s destructive nature on car engine! None of your engine hoses (only fuel lines) need to be replaced. Your engine will actually run significantly cooler with 190 proof to straight ethanol/alcohol. Brazil has used a 190 proof with 4% water for the last 25 years with absolutely no problems. All these myths about alcohol are traced back to methanol’s use in racecars, which is not the same thing as distilled alcohol. Some experimenters in alcohol for fuel have even been able to remove the cooling fan all together increasing one’s car performance up to 17hp and a 10% increase in gas mileage as well. Generally an engine running on alcohol will last 40-50% longer and you’ll likely need less yearly maintenance as a result. If you look at the total greenhouse effect of alcohol for fuel from growing the fuel to using the fuel (total carbon footprint), the net effect is ZERO GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS. In fact, the cooler an engine runs the lower the emissions. Many consider alcohol to burn almost as clean as hydrogen. The basic long-term engine modifications are a higher compression ratio and adjustment to the fuel to air mixture. The only valid complaint about alcohol for fuel is that it can have problems with cold starts below 30F. But this can easily be designed for by fuel preheating. Also, E85 places 15% gasoline in the engine allowing cars to start in cold weather.
A 50/50 alcohol-diesel blend has already been developed and it is believed that an 80/20 alcohol to diesel can be repeated as associates of David Blume did it in the 1980’s with caster oil. That would mean of the 70 billion gallons of diesel used for truckers and diesel engines in 2006 we would only need to produce 15 billion gallons of biodiesel(oils). According to the US Department of Energy the U.S. wholesale cost range for pure biodiesel(oils) from plant life is $1.50 to $2.50 per gallon. That would put the price of diesel retail at or slightly higher than alcohol. Imagine how much lower the cost or what could be done with all the current tax incentives the Crude Oil Companies currently enjoy ($17 billion dollars a year)! Alcohol and diesel could even be as less than $1.50/gallon for fuel. Just a note, Industrial Hemp can produce 100 gallons of oil/acre/year from seeds as a by product that could be used in producing a hybrid diesel fuel of alcohol and oil.
You can currently use a 50/50 gasoline alcohol blend in you car (post 1985 cars) with very little effect on mileage. In fact, if you were to optimize your engine, your mileage would increase about 10-15%. If your engine were designed to use alcohol for fuel, it you would see about a 25-30% increase in mileage without changing the basic design. In diesel engines, when optimized for an alcohol blend, they will see about a 25-30% increase in mileage using and 50/50 alcohol diesel blend. This all does not take in consider the possibilities fuel vaporization. It is well known that if you can micronize the fuel your mileage will increase significantly. This was done with the Pogue Carburetor before the oil companies bought up the patent and lead was added to the fuel making the Pogue like carburetors not possible. But with alcohol, fuel vaporization has been done and we could easily surpass the 100mpg as long as the fuel is not tampered with, but if you can make your own fuel that will likely not be a problem any more. In fact, some believe 200mpg is possible in small vehicles. In freight diesel engines 30-40mpg has been obtained without any loss in performance.
Any fuel from petroleum for any use, including airplane fuel and jet plane fuel, has/and could be formulated to work with an alcohol blend. Brazil again has been doing so for more than 20 years (with small aircraft). In fact, it is estimated that with aircraft that they should expect no less than a 100% increase in fuel economy with fuel vaporization techniques.
“Its still too costly?, “we don’t have the enzymes yet? and “it would deplete the world’s food supply?. There are 3 ways of producing alcohol for fuel far cheaper than oil right now! There are probably more we don’t even know about. (1) Heating biomass to produce methanol, (2) breaking down biomass (cellulose) with acid-hydrolysis to create starches to ferment it into alcohol/ethanol and (3) using termite bioengineered enzymes to turn the cellulose into starches already fully developed by Denmark-based Novozymes and California-based Genencor, both of which were working independently with support from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and a major breakthrough in Oct 2004 which has lowered the retail cost to 30 cents/gallon.("Alcohol Can Be Fuel", page 133) Cheney was on record in 2007 saying the enzymes did not exist yet. Hay DICK!... Don’t you have to be a Jedi to use the Jedi mind trick?
'''We can produce Alcohol for less than $1/gallon wholesale right now, not by
It is estimated, by the leading experts in Alcohol Production for Fuel and clearly shown in David Blume’s book “Alcohol Can Be Gas?, that alcohol can be made for less than $1.00 per gallon right now at wholesale! Do not be fooled by the supposed scientist you see in the news as they are funded and bought by the oil companies to keep Americans and most of the industrialized world in the dark. David Blume in the early 1980’s presented a mini series on a local PBS station in the Bay Area on how this all could be done cheaply and effectively over 20 years ago, before being shut down by the Oil corporate giants (Chevron a big supporter of PBS). David says the real costs of alcohol production right now taking in all the whole cycle from the time the feedstock is bought from the farmers, tax incentives, manufacturing, selling the wet mash to cattle farmers and the possible generation of extra energy to the grid is less than $1/gallon and Brazil is already doing it. In fact, through incentives by their government, Brazil can now produce alcohol for less than 50 cents per gallon wholesale through a new weak acid-hydrolysis method. ("Alcohol Can Be Fuel", page 134)
David Blume further says, “that once the US is in full-scale production (across the nation) the cost to make ethanol is likely to drop to 50 cents per gallon wholesale?. That would likely mean for you and me, after government road taxes and production profits, about $1.50 per gallon retail for our cars. Brazil has been making Alcohol for fuel for over 20 years and they have been buying alcohol ready cars from Toyota, GM, Ford and almost every major car company, but not you or I. Why not? You are in the dark as well as the rest of the world of the potential of Alcohol for fuel. Brazil chose not to have their country to ever be held hostage to imported oil after the 1970’s oil embargo/crisis and told the car companies if they could not produce cars that run on alcohol, then they cannot sell cars in Brazil. Guess what happened in 6 months? Cars from most major auto companies produced cars that ran on alcohol in the 1980’s. Flex fuel cars were introduced in the mid 90’s and 4/5 of all cars bought now in Brazil are now all Flex fuel. Brazilians like them because it keeps fuel producers in line from a monopoly and price gauging.
General Motors has announced that they will have the world’s largest ethanol plant 100 million gallons/year up and running by 2010. GM already has a vested interested in ethanol, with 2.5 million FlexFuel model vehicles already on the road (15 models planned for 2009), and plans to make half their fleet ethanol-ready by 2012. Most Americans are not aware that since 2005 there has been a nice federal tax incentive to buy a flex fuel car and state credits as well. WHY DO WE NEED TO WAIT? Don't buy any vehical that is not Flex fuel. THAT WILL SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE!
UPDATE: As of Wednesday, May 28, 2008 Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Opens! A 1.4 million gallon demonstration-scale plant will use waste biomass to make biofuel in Jennings, LA by Verenium.
Well car manufactures have all have cooperative agreements with the oil cartels to milk the public for the next few years while they create the next commercial enterprise that they control (possibly hydrogen). It is already known that most all major car manufactures have working fuel cell vehicle prototypes, but will not be selling them till 2012. If it is business as usual there are back door deals going on right now in congress to repeal or pass laws restricting the production of alcohol to assure that they again can control the whole worldwide production and distribution of alcohol for fuel. Currently as of 2008, with the proper paper work, you/anyone is allowed to produce 50,000 gallons of ethanol and even receive tax inventiveness for making alcohol. You can bet that a tax law for fuel will be passed, incentives will be removed or they will implement something that will eventually prohibit any large-scale production for fuel unless it is government controlled. But who knows, they might just do the right thing this time. humm... Don’t bet on it!
All growing plant life needs carbon dioxide and sunlight to make cellulose. They remove greenhouse gases from the environment while producing oxygen and potential fuel (sugars, starches and cellulose), unlike fossil fuels. Plant life completes the carbon cycle and we can look at plant cellulose as stored solar energy. This solar energy collected by plants is much more efficient than any solar cell will ever produce. Guess who’s now in the solar cell business? (Shell, Exxon, & Mobile)
Alcohol produced from plants (Carbon dioxide + sunlight + water), then burned in your car creates ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS when the cycle is complete. A completely sustainable resource.
Old Organic Life (Crude Oil) creates carbon emissions and is a depleting resource.
Ask your congressman, get educated, spread the information, and demand it! Brazil has done it long ago and they currently are not facing the current economic impact we are currently facing. If you refuse to buy any car that is not FlexFuel ready, they will show up within months. It happened in Brazil in the 1980's, it can happen here in the US. The one thing you can always count on is corporation do not like to lose money.
If we would have used the $500 billion dollars we currently use for the Iraqi war, we could have completely converted our current petroleum system over to alcohol and be 100% free of fossil fuel today. With alcohol for fuel, we could create a million jobs and an industry that is self sustaining and prosperous to America. We can assure that we never fight another war over energy or fossil fuels.
So if you think this is all bull from some crazy guy (David Blume) that is trying to sell books, then why was alcohol fazed out of use as the fuel of choice in the early 1900’s? Because David Rockefeller (Standard Oil) and his oil buddies priced gasoline so low the farmers could not compete back when the US still produced its own oil. Well, the days of controlled pricing and US production are long gone! Look it up, check your history... See what Brazil is doing, why can’t one of the greatest industrialized nations do the same? When will enough be enough be for you $4, $5, $10/gallon?
Many Arab Nations feel that Oil should be selling for well over $200/barrel.
Did you know that for every barrel of oil bought $2500 of profits are made from it? Ethane, Diesel fuel (petrodiesel), Fuel oils, Gasoline, Jet fuel, Kerosene, Liquid petroleum gas (LPG), Natural gas, Generally used in transportation, power plants and heating. Alkenes (olefins) which can be manufactured into plastics or other compounds, Lubricants (produces light machine oils, motor oils, and greases, adding viscosity stabilizers as required), Wax, used in the packaging of frozen foods, among others, Sulfur or Sulfuric acid, Bulk tar, Asphalt, Petroleum coke, used in specialty carbon products or as solid fuel, Aromatic petrochemicals to be used as precursors in other chemical production such as pharmaceuticals and other chemical manufacturing products.
DID you know all of these crude oil byproducts can be made from plant based oils and cellulose? That’s right everything and in many ways often with superior end results. At least the carbon footprint is zero. The very first plastic ever made was from cellulose in the 1800’s. An additional bonus is that plant based byproducts are not remotely as toxic and crude oil!
'''So if industrial Hemp is the largest biomass producer why can’t we use
Hemp produces the largest amount of biomass on the planet, 4 times that of any tree. (2500gal/alcohol/acre/year)
Energy from biomass (enough to completely replace fossil fuels, nuclear and coal)
Plastics from biomass (the first plastic ever made over 100 years ago were made from cellulose)and Ford Motor Company had full scale biomass conversation plant at Iron Mountain Michigan in the early 1900 that created everything oil could from cellulose.
Can be grown anywhere on the planet without fertilizer.
Hemp is the world's strongest natural fiber and makes superior clothing, ropes, drapery and canvas.
Hemp cloth is stronger, longer lasting, more resistant to mildew, and cheaper to produce than most fabrics.
It could easily replace all wood & paper products and in most cases it would be stronger, more resilient and longer lasting.
Before the 1900’s Hemp was the number one crop and many of the first US presidents cultivated it and sold it.
With Hemp, we could reverse Global warming in 5-10 years if the whole planet started using Alcohol for fuel and stopped most deforestation for wood byproducts easily replaced by Hemp. We potential would never have to cut down a single tree again for anything!
Ask your congressman, get educated, spread the information and demand alcohol for fuel! Government only respond when the voice of the people get loud enough. We need to reapeal the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act and declasify Marijuana as a Class 1 drug!
The world needs hemp and 80% of Americans are ready to legalize it. February of 2007, a Lou Dobbs CNN poll (20,146 voted)
'''Who does your President and Congressman work for?
...You or the Corporations of America...'''
http://www.alcoholcanbeagas.com - Alcohol Can Be a Gas! - By David Blume
Purchase from Amazon.com
The Emperor Wears No Clothes - By Jack Herer
The Alcohol Can Be a Gas - The DVD lecture, by David Blume
Emperor of Hemp DVD - By Peter Coyote (Actor)
Hemp for Victory - 1942 United States Department of Agriculture Film (google video)
David Blume and associates