Dwindling petroleum supplies and growing environmental concerns are significantly impacting the cost of petro-fuel and its infrastructure. The search for alternative fuel sources has led to ethanol, a gasoline substitute that is already in the marketplace as Gasohol and E-85. But large-scale production of corn-based ethanol is controversial as it threatens the world's food supply. There are alternatives, however: Brazil uses sugar cane, which is up to six times more productive in energy conversion.
After the energy crisis of the 1970s, there was a lot of misinformation about the cost of individual ethanol production. In order to achieve energy independence from gasoline, ethanol lends itself to small-scale production, and especially to cooperative ventures in rural communities, often using "waste" feedstock.
Alcohol Fuel is a practical, grassroots book that will give readers all the information they need, covering every aspect of making and using ethanol for fuel, including:
- Permitting and planning
- Budgeting and setup
- Sourcing feedstocks
- Finding and building distillation equipment
- Storage and safety
- Practical applications for converting motor vehicles, farm equipment, and space-heating systems
The practical, user-friendly information on basic equipment needs, fermentation recipes, and distillation designs will be of interest to readers looking for information, as well as to those ready to make the switch.
Richard Freudenberger was research director of Mother Earth News, where he managed the Alcohol Fuel Program and developed solar and renewable solar and energy projects. He is publisher and technical editor of BackHome magazine and lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina.