Review by the Energy without Oil Weblog   

Its time to take a bit of action, become a footsoldier for Ethanol. We need to start to fight back against the propaganda of the MegaOilRon. If nothing else, begin to think in a different way as to how our energy and food sources are supplied and who controls them.

In his website at Alcohol can be a Gas, Daivd Blume offers a chance to begin to take action to contradict and re-educate the public about the propaganda the “beneficial” Oil companies that make up MegaOilRon have been spoonfeeding the sheeple (no that is not a typographical error) ever since Rockefeller destroyed the home and farm still in the sucessful effort to make gas the only fuel you can use. And he piggybacked (although I would prefer to use a more colourful expression) the prohibition movement to do it.

Alcohol Can Be A Gas is a history lesson, a full outline of the various crops that can be used, and a proposal on how these can be integrated together and should be used to enrich the entire ecosystem that is being used. It is a methodology, a textbook and a how-to manual to upgrade most of the various internal combustion engines into a pure alcohol burning machine.

In fact, Alcohol Can Be a Gas is not really a book only about the distillation of Alcohol, although explicit instructions on how to make the mash, distill the wort and deal with the intricacies of the product are thoroughly illustrated. It is a treatise on how Ethanol can become the cornerstone of a new way of farming life and a comment on the importance of working with Mother Nature, not trying to fool and subjugate her.

Permaculture is a recurring thread throughout the book, and it is this foundation that the production and use of Alcohol as a gas is built upon. Standard industry has so programmed to deal only with the bottom line and the product it is producing, it has become terribly shortsighted in its rammifications to the entrire eco-system. Everything left over after production is sent out to the trash in some form or other.

David Blume’s philosophy of permaculture uses the concept that things should be planted in synchronicity, each crop and animal is symbiotic with the rest of the syxtem as a gestalt. All help each other to get the most from each planting. The thesis then builds to the conclusion that there is nothing in an alcohol distillation plant that should be allowed to go to waste, ever.  It should be a clean, environmentally neutral, zero pollution establishment.
In the later stages of the book, Blume makes the case that the production of ethanol is only the first..and possibly the least profitable, product that can be made by a co-operatuive effort, both societally and with the understanding of nature. One chapter offers an illustration of the way the plant interactis with its products to provide much greater proficts to the operators and huge benefits to the consumer.

Major statements by challengers to ethanol try to make the case that it takes way too much energy to make a single gallon of ethanol than it is worth… They argue vehemently that with all the fertilizer, pesticides and added acreages needed to grow the corn for ethanol, it is hardly worth the effort. Once you add to that all the extra energy needed to actually ferment and distill the corn, you might as well give up and leave it to the status quo… The Oil companies want you to beleive there is no need to put out the effort to even try to make it better. What is worse, as far as the detractors are concerned, all that corn is used up for ethanol so it is obvious it can’t be used to feed the hungry mouths that seek it should have been used to feed in the first place.

What a crock!

Permaculture promotes and espouses a whole different and radical attitude to the production of energy from crops. First of all, it is based entirely in organic farming, the elimination of pesticides and toxins presently used to grow our food crops. The ethanol that is squeezed from corn is not the final product of corn, far from it.

David Blume makes the powerful argument that ethanol is simply liquid solar power, through fermentation, the starch and sugar have simply been removed. What is left after that process is a far superior feed for livestock than raw, untreated corn. The remainder, known as dried distillers grains are much better for ruminants such as cattle after the process where the original protein is remains, but the sugar is gone. It is the sugar that causes a myriad of diseases in ruminants, and by removing it cattle grow faster on less volume. Distilled corn by-products actually allow the digestive system of cows work the way it has been designed by nature.

He takes the case much farther, stating that Monsanto has gone to great expense to produce genetically engineered corn that is resistant to the pesticides that are required to kill the pests that have been so prevalent for corn and artificially increased crop yields over the past few decades. But the cost for that is the requirement to increase the amount every year to counteract the loss of beneficial insects and field degradation - to the major increase for Monsanto’s bottom line. He makes the case that corn stalks, left lying on a field after harvest tend to naturally act as a herbicide on many types of weeds, but allow new corn to grow up through the stalks. When the leftovers of corn distillation are used as a fertilizer on the fields instead of artificail chemicals, the soil tends to regenerate and increase in fertility rather than degrade. Not something the oil companies want you to know since they are in the business to make fertilizer….of course terrorists wouldn’t like the corporate farmer to go natural either, natural fertilizers may burn some, but they don’t blow up real well either. The oil companies and Monsanto have a very vested interest in ensuring that Ethanol is made just like they want everything else made, focus only on a product and waste the rest.

Permaculture is much more labor intensive. People don’t burn oil to work, and the whole concept of the corporate farm is to remove people and replace with massive fossil fuel burning machines spewing out lots of oil based fertilizers onto fields that grow genetically manipulated corn. When prodiucts are grown organicvally, yields can be seen to increase dramatically, one of the book’s appendices shows a “mandala” plot of 30 foot diameter that will feed four easily, how much will 30' x 30' of just corn feed, I wonder?


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