[permaculture] Svar: Re: David Blume and "Alcohol Can Be A Gas"

Thomas Jahn tpj at life.ku.dk
Tue Oct 27 10:03:41 EDT 2009


I just want to through the following link into our recent discussion  
about biofuel. Not to support 'my view', but rather to question it!?:
http://www.discover.umn.edu/featuredDiscoveries/biomassBreakthrough.php

What Tilman suggsets here is in fact growing biomass in natural  
prairie grasslands for biofuel production. The growing principles are  
pretty much permaculture. The ethics of course are not.

You should also listen to the podcast interview (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/326/5952/527/DC2 
)
with Steven Hamburg, coauthor with David Tilman and others on a paper  
in the latest Science magazine issue with the title: Fixing a Critical  
Climate Accounting Error.

I am not sure if I am allowed to attach the article here, as it is not  
open source but only accessable to subscribers. Maybe Lawrence knows  
and can say something. I have got the pdf and could attach it here.

Thomas Paul Jahn, PhD
Associate Professor
Plant and Soil Science Laboratory
Department of Agriculture and Ecology
Thorvaldsensvej 40
DK-1871 Frederiksberg C
Denmark

tel: +45 3533 3484
fax: +45 3533 3460
tpj at life.ku.dk




Den 22/10/2009 kl. 09.25 skrev Gavin Raders:

>     Ok, time to jump in here!  Unfortunately, the vast, vast  
> majority of
> people (including most environmentalists and pro-sustainability  
> people)
> completely misunderstand ethanol production...it's history and its
> appropriate sources.  You really should read the book...sustainably  
> produced
> ethanol (it is actually possible) absolutely has a place as a value- 
> added
> product in 21st century permaculture in my opinion, far superior to  
> fossil
> fuels, tar sands, oil shale, liquefied natural gas, coal, and  
> nuclear power
> that are poised to remain the source of our energy production for at  
> least
> another generation unless something very dramatic happens.
>    In fact, energy production via ethanol used to be highly  
> decentralized.
> An incalculable number of small, pre-industrial farms in every part  
> of the
> U.S. (and across the world) produced their own ethanol fuel, and  
> fuel for
> the first couple generations of automobiles, within a system of  
> diversified
> food production as a part of a localized, poly-cultural, organic food
> system.  That is, until Rockefeller undertook a massive, behind the  
> scenes
> lobbying effort to make alcohol production illegal (the real reason  
> for
> prohibition), thereby eliminating the bulk of competition facing
> Rockefeller's Standard Oil company, which was using its waste from
> processing oil into kerosene to run internal combustion engines in
> competition with ethanol.  David Blume begins with this history in  
> his book,
> and it is fascinating.
>   He then goes on to lay out, from a permaculturalist's perspective,  
> some
> research on various methods for ethanol production, including from  
> various
> wastes.  One of the most exciting ideas, to me, is using cattails.   
> Similar
> to the incredible Arcata march in Northern California (a man-made  
> wetland
> fed by 18,000 people's blackwater, now one of the nation's largest  
> bird
> sanctuaries) a town or small city's blackwater can go through a solids
> filter and be sent into a large, man-made wetland, to further filter  
> these
> excess nutrients and use them to grow cattails at a very fast rate  
> (cleaner
> water as a result).  Unlike corn, cattails produce simple sugars very
> efficiently (simple sugars being what is eaten by yeast and turned  
> into
> ethanol), and can be harvested repeatedly to turn a town's human  
> waste into
> fuel.  Blume estimates (maybe on the high side) 10,000 gallons of
> fuel/acre/year, or more with multiple harvesting in a calculated way.
> Nonetheless, you turning poop into fuel, saving our waterways and  
> oceans
> this overload, and providing wildlife sanctuaries, green space, and  
> for
> abundant bio-diversity.  I've heard worse ideas.
>   And in the book, you'd also find (contrary to what Thomas stated and
> Trevor backed up), that once the sugars are turned into ethanol  
> thanks to
> yeast, you are still left with all the nutrients (proteins and  
> minerals),
> called "spent mash".  Farmer cooperatives in late 19th century germany
> allowed farmers to bring in their excess potato crop, and the farmer
> received back a portion of his ethanol, and most of his spent mash.   
> The
> farmer then used the liquid portion of the mash to fertilize his  
> land, and
> raised fat, mash-fed animals.  His alcohol provided heat, light, and  
> power
> for the new machinery.  It also turned something that rots easily  
> (potatoes)
> into a value-added product with its energy preserved.
>
> Its one of many dreams of mine to help work on one of those
> cattail/waste/ethanol wetland systems...maybe it will happen one day.
> Let me know if you have some ideas.
>
> Hope this was helpful.
> goodnight!
> gavin raders
> www.plantingjustice.org
>
>
>
> On Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 9:14 PM, trevor william johnson <john2116 at msu.edu 
> >wrote:
>
>> I feel there is a contextual misconception here.  What is
>> permaculture and what is not permaculture.  Its all defined by the
>> system in which it exists.  We must remember that sustainability/
>> fully interconnected interdependence (permacultures ideal goal) is
>> not a location, set goal or certain list of techniques.  It is using
>> the conditions of the system to support human life while also
>> supporting the earth, caring for each other and sharing the wealth
>> (permaculture ethics)
>>
>> Given that context correction...It cant be denied that the whole
>> premise of the book relies cars, tractors or other locomotive/energy
>> generating machine which most likely will not be part of long term
>> journey towards sustainability. But what is long term? There are
>> already a lot of mined metals out there that will be useful for a
>> long time. However as a stopgap measure in the meantime it is useful
>> to wean us off of more polluting energy sources.
>>
>> Thomas is quite correct in his assertion that what the alcohol
>> creation process uses as feed-stock is actually the necessary base
>> for a living and evolving soil food web.  If we break that cycle we
>> will only create work for ourselves.
>>
>> The lesson: dont throw the baby out with the bath water...and/
>> or...contextual permaculture jujitsu
>>
>> Trevor
>> On Oct 21, 2009, at 9:46 AM, Albert Johnston wrote:
>>
>>> I have read the book "Alcohol Can Be A Gas".
>>>
>>> I highly recommend this book for permaculturists. The point he makes
>>> over and over in the book is that feedstock should be waste from  
>>> other
>>> processes or selected permaculture crops such as Jerusalem  
>>> Artichoke.
>>> The protein and fat coproduced  used as feed for livestock,  
>>> earthworms
>>> etc.  Also the possibilities of using cattails in a waste treatment
>>> facility that produce large amounts of starch.
>>>
>>> I especially like the part about using the laws that protect  
>>> petroleum
>>> distrubutors to establish local ethanol producers as part of a local
>>> permaculture cooperative.
>>>
>>> Lately I have been pondering a new definition for permaculture. One
>>> way to define permaculture is ethical capitalism. Perhaps someone  
>>> can
>>> start a string on this thought.
>>>
>>> I am not a certified permaculturists so be kind on the feedback.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>
>>> On Oct 21, 2009, at 2:32 AM, "Thomas Paul Jahn" <tpj at life.ku.dk>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Sorry, but in my eyes this is not permaculture at all. As long as  
>>>> he
>>>> wants us make believe that we will be driving our cars and lorries
>>>> on alcohol in substitution for oil this is insane.
>>>> With large production of alcohol from crops we directly compete  
>>>> with
>>>> food. Using "waste organic material" (second generation biofuel)  
>>>> for
>>>> alcohol production is not an alternative either. After reading
>>>> Fukuoka it was clear to me that straw HAS TO BE used for mulch and
>>>> cannot be taken out of this direct cycling.
>>>> It should always be possible to generate some minor amount of
>>>> biofuel, so the methode in principle may be interesting. But not  
>>>> for
>>>> large production. Transportation will only go as human powered or
>>>> electric human powered hybrid.
>>>> cheers
>>>> Thomas
>>>>
>>>>>>> katey culver <newtribe at hughes.net> 21-10-09 2:23 >>>
>>>> On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 5:29 PM, Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> At the Financial Permaculture summit in 2008, one of the groups
>>>> worked
>>>> on a concept for a farmer-owned cooperative that would make fuel  
>>>> from
>>>> local production for use in local production...
>>>>
>>>> Additionally, prior to the event the hosts of the Financial
>>>> Permaculture
>>>> summit had brought David Blume to talk to the Chamber of Commerce  
>>>> of
>>>> Lewis
>>>> County (county where Financial Permaculture event was held) and
>>>> based the
>>>> Ethanol Production track of the workshop on the ideas promoted in
>>>> David's
>>>> book.  The people who came to lead that track are the principles in
>>>> the
>>>> company Pesco-Beam.  You can see work on ethanol production at
>>>> http://www.pescova.com/biofuel_production/ethanol_production.shtml
>>>>
>>>> They have been in the ethanol production business since 1980 and
>>>> have a
>>>> permaculture perspective.  They were loaded with good energy and
>>>> great
>>>> information.  I think they are very approachable so i would
>>>> recommend a
>>>> phone call to them to talk if you are interested in the pursuing  
>>>> this
>>>> avenue.
>>>>
>>>> Katey
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Katey Culver
>>>> www.earthandstraw.com
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 5:29 PM, Robert Waldrop <bwaldrop at cox.net>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> At the Financial Permaculture summit in 2008, one of the groups
>>>>> worked
>>>>> on a concept for a farmer-owned cooperative that would make fuel
>>>>> from
>>>>> local production for use in local production with some surplus
>>>>> available
>>>>> to be sold to the community, another useful product being the
>>>>> "brewers
>>>>> grains" which would go to dairies in the area, all of whom would  
>>>>> be
>>>>> in
>>>>> the cooperative too.  I think at that level, alcohol production  
>>>>> from
>>>>> biomass makes economic, energetic and permacultural "sense".   
>>>>> Giant
>>>>> factories using corn to make ethanol for use across a continent is
>>>>> clearly not a net-energy activity.  Corn is probably one of the
>>>>> worst
>>>>> things to make into alcohol.
>>>>>
>>>>> Bob Waldrop, OKC
>>>>> http://www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org
>>>>>
>>>>> Leo Brodie wrote:
>>>>>> Do any of you have any thoughts or experience with David Blume  
>>>>>> and
>>>>>> his
>>>>> advocacy of alcohol (aka ethanol) as fuel? He touts himself as a
>>>>> permaculturist (he owns the domain permaculture.com), and does
>>>>> speak in
>>>>> terms that make some ecological sense (local production, re-
>>>>> applying the
>>>>> mash back to the soil), but I'm not sure it all adds up.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> He makes it sound like alcohol burns completely clean, but I've
>>>>>> found
>>>>> academic research (e.g
>>>>> http://petroleum.berkeley.edu/patzek/BiofuelQA/Materials/
>>>>> ClimateHealth.pdf
>>>>> )
>>>>> that says otherwise.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I'm asking because I have never heard any mention of his work in
>>>>> Permaculture circles, but if his claims have any merit we should  
>>>>> be
>>>>> trying
>>>>> this stuff.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Thanks in advance,
>>>>>> Leo Brodie, Seattle
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> permaculture mailing list
>>>>>> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>>>> Subscribe or unsubscribe here:
>>>>>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>>>>>> Google command to search archives:
>>>>>> site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture searchstring
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> permaculture mailing list
>>>>> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>>> Subscribe or unsubscribe here:
>>>>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>>>>> Google command to search archives:
>>>>> site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture searchstring
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> permaculture mailing list
>>>> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>> Subscribe or unsubscribe here:
>>>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>>>> Google command to search archives:
>>>> site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture searchstring
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> permaculture mailing list
>>>> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>> Subscribe or unsubscribe here:
>>>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>>>> Google command to search archives:
>>>> site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture searchstring
>>>>
>>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> permaculture mailing list
>>> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>>> Subscribe or unsubscribe here:
>>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>>> Google command to search archives:
>>> site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture searchstring
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> permaculture mailing list
>> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
>> Subscribe or unsubscribe here:
>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
>> Google command to search archives:
>> site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture searchstring
>>
>>
>>
> _______________________________________________
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subscribe or unsubscribe here:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> Google command to search archives:
> site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture searchstring
>
>
>




More information about the permaculture mailing list