SGC's blog

Small Scale Alcohol Production in Local Communities. Growing Clean Energy and Organic Food

1. The extremely entertaining and forbidden history of alcohol as a fuel,

2. The Big Myths against alcohol as a fuel perpetrated by Big Oil in the Lamestream Media,

3. How to grow clean energy and organic food in local communities right now, and

4. How to use alcohol as an automobile fuel, cooking fuel, heating fuel, lighting fuel, 

refrigeration fuel, and electricity generation fuel.

 

1. Forbidden History of Alcohol

We are told over and over again that “Those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it.”  But history is written by the winners.  Make that,  ALL history is written by the winners.  So how do we glean lessons from history that is tainted? While both statements above may be true in a superficial way, Mark Twain said it best: “History does not repeat itself, but it rhythms.”  Here are two interesting historical rhythms.

Almost 100 years ago, John D. Rockefeller sponsored a bunch of crazies called the Women's Christian Temperance Movement whose singular purpose in life was to stamp out alcoholic drinking.  They wanted to send the “devil rum” back to hell.  What they didn't know was that they'd be working hand in glove with the Devil himself.

You see, John Rockefeller was in the kerosine lighting (as in supplying kerosine fuel for use in kerosine lamps) and heating (as in kerosine heaters) business.  He distilled kerosine from petroleum.  He would flush into the rivers at night the volatile, explosive, toxic junk left over from his distillation business, because nobody wanted a “molotov cocktail” as their kerosine lamp in their homes.

John Rockefeller, being a very shrewd Capitalist and Mr. Greed incarnate, found out that he could use this toxic, explosive, waste by-product to run the newly invented automobile— in the internal combustion (IC) engine was slightly modified.  

 

Most people don't know that Henry Ford's Model T car originally ran on alcohol first.  It was subsequently modified to run on alcohol AND gasoline.  Henry Ford's Model T car was the world's first “Flex Fuel” vehicle.  Henry Ford's motto was this:  “How can we expect the farmers to be our customers if we are not theirs?”  Good question.  He wanted to work with farmers, not against them.

John D. Rockefeller's motto and business practice were a bit different.  He called the toxic byproduct of his kerosine distillation business “gasoline.”  And he called the farmers of America his number one enemy.

In the cities, John Rockefeller controlled the gasoline stations and sold his gasoline to the public.  When Mr. and Mrs. Smith left the city and went on a cruise in the countryside, they would stop and fuel up at the local farmerʼs alcohol fueling station.  Why?  Because there were very few gasoline stations in the countryside at that time.

Around 1918, Mr. “Standard Oil of New York” (by the way, what does the acronym SONY stands for?) decided that he had enough of competition from those tens of thousands of pesky farmers in the hinterland of America.  So he sponsored the above aforementioned crazies with approximately $4 million U.S. dollars.

What the Womenʼs Christian Temperance Movement did with that money was nothing short of the miraculous!  They got the U.S. Congress to pass not just a regular law but a constitutional amendment in 1919 to ban the drinking of alcohol for all of its citizens and, much more importantly, to ban the production of alcohol for all of its farmers and everyone else.

Four million dollars went a long way back them.  Do you know how hard it is to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution?  Well, Congress did it.  One that was filled with hard-drinking congressmen (no women, of course).  Imagine the courage it must have taken for these brave elected officials to ban the drinking of alcohol for their fellow hard-working citizens!

The results were nothing short of spectacular.  Hundreds of thousands of American farmers lost work because of Prohibition and millions of dollars for millions of families evaporated.  

And for John D. Rockefeller?  Letʼs just say that in  1933 when Prohibition was finally lifted, i.e., repealed by Congress, there were no more competition from those pesky farmers because alcohol was no longer available as a fuel for the modern automobile.  Gasoline became the only game in town and out of town.

Mission accomplished.

During the early part of the 1900s, most of the farmers in the U.S. and around the world including South America, especially Brazil, Europe, New Zealand, and the Philippines grew crops to make alcohol as a fuel for heating, cooking, and lighting.  The by-products from making alcohol using grains were used as nutritious food for animals.  More on this later. 

Around the same time period as Prohibition, Germany was also in the alcohol business.  
The Germans, being very practical and a no-nonsense people, made alcohol from potatoes.  

Because they didnʼt have pools of petroleum sitting beneath their fatherland, the farmers would bring potatoes to their local community alcohol distilleries.  No money exchanged hands.  The cooperative distillery got free alcohol  feedstock (the input material for making alcohol) and the farmers got back 1/3 of the alcohol distilled from their potatoes.  The cooperative distillery kept 2/3 of the alcohol made, most probably for the war effort.

What is really interesting to note is that the farmers got back all the mash, or the solid leftovers which are full of proteins, fats, nutrients, vitamins, etc.  Making alcohol only removes the sugar and/or starch content.  These farmers used the mash to feed their cows, pigs, chickens, etc.  They used the alcohol for their alcohol lamps, alcohol stoves, alcohol heaters, and for running their tractors and other fuel-driven farm equipment.

This cooperative alcohol distillery model worked so well that it actually prolonged World War 2 as the Allies had to bomb every single one of the 70,000 cooperative distilleries in Germany.  Yes, there were that many spread all across Germany.  

During World War 2, German Panzer tanks ran on alcohol because of its higher octane (105)
and because it could be stored much longer than either gasoline or diesel.

Read the full article by David Chu here..

David Gallo on life in the deep oceans

Amazing vibrant video clips captured by submarines

Press release from SITA


The SITA incinerator: Cornwall Waste Forum calls for 'immediate talks' with Cornwall Council 

The St Dennis branch of the Cornwall Waste Forum has called on Cornwall Council for immediate talks to explore alternatives to the proposed incinerator, following their successful High Court action.

'We have a rare window of opportunity to build bridges with Cornwall Council' said Ken Rickard, the Forum chair. 'Our success in the High Court, where Lord Justice Collins was unequivocal in his finding for the Forum, means that there will now be a breathing space. This is the time to take stock and consider the best way forward for Cornwall.'

The Forum has long disputed Cornwall Council's case that there is no alternative to incineration. Indeed Cornwall Council itself was of the same view when it fought SITA's appeal last year. Current trends and new technology both point to opportunities for investment in Cornwall, with new jobs and businesses to support them. 'The most impressive change in the last few years is that recycling has become a profitable business, the amount of waste being generated is declining year on year, and we can now reduce dramatically the amount of waste going to landfill,' added Mr Rickard. 'There is a real opportunity for Cornwall to be at the forefront of new waste disposal technology involving the county's engineering talent. We don't need an incinerator.'

The Waste Forum's appeal comes after it successfully challenged the decision by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to allow an Appeal by SITA to build a 240,000tpa. incinerator at St Dennis. The challenge was heard in the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London. The Forum was represented by Barrister David Wolfe supported by his Leigh Day and Co colleagues and our solicitor Mr C Hopkins. The hearing was attended by ten members from Cornwall and one from London. The judgement was given on 13 October and the written Judgement will be released this Thursday 20 October.

The challenge was based on the threat the incinerator would pose to nearby EU designated "Special Areas of Conservation". The Judge backed the Forums's claim that the inspector, whose decision was followed by the Secretary of State, was wrong to leave the question of an Appropriate Assessment to the Environment Agency, which had already announced its stance that the incinerator would have no significant environmental effects. 

The Judge ordered the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to reconsider the decision and he did give the Secretary of State permission to challenge his decision at the Court of Appeal.

Whereas the Forum members are delighted with this decision they are aware of the self inflicted problems which now face Cornwall Council, and are committed to work with the Council and have taken the positive step of inviting the Cabinet portfolio holder for Waste and the Environment and some of his Waste Development Advisory Panel councillors to a meeting to discuss the way forward.

It must be emphasised that Cornwall Council had the opportunity to cancel the controversial and costly Waste contract with French Company SITA in 2010. This contract has continually been blamed as the reason for the pursuance of incineration as the technology to disposal of Cornwall's waste.

Ken Rickard 
Chair of Cornwall Waste Forum St.Dennis Branch. 

Tel. 01726822636.

E-mail: kenrick.trelavour@tiscali.co.uk

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Wild Penwith Hedge Survey

Penwith

Wild Penwith Hedge Survey:

Getting started

What makes Cornish hedges special?  They are founded on stone
boundaries, but the legislation to protect hedgerows nationally looks at
the number of trees and woodland species in a hedge, which is not an
appropriate method for our hedges.  The Wild Penwith Project aims to
raise awareness of  the historic, landscape and biodiversity value of
hedges in West Penwith, and to gather data on the range of species
associated with hedges so as to highlight the importance of these often
ancient structures.

Walks Boscastle

Trailer from Walks Britain - walk around Boscastle, watch the full version.

Simply Green Cornwall member Orchard Lodge Boscastle offer discounts to those arriving on foot, by bike or on public transport - so why not rise to their environmental challenge and save some money!

Latest member - Newquay Sea Safaris

Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing Trips

Newquay Sea Safaris and Fishing Trips

Chris and Annabelle Lowe have been running "Atlantic Diving" for about 25 years and in that time have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the marine habitat and environment on the North Cornwall Coast.

In the last couple of years they have expanded further into Marine Wildlife and sustainable environmental business practices including Cage Diving with Blue Sharks, Snorkelling with Basking Sharks and the very popular  Newquay Sea Safaris.

Newquay Sea Safaris website >>