Model T Fuel: Ethanol “The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumac out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust -- almost anything. There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There’s enough alcohol in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.” Henry Ford, 1925
Charles “Boss Ket” Kettering with 1912 Cadillac Starter
January 10,1901 Spindletop,Texas Before Spindletop, a big producer flowed 50 barrels (8 cubic meters )per day. The Lucas well produced 1,600 times that amount. It showed that buried layers of rock could contain tremendous amounts of oil. What is more, it proved that rotary drilling was an effective way to obtain it. Spindletop marked the beginning of the modern petroleum industry. Boiler Avenue
In the early 1920’s, while Kettering and GM struggled with the death of 17 workers in a tetraethyl lead facility, American farmers faced a host of challenges. Supported by Henry Ford, the Farm Chemurgy movement was born.
George Washington Carver; Chemurgist Carver worked on improving soils, growing crops with low inputs, and using species that fixed nitrogen (hence, the work on the cowpea and the peanut). Carver wrote in The Need of Scientific Agriculture in the South: "The virgin fertility of our soils and the vast amount of unskilled labor have been more of a curse than a blessing to agriculture. This exhaustive system for cultivation, the destruction of forest, the rapid and almost constant decomposition of organic matter, have made our agricultural problem one requiring more brains than of the North, East or West."
“As the Depression intensified and grain surpluses mounted in the Midwest, chemurgy’s initial focal point became the power alcohol (bioethanol) movement. Alcohol fuels had already become somewhat commonplace in other industrial nations, although their development in the United States lagged behind. That began to change even before Franklin Roosevelt assumed the presidency, as influential farm journal editors and manufacturers all lobbied for grain alcohol.2 Several Midwestern states offered tax incentives to encourage alcohol-gasoline blended fuels, or “agrol”; in 1933, Iowa legislators passed a law that required fuels to include a 10% blend of grain alcohol.” “Also, the chemurgists’ nationalist agenda threatened the political interests of farmers who produced goods for international trade and markets. And although some of the original enthusiasts presumed that chemurgy could benefit small family farmers by providing markets for their waste products, many others focused on the efficiency of large, agribusiness operations as suppliers of the raw materials that industrialists demanded. For good reason, chemurgy never received much real support from practicing farmers; many rightly suspected that industrialists would be the true beneficiaries.” Grapes of Wrath
End of Vehicle Life Requirements Figure 1 Photo of Henry Ford swinging an axe, in November 1940, at a Ford automobile’s soybean-plastic truck lid to demonstrate its dent resistance. From the collections of The Henry Ford Museum.
A network of salvage and shredder facilities processes approximately 94 percent of these vehicles, removing usable components and separating metals for recycling. Approximately 25 percent of the vehicles by weight, or nearly 75 percent by volume, remains as waste. Called "auto shredder residue" (ASR) or "fluff," this waste material is a massive resource-consumption and waste- management problemsalvage and shredder facilities75 percent by volume Each year in the United States, 10 to 11 million vehicles reach the end of their useful lives and are taken out of service.
Well-to-Wheels Thermal Efficiency When referring to the fuel efficiency of automobiles and trucks(mpg), we are really only measuring “ Tank to Wheel” efficiency. It is important to include the cost of making and delivering that fuel in the equation.
Well-to-Wheels Thermal Efficiency is still not the whole story. As a “Gas and Go” culture, we tend to only see the “price” per gallon displayed on the pump. When the costs of military intervention, health care, living conditions of people near refineries, trade deficits, spills and other external costs are included in an economic model, fuel is more expensive per gallon than coffee to go.