10/17/2007 Ethanol Expert David Blume to Bring "Alcohol Can Be a Gas! to Chicago


October 17, 2007



CHICAGO—Ethanol expert David Blume will present a full-day intensive workshop, “Alcohol Can Be a Gas!,” at the University of Illinois, Chicago, on Saturday, October 27, from 9 to 5. The workshop will cover ways for businesses to enhance profits by producing and using alcohol fuel — including how they can make their own fuel for under $1 a gallon while collecting 61 cents for every gallon they use.
“About 40% of workshop attendees are usually contractors,” says Blume. “The rest are a wide variety — farmers, fleet owners, mechanics, consumers, community planners, ecologists, and people interested in starting their own alcohol-fuel-related business.” Attendees will learn how to:

  • Increase profits by producing and using alcohol fuel.
  • Build their own alcohol production plant.
  • Set up an ethanol filling station, and save money operating fleets.
  • Sell ethanol to the public.
  • Convert their engines to use ethanol.
  • Triple their engine life.

Blume is an experienced speaker and workshop provider. He has 25 years of experience with alcohol fuel. John Schaeffer, founder of Real Goods, calls him “the original alcohol pioneer.” Blume’s new book — ”Alcohol Can Be a Gas!” — has been called “the most comprehensive and understandable book on alternative fuels ever compiled,” by Larry Mitchell, CEO of the American Corn Growers Association. Blume’s website is at www.alcoholcanbeagas.com
The workshop is sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Sustainable Community in Stelle, Illinois. Cost is $197 in advance, or $250 at the door.
For more information, and online registration, is available at www.cscmidwest.org or by calling CSC at 815-256-2240.




  • State of current fuel situation
  • Peak Oil and what it means
  • The environmental effects of fossil fuels and post-petroleum fossilalternative fuels proposed
  • Oil shale, tar sands, coal, methane hydrates, hydrogen and nuclear power
  • History of alcohol fuel use around the world
  • From the Whiskey Rebellion to the present day
  • Where alcohol is being used today and in the near future

Busting the Myths

  • Does it take more energy to produce alcohol than you get from it?
  • Can we produce enough?
  • Do we have to choose between food or fuel?
  • Is ethanol practical without tax subsidies?
  • Does ethanol increase pollution or global warming?

Agriculture and Ethanol

  • How energy crops grow
  • Soil, water, photosaturation, monoculture versus polyculture.
  • Energy crops
  • Discussion of many crops that can be used for fuel
  • How to select feedstocks for alcohol production
  • Farmers
  • Waste products
  • Urban/suburban feesdstock choices

Feedstock Preparation and Fermentation

  • The sugar method
  • The starch method
  • Cellulosic feedstocks
  • Advanced techniques


  • Primer on heat and energy
  • Distillery design and principles
  • Vacuum distillation
  • Continuous distillation
  • Alternative sources of energy for distillation
  • Azeotropic distillation-getting the last 4% of water out of your ethanol

Alcohol Is Only the Beginning- Co-Products

  • Animal feeds
  • Fertilizer/compost
  • Mushroom production
  • Aquaculture
  • Mariculture
  • Earthworm products
  • Methane
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Single-cell protein
  • Yeast
  • Surplus heat
  • Biomass fuels

Designing Your Integrated Feed/Fuel Operation

  • Micro-plants (less than 10,000 gallons)
  • Small plants (10,000 to 100,000 gallons)
  • Medium plants (1 to 5 million gallons)
  • Selecting equipment
  • Tanks, pumps, grinders, agitators, heat exchangers, methane digesters, safety, and storage

Alcohol Versus Gasoline as a Fuel

  • Myths about ethanol as a fuel
  • Burns hotter, emissions, mileage, corrosion, blending
  • Alcohol and octane
  • Starting alcohol engines in cold weather


Converting Carbureted Engines

  • Main metering
  • Idle
  • Acceleration
  • General carburetor issues
  • Electronic Carbs

Converting Fuel-Injected Engines

  • History of fuel injection and how it works
  • General issues of alcohol and fuel injection
  • Oxygen sensor, catalytic converters, and EFI
  • Throttle body and multiport fuel injection
  • Older fuel injection systems
  • Newer fuel injection systems

Coldstart Systems for E-100

  • Addition of volatiles
  • Use of a coldstart device-multiple strategies

Tuning for Alcohol

  • How ignition timing works
  • Making timing changes

Assorted Conversion Enhancements

  • Taking advantage of alcohol's properties
  • Increasing mileage
  • Increasing horsepower

High-Compression Conversions

  • Mechanical
  • Non-mechanical

Smaller Engines

  • Motorcycles
  • Utility engines
  • Two stroke engines

Flex-Fuel and Dual-Fuel Systems

  • Origins of flex-fuel and E-85
  • Basics of system design
  • Modification of flex-fuels for better mileage
  • Variable-compression FFVs
  • Propane/alcohol dual-fuel


  • Producing both electricity and heat from your alcohol
  • Cooking, cooling, and other ways to reduce energy use with alcohol

Diesel Engines and Alcohol

  • Five methods for conversion

The Business of Alcohol

  • Economics
  • Tax credits
  • Legal considerations
  • Business structures
  • Legalities of car conversion
  • Legalities in production
  • Filling out the federal alcohol, tobacco, and firearms permit
  • Dealing with local permitting

Community-Supported Energy

  • Driver-owned stations
  • How to set one up and my experiences with it
  • How to set up a CSE farmer/ consumer system

Taking Action

  • Where do you go from here?



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