Skip to comments.Cleveland, Tennessee Based Kudzu Ethanol Preparing For Production
Posted on 07/12/2008 6:39:49 AM PDT by decimon
Could an annoying plant hold the key to reducing our dependence on foreign oil?
A Cleveland, Tennessee man who knows how to make ethanol out of kudzu may soon bring his refining process to market.
This time next year, the gas you fill-up with in Chattanooga may be cheaper than other parts of the country. Tom Monahan with Agro*Gas says Chattanooga will be number one and then it will spread out from there.
In the basement of a Cleveland, Tennessee home, Doug Mizell's experiment in energy appears to be taking off. He's found a way to turn kudzu into fuel. Mizell says "if it blows a good blue flame like that, that means there's purity there."
Mizell's spent the last decade perfecting a process to refine kudzu into commercially viable ethanol. Monahan says "cellulosic which is the way we're going, is from plant refuge, we basically can use anything that grew and convert it into ethanol."
And since this ethanol isn't corn or soy based, it won't impact food prices. It takes 10 to 15 pounds of plant material to make a gallon of fuel, at a cost of about $1.30.
Next step, producing this product for market. Monahan says "we're looking for funding to build our first small plant, what you'd call a demonstration plant to help prove to our major investors that it works."
Monahan says a major fuel distributor wants to purchase two-thirds of their first year's production to cut into gas sold throughout the Tennessee Valley. "The distributor we're talking to just wants to get it out there at 10% in all gas.
Mizell "wants that savings reflected at the pump too so that the consumer gets the benefit of that."
He says if that initial refinery plant proves successful, he'll build additional plants across the southeast every six-months. "My goal is to make East TN the cellulosic valley of the entire industry."
Kudzu. God’s own curse on the south.
Your strength becomes your weakness, your weakness your strength. And that is my profundity for the year. ;-)
To be commercially harvestible, it will have to take up land now used for food. We have a lot of kudzu in the south but it grows in ravines and on hillsides.Quit screwing around with ethanol and start drilling more oil
If kudzuhol is viable then there's no need to choose between it and oil. If, as per the report, kudzuhol can be produced for about $1.30 per gallon then it should retail for less than $2.00 per gallon. That's pretty good.
Another good thing about kudzu is that you can't kill the stuff. Cut it down and it just grows back for you.
Driving engineering types from up north into a southern nuclear plant......the road winds through a wooded area that has been taken over by kudzu. Its climbing the trees, spread like a blanket over everything...happy kudzu, big leaves, vibrtant green. The engineering types are looking and looking and looking and finally one of them says “do plants grow like this because of the radiation????”
“Cut it down and it just grows back for you.”
Same with bamboo.
I’ve actually wondered if either of those dratted plants would work for fuel. Glad somebody’s trying.
I'm glad someone's trying and I hope someone succeeds. And if it works here then it will work where these plants came from; just where fuel demand is growing the greatest. What would that do to the price of oil?
That would be good. I absolutely hate kudzu! It is growing behind the fence on state property behind my house. We battle it everyday. It just won’t go away. It is very fast growing and kills everything in its path. Horrible stuff.
God didn’t bring kudzu to the South, man did in his ignorance. Credit where credit is due.
I believe it was the Japanese to be specific. They brought it here durring one of the Worlds Fairs. It has a natural enemy in Japan but none here. The only thing that will eat it is goats.
God created the man and the ignorance. The buck stops there.
Yabut, will the total mass of Kudzu in the South be reduced or will the increased CO2 just fertilize it?
If there comes to be a market for it then you can become a kudzu poacher. ;-)
That’s the scariest thing I’ve heard in a long time.
Not that “radiation did it” but that an engineer could be so stupid.
Guess the Kudzu Kingdom South better get to raising goats then. Whole new industry available, goat milk and meat, goat skin leather, why I foresee “get your goat” as a regional term of pride. But then again, maybe not...sigh...
I question bamboo’s utility as a fuel feedstock (honestly I just don’t know) but it DOES make a swell building material.
If it becomes fuel then who will care?
No, but that's why all the fish have three eyes. (/rimshot)
The local paper reported success in controlling kudzu using goats.
It could continue to grow faster than harvested and carpet everything. Forget rising sea levels, the South could be drowned by Kudzu.
I wanted to ask last week if anyone though it was possible to use this cursed vine for fuel but I didn’t think I knew how to spell Kudzu. I should have asked because KUDZU is the way I would have spelled it.
Ah..The theological implications of kudzu...Now that would be an interesting thread!
Perhaps indifferent ignorance would have been more accurate as descriptive but in any event God can hardly be blamed for our mistakes, can He?
Kudzu only real enemy is man, in Japan they are fastidious in terms of gardening and grounds maintenance and keep the plant under control. Kudzu can be beneficial in preventing erosion, but must be kept in control by diligent pruning. Japan has more maintenance personnel devoted to their cities, parks, & highways per capita than probably any country in the world.
“The only thing that will eat it is goats.”
Cattle eat it (love it), and it has also been cut and baled for hay. It has one of the highest protein contents of any plant used for hay. But it was rough on the the baling equipment, and I’m not sure it’s used very often now that most everyone has gotten away from the small bales to the big rolls (or whatever they’re called).
But cattle will rid an area of it because they’ll eat it before anything else.
My inner Gore is telling me that kudzu would be a 'carbon neutral' fuel. When growing it Bogarts the CO2 just to expel it when burned as fuel.
Where are the PETK folks to get us to cut back on beef to allow for plants' rights?
Kedzu jelly is absolutely delicious. It is hard to describe how it tastes, but I will put it on an English Muffin now and then.
Know how to plant kudzu?
Throw it at the ground and run like hell.
I think he can.
“Kedzu jelly is absolutely delicious.”
Have never tried that, though I do have access to plenty of kudzu. Do you buy it or make it.
... the new American oil patch?
“Kedzu jelly is absolutely delicious.”
I Googled around some and you must be enjoying kudzu blossom jelly. And apparently kudzu blooms from July through September, so it’s time to gather those blossoms for jelly.
First up, we have Kudzu Bloom Jelly from Mississippi. For those of y’all that live outside the South, kudzu is a vine native to Japan that was introduced to the Southeastern United States in the 50s to help control erosion. It did the exact opposite, and without any local predators, the stuff grows uncontrollably. I’ve heard of people doing useful things with kudzu, but until this past weekend, I’d never seen it with my own eyes. Hence my inability to pass up a jar of Kudzu Bloom Jelly.
I tried it on a toasted English muffin with a little butter. Good stuff, if a little hard to define. It’s somewhere between apple and white grape jelly, though some compare the flavor to crabapples. It’s tasty and has a lovely natural color to it. I’d love to surprise somebody with it, particularly if they’ve lived around here for a long time.
* 4 cups kudzu blossoms (make sure that they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals)
* 4 cups boiling water
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 (1 3/4 ounce) package powdered fruit pectin
* 5 cups sugar
The thick woody vines can be used along with coal for the production of
steam in electrical power plants. Kudzu has half the heating value as
coal and very low sulfur content, and could be useful as a partial local
solution to air pollution and energy conservation
I think I’ll find some kudzu jelly and give it a try. Just checked outside and there are no blooms yet.
Kudzu also has medicinal and other uses. I’ve never used it as an herb, but:
"That's not what I meant when I said you could run it on kudzu, Hal."
If it will burn in wood burning stoves then there is another market for it.
“I believe it was the Japanese to be specific. They brought it here durring one of the Worlds Fairs. It has a natural enemy in Japan but none here. The only thing that will eat it is goats.”
And PETA will not let us eat the goats, so it will grow without any enemies.
More unintended consequences.
Kudzu, a gift that keeps on giving !
Why so? Seriously, why do you think so?
Kudzu leaves are also very tasty, and can replace spinach in your daily salad.
You can't be omnipotent and shirk the responsibility. Seriously.
It wouldn't have to replace oil to make me happy. Just enough to reduce the demand for oil would be nice.
Does that hold for the innocents as well?
My theory is this:
God set it up and is watching it play out in a most disinterested fashion. The big question is, Will we survive the game?
If this one doesn't work out, he can always release version 2.0.