1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

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1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby RobSmith » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:16 pm

Hi All,
I am just concidering powering vehicles from our land. If not vehicles, lawn mowers, strimmers etc
I could maybe allow 1 acre for use for a fuel producing crop.
We would be doing this all organically so yields are likely to be a bit lower.
I am just trying to find out rough quantities and inputs.
Has anyone got any experience of home producing ethanol in the uk?

Rob
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby hackware » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:32 pm

i suggest you browse mother earth news...

re: http://www.motherearthnews.com/

this site is for hobby home distilling of "drinkable" ethanol...

mother earth news will most likely assist you better with your goals...

william...
tell me how hard it is to do... tell me how expensive it will be... just don't tell me what i can not do...

lead, follow, or get out of the way... ankle biters will be kicked...

•*´¯)¸.•*´¯)¤ª"˜¨¯¯¨˜"william..."˜¨¯¯¨˜"ª¤(¯`*•.¸(¯`*•
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby rad14701 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:52 pm

How many topics are you going to almost kinda sorta ask the same kinda question in...??? This is the fourth topic you've hinted at the same idea in the last year and in at least two of the previous three you were informed that sugar beets would perhaps provide the best yield... Remember...???

How much time and effort are you willing to invest into trying to plant a crop, harvest it, process it to a point where it can be fermented, ferment it, distill it, dispose of the residual byproducts, and not have nearly as much fuel as you might expect for your efforts..??? You'd be further ahead to grow a cash crop that you could sell and then just purchase your fuel with the profits... Don't try pushing going green beyond practicality unless you don't have anything better to do with your life... Not being sarcastic, simply being honestly realistic...
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby Dnderhead » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:59 pm

yes i was looking yesterday,brambleberries 8$ a quart..............
at one time I had a over a acre of raspberries..I got .50
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby myles » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:32 pm

Forget it. Round here they have started growing maize to feed an anerobic digester to produce electricity. £100 / acre to sow and cover with degradeable plastic to start it off. The only reason they do it is for the subsidies.
You aren't going to grow any crop in the UK that will be cost effective for fuel on 1 acre.

Only the frowned on green herb would do it and that would have you in trouble faster than putting up a neon sign saying "distilling tonight".

Grow an acre of barley instead. :)
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby azeo » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:15 pm

grow food, distil free waste from others.. local famers, food businesses/factories etc, anything sugary and free is what you're looking for.

it takes some hard work and analysis of varous integrated models (that you eventually have to prototype) to grow fuel, so weigh up the yield and cost of prodcution per acre for various crops, rotationally, and seasonally, (or in the case of 1acre available, it might be less than 1 acre of production, unless clever permaculture methods are used) vs the value of growing food crops for personal use, and surplus for sale.. etc.
going organic might get better yields in the long run as soil will be improved, and you should be cultivating companion plants and crops.

prototype small scale scale conversion and distillation of various materials of interest, , verify the equipment and vehicles you wish to run are easily and reliably converted, or can run duel fuel. Verify desired demand form vehicles (or adjust demand to suit p[roduction volume etc..)

Get a copy of David Blumes book to own, follow the leads other guys have given to interest material, read and follow all the links I've provdied in this topic here previously. when I've recovererd from a recent exam, I might have more energy, but you have to go away and do plenty of homework....
1 acre in the uk could be similar to climate and geo-spatial location to many other areas around the globe, but local farmers are the best source of info for local growing, plus farming support organisations etc etc - as Nike says - just do it! tell us how it goes... then we might learn.....
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby RobSmith » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:14 pm

rad14701 wrote:How many topics are you going to almost kinda sorta ask the same kinda question in...??? This is the fourth topic you've hinted at the same idea in the last year and in at least two of the previous three you were informed that sugar beets would perhaps provide the best yield... Remember...???

How much time and effort are you willing to invest into trying to plant a crop, harvest it, process it to a point where it can be fermented, ferment it, distill it, dispose of the residual byproducts, and not have nearly as much fuel as you might expect for your efforts..??? You'd be further ahead to grow a cash crop that you could sell and then just purchase your fuel with the profits... Don't try pushing going green beyond practicality unless you don't have anything better to do with your life... Not being sarcastic, simply being honestly realistic...


Sorry if I have asked more than once.
It is taking a long time to get all this sorted and there is so much to think about.
I have gone through things, not just fuel, and disregarded them only for something else to appear that possibly makes things viable again.
Currently we might not have the luxury of hydro-electric so may need to produce electricity via other means. That carries on into maybe growing crops for other uses.

From responses it seems that the processing energy outways the quantity of fuel created.

We will be using permaculture techniques and learning about this now....... something more to think about.

Rob
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby rad14701 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:39 pm

We don't want to come off sounding like nay-sayers, we merely want to point out the realities associated with such a venture... Think of it as job costing... Your personal energy expended comes at a cost, both in time and energy... And that energy comes from a food source as well... And then there is any machinery that is used which takes fuel and labor... And on and on and on...
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby LWTCS » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:22 am

1 acre barely enough to keep your self in drink
Trample the injured and hurdle the dead.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby Dnderhead » Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:51 am

I thank corn produces around 150 bushels per acre?. and a bushel is about 60lb..?
so 150x60= 9000lbs .at 2lb per gal of mash it will make 6% mash.
so 9000lb of grain = 4500 of mash at 6%, then this when distilled
produces 270 gallons of alcohol..
I'm only guessing here.as i'm digging into the old gray matter..
but it gives you a idea.

now if you use 50 gallon a week, 270/50= 5 weeks per acre,, 52/5= 10.4 or it whould take about 11 acres to furnish enough for the year..??????
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby azeo » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:29 pm

Cattails are said to have potential of 1000g per acre, or more if utilising waste effluent, and converting some aditional percentage of the cellulosic material in addition to the starch. But using conservtive estimates, and dividing that acrage into harvestable swales, still has interesting possibilities. Wish I had some personal research to help verify this, but at this stage, none I'm afraid!

Growing cattails in large bins, or 1/2 cut drums hydroponically has *very* interesting potential, cheap and easy to trial, and arable land not required. Hope like hell there's an oportunity to run a trial this spring for this, but it does depend on engaging a few "parties', participation of which not guaranteed. It would be great to have some preliminary results to relate next year in our autumn/winter, something to aim for.

Really for fuel, one needs some automated equipment, equipment that can run tasks such as conversion and even distillation while other tasks and chores can be attended to, but still under close supervision and monitoring. Capable too of semi-continuous opration and distillation, other-wise un-reasonably large batches are having to be raised to temp and kept simmering, not an enjoyable prospect unless one is in a rural or industrial/commercial sized/zoned area.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby dougyethanol » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:17 am

how about grapes on an acre. 1-1.2kg of grapes make a 750ml bottle of wine.
i'm guessing you can get 5kg a vine, times by x makes alot of wine at 10%.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby rad14701 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:22 am

Just tossing this out here because I was going to mention it in another similar topic... One of the best yields per acre would quite possibly be an algae biofuel production setup... For anyone really looking to go green this might be the best option because any initial setup costs could be amortized over several years whereas agricultural production costs would be incurred every crop season...
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby azeo » Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:40 pm

Very valid observation Rad, finger on the pulse! Algae seems to have huge potential, especially for it's yield and density, waste stream conversion potential and lack of reliance on agricultural land, although tandem operations are bound to be fruitful. Much activity on the the algal front in the bio-fuel sector... eg, http://www.aquaflowgroup.com/ http://www.lanzatech.co.nz/ http://www.sustainablenowtechnologies.c ... ePage.html let alone the myriad of other activities globally. May be a major part of the solution to our energy and fuel woes when eventually a much more significant portion of our fossil fuel usage has to be replaced by a range of alternatives.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby Dan P. » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:31 am

Get a horse, keep him on the acre, and drive him around instead of your mower.
Problem with "green" fuels is that the beast you are feeding. i.e. the internal combustion engine, is in its essence not a green friendly thing.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby Bagasso » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:29 pm

It would depend on the weather. Sugar cane and sugar beets are probably the top choices. Also their is a sweet sorghum. Like sugar cane but can handle drier conditions. Here are some links:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/T4470E/t4470e07.htm

This one has some calculations about production of sorghum syrup:

http://www.ces.uga.edu/Agriculture/agecon/pubs/sweetsorg.htm

ETA: one of the advantages of sugar cane, and I would imagine sorghum as well, is that the juiced stalks can be use to fire the boiler.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby darcmoon » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:55 pm

A thought or two about growing something for fuel, in my humble opinion growing things for fuel (besides algae, good luck with that) seems an error in these times. However alcohol can be made from cellulose the substance in plants that can be broken down into sugars.Cellulose is broke down to make paper, some of the more friendly methods use a substance that we are familiar with, ethanol at 80%, this allows them to reclaim the ethanol for reuse, and also free sugars that can be fermented and sold as a by product. I've made ethanol from lawn clippings. Another method that sounds quite complex but really is not, the super critical water method (water @ 400C and 3200psi) is currently being used in a small scale continuous production plant in he USA. My interest in ethanol and it's refinement was originally from a fuel stand point, but have enjoyed my research (not lawnahol). Another alcohol worth exploring is butanol as it requires no alterations to gasoline engines and closer to the power of gas as well (hmmm a use for tails).
It turns out that yield of sugars from cellulose is quite high making it a good candidate for feed stock. Although at this moment it would appear interest in fuel alcohols would be a waste of time and energy, however with peak oil almost a decade ago, our children and depending on our age our way of life is going to change radically. A method of making modest amounts of concentrated fuel will be required to keep even a shadow of our former life style possible. That one acre of yours could grow great vegetables, as I won't be mowing lawn with any fuel I make, but tractors, generators, water pumps etc., could prove really handy. with gas @ $1.30 CD a liter in my area, the constant increasing demand in India, and China, it will be in the near future, that the skills to make fuel could be a livelihood. After all, lets remember that you could buy a Model T that ran on alcohol for there were more stills than gas pumps in the U.S. at the time. :)
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby roostershooter7 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:22 pm

Coming from a new guy with a fresh perspective on the subject ....

I also decided several years ago to go green and homestead my property. Here are two suggestions I might be able to lend you.

1) I began raising honey bees for a small income in honey and wax production. Just recently, in my ethanol fuel interest, I decided that if needed I could use the honey as a 'yeast food' for my ethanol still. From my winemaking experiences, honey ferments more cleanly than cane or beet sugar due to the high nutrient content contained in the honey that the yeast love.

2) If you are interested in grains then I would go with Golden Bantam Sweet Corn. It is an organic strain, and very high in sugar & starch content.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby myles » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:51 am

Honey is a good idea irrespective of ther considerations. In general sugar is so cheap it is not worth growing it yourself. Instead grow something that is expensive to buy.

Fruit springs to mind. How about an acre of blackcurrants underplanted with clover for the bees. Produce Cassis. Or Plums if your preffered tipple is slivovitz. With 1 acre you might as well produce something you like to drink which would cost a lot for you to buy.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby PurpleHaze » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:59 pm

I think 1 of the problems you are facing is going through all the hassle of sowing, growing and harvesting. Time and labor...

What I would recommend would be growing something that requires little to no maintenance. Something that grows back every year or remains there after winter.

You might become self sufficient in ethanol for all vehicles and machinery but I think it's a longshot.

You also have to cook up the boiler to distil the ethanol and unless you are burning firewood(not "green") from the land, you will be spending money in propane or electricity.

I would grow something I could consume as well as turn into ethanol to use in vehicles. Waiting 15 years for fruit trees to grow is probably not an option. Some people mentioned raspberries or other types of berries but I could see myself dying of old age or from loss of blood due to all of the scratches trying to collect enough berries to make the ethanol required for me to drive a mile or 2.

dougyethanol mentioned grapes earlier in this topic and I think it's a great idea. Your family would enjoy fresh grapes, could make your own wine "legally" and use the bad grapes or whatever to mash and distil to ethanol.

I am very far from an expert in grape vines but I do believe they last for many years, there are many species and hybrids available that will grow in almost any climate and others with little to no maintenance :D required.

Oh yeah, real easy to pick too...

So if you don't find the pound-for-pound best plant to grow and produce fountains of ethanol, go for grapes or another fruit man!

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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby roostershooter7 » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:01 pm

I still say honey bees are the answer.

If you start off with one colony. Then the next spring you harvest honey, and then split them. You keep doubling your 'work force' every year with a minimal start-up investment. You'll have to buy your first colony, but after that you are set. Plus, they're pretty self sufficient. Too many beekeepers these days worry about this disease and that bug, but they've been doing fine without us for hundreds of thousands of years. Why worry about them? We're the ones you should be worrying about. :D
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby E85andtonic » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:52 pm

All of the 'net energy' (energy produced minus energy expended to produce) optimization experiments that I recall involve a pretty big investment up front. They almost always include:
- growing corn
- producing ethanol
- feeding the corn distillate by-product to cows
- retain all of the cow manure in a tank - under the barn
- tank captures 100% of the methane from the manure
- liquifies the manure, and automatically sprays it back on the acre of ground to improve the yield of the next crop
- methane can be used to dry corn, or fire up the boiler for the still
- ethanol can be used to till, plant, harvest the corn - and drink a bit.
- lather rinse repeat...

Besides the initial investment, you will start spending a bunch of money on Nitrogen as Corn pulls it from the soil. Or, you will have to alternate corn one year, then soy beans (or other legumes) the other year. Not sure what the conversion potential for legumes are... sorry.

I apologize if I'm stating the obvious here, but I'm not really sure what exact equation you were trying to optimize.

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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby Washashore » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:33 pm

roostershooter7 wrote:Too many beekeepers these days worry about this disease and that bug, but they've been doing fine without us for hundreds of thousands of years. Why worry about them? We're the ones you should be worrying about. :D


Yes, but widespread agriculture and use of pesticides have not been around for hundreds of thousands of years, as well as Colony Collapse Disorder. When I was a kid, my dad went from 21 multi-box hives to nothing within a matter of a couple of years.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby Wormbiscuit » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:23 pm

Grow oil for fuel! Fruits for drink!
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby blind drunk » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:36 pm

A local honey guy lost his bees, again. He said it was a cyclical thing that he's seen before in his 50 years of beekeeping. I don't know anything about bees, but it's what he said. I found what he said mildly reassuring and I hope he's right.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby dougyethanol » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:30 am

theres a few here who seem to know a bit about bees, i was wondering how much honey do they produce and over what time frame?
i luv makin booz.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby retlaw » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:09 am

taking good farm land and using it for ethanol is a scam,

it drives the price of food up,(less land being planted for food)
it is not green,(the word green has been highjacked for profit)

as mentioned above, and other options:
-growing something more valuable, selling it, and purchasing what you want, farmers do this all the time, instead of
growing oats for their live stock they would grow another plant that sells for more and buy the oats for less, they get their
oats and make a few extra bucks on the land because they did not grow oats,
-a horse you can ride, and them you can take the waste and ferment it for a clean vapour Bio diesel Fuel called methane,

after all the time it takes to plant, grow, harvest, manufacture, and waiting a whole year, and this goes on year after year after year, solar panels would give you energy as soon as they are put up, they cost lots but last for 25 years, with very little to NO maintenance,
you have power from day one and no heavy work load year after year after year,
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby rad14701 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:36 pm

dougyethanol wrote:theres a few here who seem to know a bit about bees, i was wondering how much honey do they produce and over what time frame?

How long is a piece of string...??? :lolno:

Seriously, there are a lot of variables in play... The size of the colony... The amount of pollen within close proximity... Weather conditions... Yadda, yadda, yadda...
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby roostershooter7 » Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:03 am

Washashore wrote:
roostershooter7 wrote:Too many beekeepers these days worry about this disease and that bug, but they've been doing fine without us for hundreds of thousands of years. Why worry about them? We're the ones you should be worrying about. :D


Yes, but widespread agriculture and use of pesticides have not been around for hundreds of thousands of years, as well as Colony Collapse Disorder. When I was a kid, my dad went from 21 multi-box hives to nothing within a matter of a couple of years.



Colony Collapse Disorder isn't caused by pesticides alone. Sure pesticides pose a small problem to the rural beekeeper, but more often than not overmedicating leads to CCD along with other micro-deficiencies. If you wanted to get down to the 'nitty gritty' of the subject. We consume, as a society, more pesticides in one week than the average bee does in it's lifetime. The same pesticides that are being blamed for CCD (Systemic) are residual in our own food supply, and we consume them at an astonishing rate.

Could this be the reason for the high number of cancer patients? I'm not even going to worry about that topic.
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Re: 1 acre of land..what to grow..ethanol produced?

Postby retlaw » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:56 am

1 MILLION pounds of Food on 3 acres. 10,000 fish 500 yards compost
and thats one million pounds of organic food,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV9CCxdkOng

trade food for fuel,
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