Mother's Ethanol Fuel Show

In 1979 MOTHER EARTH NEWS conducted traveling ethanol fuel seminars in the Midwestern and Southern U.S. that were extremely well received.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
May/June 1980
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[PHOTO 1] A member of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' alcohol fuel team explains the distillation process. [PHOTO 2] Crowds view the MOTHER EARTH NEWS new six-inch column still in Louisiana. [PHOTO 3] MOTHER EARTH NEWS' latest alcohol-powered truck. [PHOTO 4] Seminar attendees ask questions during a demonstration of the still.

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Last summer, the big news buzzing all around MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Hendersonville, North Carolina offices was the series of hands-on seminars she was offering for the first time to anyone who wanted firsthand know-how on a whole variety of MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type subjects. Interestingly enough, the farmer's alcohol classroom was nearly "bustin' at the seams" every session . . . because of the overwhelming popularity of the subject of homegrown fuel. But more surprising were the letters we received — many of which were from farmers asking us when we would be putting our alcohol fuel program on the road . . . so folks wouldn't have to leave their crops at the most critical time of year, but would still be able to benefit from a good solid day's worth of ethanol education.

Well, within a few weeks, MOTHER EARTH NEWS' staffers were busy planning their first "alcohol road show" ethanol fuel seminar (which would, soon after, visit the nation's Corn Belt residents) . . . and were equally engrossed in building a trailer, tuning up the alcohol truck, and generally preparing to present a first-time, first-class, away-from-home demonstration on the production of homemade ethanol. The initial series of traveling seminars (held in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas) were such a success that immediately upon returning from the Midwest, our alcohol crew got busy mapping out a second series to be held in the South's Gulf states.

The Dixie trip (covering Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama) was — as expected — a real hit, too. Besides having our six-inch column ethanol still on exhibit and in operation at each stop, we brought along our smaller three-inch column distillery, plus a display section from our "in-the-works" 12-inch column plate still, and — of course — a variety of converted-to-ethanol vehicles and machinery . . . including a portable generator, a home furnace unit, our old reliable Chevy pickup, and our new Ford truck.

Needless to say, seminar attendees eagerly soaked up every bit of alcohol-related information available . . . and took advantage of the opportunity to ask specific questions (the kind it's hard to find book answers to) of the instructors. And the student-teacher exchanges were mutually beneficial, since MOTHER EARTH NEWS' crew brought home all sorts of useful regional information on crops, equipment, and local alcohol experiments . . . to incorporate in our future seminars! All facts considered, it'd be hard to imagine why anyone who's becoming increasingly strapped by the high price of petroleum fuel (and who isn't these days?) would want to miss an ethanol fuel seminar.

Fortunately, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is planning more . . . perhaps to be held in your area. So keep a weather eye on your local newspapers and TV — and an ear cocked to your radio — so you'll know when our alcohol fuel seminar will visit you . . . we're sure you won't be disappointed!

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