May 26, 2010

Carl Petzold Still in North Carolina on Vimeo

Carl Petzold Still in North Carolina from Greg David on Vimeo.
Turning out fuel grade ethanol at an appropriate, local scale. Everything local to sustain land fertility and modern living without big energy footprint. Appears with a chipper and locally grown feedstock you can survive and succeed well. Impressive knowledge at the farm level! He is being the change! ... Monte
Letting you all know that the trip to North Carolina was most excellent for the five of us from Wisconsin able to make the sojourn.  We're fired up.  

Think Gasifier Therapy Days -- South, with a creek running through and a few spare geniuses, plus two households filled with A1 humans added to the mix.

Kelly Barker, Jack Tambornino, John Walston (from Juneau Co. ethanol group) and Pete VR and I were able to make a blazing trip down to NC and back over Memorial Day weekend.  Met up with the Rayes (Tom, Laura & kids),  Carl Petzold, who lives in that sweet spot in Madison Co., and David Blume, who  flew in from Wisconsin's western region ( Santa Cruz, CA), who wanted to see what the boots on the ground were making of the info in his book. 

First we were given tea in the kitchen of a just-right woman -- Judy McCandliss, Carl's mom.  Treated to a couple of true Southern ghost stories from brother Stephen, and some background kindness from grandma, Brandi, JT, Victor, and Katie. This, despite the condition of Pete's socks. 

Then, b/c we couldn't wait any longer, walked thru a reconditioned tobacco barn (now drying sorghum) to a timber mill-turned-guesthouse-turned-ethanol-annex to catch the assemblage of parts that will be the  Silver Cloud 3600.  As Carl explained the features of the design he's come up with for Pete's commissioned still, he gracefully lobbed compliments Blume's way, which David accepted senatorially as due.  Welding high master, Rick  (?), programming expert Randy Johnson, also took some kudos for their skill. Video camera rolled, taking it in.  The new design should be able to produce nearly anhydrous ethanol from any likely feedstock at the rate of 22 - 25 gallons an hour and will shine in stainless glory  until Pete's grandkids decide to donate it to the Blume Ethanol Museum in Camp Douglas, WI in honor of the revival of the microscale ethanol revolution it inspired.

Next we were able to stroll past the field of budding sorghum to assist Carl (we helped, right Carl?) as he brewed ethanol from sugar water.  The whole process,  (see
search "Carl Petzold Still") to gravity feeding the beer into the woodfired kettle to waiting as it vaporized up through the column to distiller/condensor to proofer to tank took several hours.  At some point in here we unloaded the swapped gasifier.  Weren't too many tears from those of us who'd had it in our laps on the way down, especially since it seemed to purr when it stood in the Carolina soil.  (Greg's crackpot hypothesis suggesting gasifiers have feelings may not be so fringe. . )
Evening hospitality was served up by Melissa and Dave Bigg in their home a mile up the road from Carl's. Can't say enough about their hosting-mosting. Bullfrog chorus to shut down the night.

Second day much like the first, except it ain't bad to wake up already in North Carolina with a table laden with bfast foods and a guided tour around 30 Bigg & pretty acres.  We lost DB early, shucks, as he needed to get back to his glamorous life as an alcohol expert.  The rest of us then went on back and Petzolded through another run until Kelly's time-management skills kicked in and we had to pile in the van to head north.  

Just discovered this morning that David Blume had been invited on 5/31's Coast-to-Coast radio show as a last-minute guest and with all of us fresh in his mind, put in the good word for the Wisconsites & North Carolinans. You have 24 hours to listen to the interview for free by following this link:

.  Here's how Kelly puts it:  "Just spoke to Blume--he got surprised with having to speak on Coast to Coast last night when he arrived at the airport--he says he plugged us Cheeseheads and Carl BIG TIME."

Fitting Kelly should have last word.

Catch you all at the MREA, June 19 - 21 -- special guests the Silver Cloud 3600, Carl Petzold, plus all the usual suspects will be there.  Fire up!
Beth Gehred

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