Monday, September 04, 2006

Hooch with a kick

Well over a year ago I started nosing around on a story that was too crazy to be true: an EU project to remove wine from the common market and re-sell it as factory-grade fuel. In an era of near-$80-per-barrel fuel prices, it makes some sense. And, there is precedent. During WW2, most warring European nations confiscated huge amounts of produce from the domestic market to make fuel. A little known fact is that part of Italy's war machine was based on apricots and other citrus fruits. Ditto for Germany, England and France.

How is this possible? Any fruit or veg containing enough sugar can be turned into ethyl alcohol. If potent enough, it can be used as a fuel or fuel additive. And, it's being done today. Here's my piece for Wired on the topic.

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