Ethanol’s First Century

Rua da Assembleia, No. 51, 12 andar
CEP 20011-001 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil


Cover illustration from the Congress des Applications de L’Alcool Denature, 23 Dec., 1902, Automobile-Club de France. The illustration aptly shows the hope for rural – urban balance, or the machine appropriately placed in the garden, as part of the early rhetoric surrounding the development of alcohol fuel. The exhibit of alcohol fueled appliances at this Congress featured stoves, water heaters, coffee roasters, lamps and motors manufactured primarily in Germany. The exhibit toured Europe and the US for a decade and stops included the Jamestown exhibit in Norfolk, Va in 1907 and various Grange exhibits in 1908.

Fuel blending and substitution programs in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America

William (Bill) Kovarik, Ph.D.

The history of the petroleum industry is well known, but the history of alternatives to petroleum has, until recently, been disproportionately obscure in relation not only to the size of today’s alternative energy industry but also its potential significance.

A lack of useable history has had interesting consequences. In some cases, debate over alternatives to leaded gasoline or benzene was carried on in a complete vacuum of historical experience, to the detriment of public health policy.  In other cases, researchers who “discovered” alternatives in the 1970s found only later that others had taken similar pathways. All of this goes to reinforce George Santayana’s famous maxim that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Historians are today attempting to re-assemble what was known about alcohol fuels and the wider variety of renewable energy sources and petroleum alternatives.

With respect to historiographic issues, it is sometimes argued that historians of technology might pay attention to “roads not taken” in order to avoid a “whig” approach to history.  We should not focus simply on “success stories.” (Staudenmier, 1988).  However, this advice is rarely heeded, and what we often find in the history of energy are two dominant narratives:

1) Struggle over giant oil fields, upon which the world must necessarily rely (Yergin, 1991) ;

and 2) The inventive process by which the engine knock problem was finally solved with metallic lead, and which obviated a need to consider any other possible solution (Hughes, 1979).

Library shelves are filled with these two success story narratives of energy history. The problem, with 20-20 hindsight, is of course that neither of these narratives now describe anything close to success.

Using a variety of archival sources, it is possible to piece together an admittedly incomplete mosaic of the development of alcohol fuels from the very earliest days of the automobile.   It is entirely possible that additional documentation will come to light expanding on or possibly contradicting these notes and observations. This author welcomes any insights or contacts from scholars in that regard.

Every industrial nation has substituted part of its oil supply at one time or another, usually with agricultural ethanol.  At its early peak in 1935, four million European vehicles used about 500 million liters (150 million gallons) of alcohol in blends with gasoline.  The largest users were France with 290 million liters  (77 million gallons); Germany with 178 million liters  (47 million gallons); and Czechoslovakia with 41 million liters (11 million gallons). (Reed, 1975; Nash, 1938).

The alcohol fuel option was well known and practical, if somewhat more expensive than gasoline. Imported gasoline often sold for 9 or 10 cents per gallon, while ethanol sold for between 15 and 70 cents per gallon depending on the feedstock source and the level of government subsidy.

Many nations required fuel marketers to blend fixed amounts of alcohol into gasoline, while others encouraged fuel alcohol markets with tax breaks.  Most of these programs ran into opposition by the oil industry, sometimes on a commercial level (especially through anti-competitive pricing) and at other times with politically vehement and technically mendacious arguments.

While economic issues have generally worked against the use of alcohol in favor of gasoline,  it would be simplistic to view the problem simply in terms of relative consumer expense. Prices for ethyl alcohol blends and high octane gasoline are usually in the same relative range, and alcohol has been cheaper at times in various countries, depending on international politics and national tariff and incentive program.  The idea that the “invisible hand” of open market competition should dictate a nation’s strategic energy policy often ignores some of the other invisible influences in the market.  It is not at all unusual to find governments elevating their vision above such simplistic concepts and taking steps to protect national security and agricultural markets.

In the cultural and political context, alternative fuels — especially ethanol — have held a symbolic and politically strategic significance among advocates and opponents alike that goes far beyond the simple substitution of one product for another. Political opponents, especially in the United States, have claimed that ethyl alcohol fuel incentives are schemes for robbing taxpayers to enrich farmers, for turning food for the poor into fuel for the rich. They fear (with some justification) compounding soil erosion problems, and they see ethanol as a marginally useful enhancement or replacement fuel for a transportation system that is poorly designed in the first place.

On the other hand, advocates have seen in alcohol fuels the potential for stabilizing  agricultural economics, for dispelling city smog, and for curbing the power of the petroleum industry over the economy and, in recent years, providing a feasible waay to adapt the old system into a renewably based liquid fuel system. Although concern about climate change is relatively new, the idea that agriculture and biological resources could be primary sources of energy, the idea that humankind could live on solar “income” rather than fossil fuel “capital,” has held a fascination for several generations of automotive and agricultural engineers. (Perlin, 1980, Bernton, 1982)

Advocates for alcohol fuel have also seen the potential to help strike balance between city and farm and the prospect of civilizing and humanizing industrial machinery.  For instance, this hope was graphically depicted in the symbolism used at the 1902 Paris alcohol fuel exposition. On the cover of the exposition’s proceedings, a muse with an overflowing bouquet of roses looks down over the steering wheel with a confident smile. She is a portrait of wisdom and beauty, firmly in control of a gentle machine which seems appropriately located in some lush flower garden.  (Illustration above)

Rhetoric of the technological sublime, as it has been called, frequently attends the birth of any new technology, and of course there is nothing surprising about the high hopes of French automobile enthusiasts for alcohol fuel in 1902. While the spirit of the marriage was not always as artfully depicted, many of the great scientific minds of the 20th century expressed their support and interest specifically in alcohol as a high quality fuel and the general idea of opening vast new industrial markets for farm products. These include Henry Ford, Charles Kettering, Alexander Graham Bell in the US,  Henry Ricardo in the United Kingdom, and others.  In fact, during the early decades of the 20th century the “universal assumption that alcohol in some form will be a constituent of the motor fuel of the future.”   (Scientific American,  1920).

Yet the invention of leaded gasoline and the intervention of defensive technological research sidetracked the development of alternative fuels.  Of this technological prejudice, .S.W. Pleeth observed in his 1949 book:

“The bias aroused by the use of alcohol as a motor fuel has produced [research] results in different parts of the world that are incompatible with each other. . . . Countries with considerable oil deposits—such as the U.S—or which control oil deposits of other lands—such as Holland—tend to produce reports antithetical to the use of fuels alternative to petrol; countries with little or no  indigenous oil tend to produce favorable reports. The contrast is most marked. One can scarcely avoid the conclusion that the results arrived at are those best suited to the political or economic aims of the country concerned or industry sponsoring the research…”   (Pleeth, 1949)

Not surprisingly, there were no insurmountable problems with ethanol in areas where petroleum was expensive, where alternatives were abundant, or during wartime when fuel was scarce.

Ethanol was well known in Latin America, thanks in part to the extensive use of ethanol blends in France in the 1890s and early 1900s.   “France, like others in Western Europe, was a country practically without oil,” wrote Alejandro Muzzolon, a Uruguayan engineer whose 1942 book was History and Struggle Between Oil, Alcohol Fuel and Democracy (“Historia y lucha entre el petroleo, el carburante alcohol y la democracia.”) The book promoted ethanol in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina as a way to be free of oil dependence and support farmers.   “France saw in alcohol fuel a means of independence from the imports of oil,” Muzzolon said.

Muzzolon noted that the original French experiments with ethanol blends were quite successful, and that the creation of a “national fuel” of gasoline and  ethanol had been technically challenging but not at all impossible.

Muzzolon also said his life had been threatened by the oil industry for trying to bring the Brazilian ethanol idea to Uruguay. When we last heard from the engineer, he was putting most of his efforts into promoting an efficient carburetor to make ethanol gasoline blends more economically competitive.

When  Brazil contemplated a national fuel program in 1931, a young Brazilian engineer named Eduardo do Sabino de Oliviera expressed confidence that it could be achieved, according to an article in the New York Times.  The confidence, he  acknowledged years later, came from studying the French model.  And it was with this positive attitude that Brazil’s Instituto do Assucar e do Alcool was establshed in 1933 to promote alcohol fuels and lend technical assistance. By 1937 alcohol production reached 7% of the nation’s fuel consumption, about 51.5 million liters.

At the time, Brazil was not unique.  Nearly all industrial nations had some kind of tax incentive or mandatory ethanol blending program in place during the 1930s. The idea was to create an emergency fuel system, as well as to support farmers, and to reduce payments for foreign oil. In many nations, the emergency fuel system proved its worth during the war, but afterwards, with the advent of cheap oil from the Middle East, nearly all countries abandoned their ethanol programs.

The modern rationale that ethanol could be used to replace lead as an octane booster was more problematic in the 1920s and 30s, as the US government certified that there was no health hazard and the US Surgeon General actively promoted leaded gasoline to the health ministers of other nations during the 1920s and 1930s. (Kovarik, 2003).  In fact, the certification was based on a study that was considered by some scientists “half baked” and  control research on public health impacts of lead was entirely given over to the industry, with predictably tragic results.

Only a few places in the world continued blending ethanol with gasoline after World War II. One of these was Brazil, where ethanol was seen as a way to deal with surplus sugar.  The other was in Great Britain, where the National Distillers company continued to market  an ethanol blend called “Cleveland Discol” until 1968, when the company’s fuels and chemicals division was bought out by British Petroleum.  Another was India, where tax polices protected ethanol fuels.

When the 1973 oil shock occurred, Brazil was the only country left with a standing ethanol blending program and engineering tests already underway.   Urbano Stumpf, then a scientist at the Centro Tecnico Aerospacial (CTA), hosted then-President Ernesto Geisel on a tour of a facility where ethanol vehicles were being tested, and, as the well-known story goes, Geisel was so impressed that he ordered a rapid expansion of the national alcohol program.

At this same time in the US, a Nebraska committee on new uses for agricultural products began testing ethanol blends. The committee eventually became the Nebraksa Gasohol Commission.  However, on the federal level, the response to the 1973 oil shock involved planning a rapid expansion of both the nuclear power industry and a coal-based synthetic fuel program. Both were so expensive that they depended on oil prices approaching $100 a barrel, and when oil prices fell again, in the mid-1970s, and then again in the 1980s, the so-called “traditional” alternatives stalled out.

History is often called the dressing room of politics. When a culture or a country or an industry is omitted from historical narratives, it can be more easily marginalized, thus facilitating the hegemony of traditional interests. The history of the international alcohol fuels industry has been marginalized by the oil industry, to some extent, but it has also been lost through the passage of time and the tendency of historians to be interested in success stories.  As the international alcohol fuels industry grows, and its future becomes more certain, historians will take more of an interest in its past, and that, too, will clarify.

We currently lack many details about ethanol blending programs and resistance to them, especially in Italy, the Philippians and the US.  It could be useful to know more about how Poland and India managed to control oil industry resistance and manage a successful program for a time.  We know next to nothing about the Centre Experimental des Carburants Vegetaux in Segou, Mali, which operated in the 1930s, but there could very well be wisdom from that experience that could be applied today.  In short, we are only beginning to recover a history of an industry that may prove important, if not vital, in the coming decades.


Country-by-country information on renewable fuel history

The following country-by-country history of alternative fuel use is admittedly incomplete; however, it is the author’s hope that other scholars will expand or correct these historical notes or make other suggestions. (

ANGOLA—A decree from Lisbon, Portugal made two types of alcohol-gasoline blending mandatory in 1933. One was “Alcoolaina” with 25% alcohol, 75% gasoline and a blending agent. Another was “Gasalcool,” a 75% alcohol, 25% gasoline blend. Imported gasoline could not clear customs until oil companies bought proportionate amounts of alcohol.

ARGENTINA—An extended survey of grain and gasoline markets resulted in a 1931 report recommending a 30% blend of alcohol, since it could be produced at less cost than importing gasoline.  The Comision Nacional de Alcoholes found that alcohol motors could yield 50 to 87 percent efficiency improvements compared to gasoline.  Attempts to create a national fuel were foiled, according to one account, by Standard Oil Co.  (Muzzolon).

AUSTRALIA—   After several attempts in Victoria and elsewhere to start alcohol fuels plants (Fox, 1924), the Australian National Power Alcohol Company, built in 1927 in Sarina, Queensland, started with a capacity of two million gallons per year.  The ethanol plant  primarily used molasses, along with cassava (manioc) and sweet potatos grown in rotation with sugarcane. “Shellkol” fuel was marketed by Shell Oil Co. at 15%-35% concentrations. Power alcohol was mostly confined to Queensland, and the province required that all gasoline distributors purchase alcohol from the National Power Alcohol Distillers at 1.5% of their gasoline sales volume.   Competition from gasoline suppliers  led to the Motor Spirits Vendors Act of 1933, mandating that ethanol be blended with petrol.  (Hixon, 1932)The blending program lasted through World War II, when ethanol was used in chemicals and plastics.  (UN, 1954)

AUSTRIA—A 1931 law authorized the Minister of Finance to mandate 25% blending as long as the price of alcohol did not rise above the wholesale price of gasoline. The  program did not succeed in bringing alcohol to market and in 1934 gasoline importers were required to buy alcohol at 2% of their sales volume while domestic gasolineproducers were required to buy at 3.75% of their sales volumes. The alcohol was sold in 20—40% blends. About 35,000 barrels (5.5 million liters) were blended with gasoline in 1936.

BRAZIL –  Alcohol blends were commonly available in different gasoline brands, and the government gave its official sanction to a blending program. As early as 1919 the governor of the northeastern state of Pernambuco ordered all official vehicles to operate on alcohol.  (Fox, 1924) – Alcohol motor fuel mixtures were still experimental in the 1920s, but considerable attention has been given to the subject in various parts of the country, interest being stimulated by the fact that Brazil’s entire supply of gasoline must be imported, while there is a large supply, both actual and potential, of raw material for alcohol manufacture.  (Fox, 1924, p. 92)  Fox cites the following from American Consul C.R. Cameron at Pernambuco:

“Private automobile owners, garage men and chauffeurs in this district all appear thoroughly convinced that alcohol in some form is bound to be generally used here sooner or later as a motor fuel. Indeed, alcohol either pure or in some combination, has been contuously used with satisfactory results by a limited number of automobiles and trucks in Recife and on a few sugar plantations. In some cases slight alterations have  een made in the motor to adapt it to alcohol, such as lengthening the piston, opening up the feed valves and substituting metal for cork floater.  Furthermore, alcohol is a local product while gasoline is imported…. Pernambuco produced 2.2 million gallons of alcohol 1921-22 but “could easily have produced 10 million gallons.”

On Oct 23, 1922, the Brazilian Congress of Coal and other National Fuels (Congresso de Carvac e Otres Combustiveis Nacionaes)  recommended establishment of alcohol cooperative societies equipped with fermenting, distilling, denaturing, and carburizing plants and tank wagon for distributing; organization of alcohol demonstrating and distributing agencies throughout Brazil;  government vehicle use of ethanol; and reduced taxes.

“The above recommendations probably forecast the lines of development of the alcohol industry here…”   Alcohol production from all of Brazils sugar crop would be (at 28.6 gals per metric ton sugar) some 15.4 million gallons or 81 percent of all gasoline imports. “Brazil’s alcohol production could be easily increased to an almost unlimited extent by the utilization of fruits and starches.”

A 1931 law required gasoline importers to buy alcohol in volumes of 5% of their imports under the supervision of the Minister of Agriculture.  “This bill is designed not only to keep money at home, but also to develop the tremendous natural resources available to the alcohol industry,” said a New York Times article.

At the time, gasoline cost about 11 cents per liter and alcohol cost five cents per liter.” The number of Brazilian distilleries producing fuel-grade ethanol increased from 1 in 1933 to 31 in 1939 and to 54 by 1945.  Fuel alcohol production increased from 100,000 liters in 1933 to  51.5 million liters in 1937.

“Although many difficult mechanical problems must be solved before a satisfactory alcohol fuel can be supplied, Eduardo do Sabino de Oliviera, a young Brazilian engineer, declares that he has already perfected a fuel consisting of alcohol mixed with other chemicals which he is satisfied will replace gasoline.”  Difficulties included perfecting a carburetor in which alcohol can be vaporized readily and ensuring cylinder wall lubrication. “Brazil Seeks to Cut Gasoline Payments,” NYT Jan 11 1931, p. 60.   Sabino later said that the law was also inspired by French blending laws that he and colleagaues studied at the time. They, in turn, helped initiate the Proalcool program of the l970s. Sales tax exemptions for blends and reductions on taxes of high compression motors were also instituted. Much of the interest in alcohol fuels came from sugarcane planters, who often used pure alcohol vehicles.   Blends of various proportions were marketed, including a 90% alcohol 10% gasoline blend, a 70% alcohol and 30% di-ethyl ether blend, and a 12% alcohol 88% gasoline blend.

The Instituto do Assucar e do Alcool was establshed in 1933 to promote alcohol fuels and lend technical assistance. Ethanol production increased to 77 million liters at the height of World War II, out of a total beverage and industrial alcohol production of 819,000 liters. Mandatory blending levels were as high as 50 percent in 1943, when German submarine attacks ravaged world oil-tanker fleets. When the war ended, cheap imported oil was once more readily available and alcohol blends were used  sporadically, mostly to offset sugar (Pischinger, 1979). Blending continued intermittently through the l950s as an outlet for sugar surpluses and began again in 1975 with the National Alcohol Program (PNA).

CHILE—An August 1931 law required blending of more than 10% and less than 25% alcohol in all gasoline, but was dropped to 9% and later 6% as the law became effective. The ratio varied from year to year. In 1938, 3% alcohol was blended with gasoline sold primarily in Santiago, Aconcagua and Valpariso. Some 1.7 million liters were blended in 1938, mostly produced from imported Peruvian molasses.

CHINA–‘ “Benzolite” a mixture of 55% alcohol, 40% benzene and 5% kerosene was sold in the 1930s, and annual consumption was around 500,000 liters of alcohol. Blends and straight fuels were used extensively during WWII by civilians, the Japanese, the British and American armies. Fragmentary data does not reveal the extent of alcohol use, but a spokesman for the Chia Yee Solvent Works noted at a United Nationsconference on power alcohol in 1952 that “the shortage of gasoline was so acute it became impossible for civilians to get any amount of gas. At that time the use of alcohol was no longer a question of costs or efficiency, but of necessity.” There is at least one report of a diesel- powered bus that ran on a number of vegetable oils, including those extracted from peanuts, tea leaves, poppy seeds, tung, cotton seed and cabbage seed. Many American soldiers in China in WWII remember the potent, potable alcohol that doubled as a fuel for their jeeps and generators.

CUBA – About 18 million liters per year output was reported in 1922 (Fox, 1924). A blend of 80% gasoline and 20% alcohol called “Espiritu” was sold in the early l920s. According to Fulmer, this was not very successful. However, Standard Oil president Walter Teagle said in 1922: “Industrial alcohol is in very substantial competition with gasoline for motor fuel purposes, sales of alcohol in 1922 amounting to 130,000 barrels (5.5 million gallons), or about half the amount of gasoline sold. Price of alcohol in raw state is 19 to 20 cents a gallon delivered to garages, and 21 to 22 cvents to consumers.  The garage price of gasoline is 35.5 to 36 cents a gallon.” (“Teagle States Gasoline is 36 cents in Havana,” Wall Street Journal, March 15, 1923).In 1925, the London Times said there were “taxis in Havana which have run on common rum distilled from common blackstrap molasses” but that a British alcohol program would not “run naval ships on navy rum or London’s busses on London’s gin.” (Price, New York Times, 1925)

Several laws to mandate alcohol use were proposed but failed in the l930s, but blends fared better on the open market. “Nofuco” was said to be the most popular, containing 64% ethanol, 22% gasoline and benzene, gas oil and other additives. About 2% of Cuba’s total fuel consumption in 1937 was alcohol, or about 12 million liters. The government adopted a mandatory blend shortly after the begining of WWII. The official formula was 35% gasoline. 65% alcohol, but it was changed in 1943 to 75% alcohol and 95% was also frequently used. Minor adjustments were made to automobiles, such as replacing cork floats in carburetors, and mileage suffered.

Anecdotal information suggests that use of local alcohol for fuel has been common following the Cuban revolution in 1959.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA “Dynakol,” a mixture of about 50% alcohol, 20% benzene and 30% gasoline was used exclusively by government agencies between 1923 and 1932, when a law making 20% alcohol blending compulsory was passed. Some 66 million liters, or 12% of the total fuel supply, were sold in 1936. The government subsidized low cost power alcohol with a tax on beverage alcohol. (Hixon, 1932, Egloff, 1940)

Two fuels, mostly from potatoes.  –  Alcohol  with gasoline and napthaline, in general use.  Also, a second fuel was commercially known as Dynalkol – researched by war ministry as substitute for gasoline, in use for a long time 60 percent benzol to 40 percent alcohol, 1 percent napthaline, one percent tetraline, or 5 percent ether.  “This ufel is said to have been employed for military and other government services for some time as a substitute for gasoline, and research in regard to its productiojn and properties has been carried out under the auspicies of the Czechoslovakian War Ministry. The results of this research are said to have shown that Dynalkol can be successfully used for all purposes for which gasoline is used, and on account of its lower price as compared with gasoline, its consumption may increase appreciably.  Estimates are that production could supply half requirements of motor fuel.  ( Fox, 1924 p. 92, citing Petroleum Times, London Oct 4, 1924, and C.S. Winans, consul reports)

FINLAND AND NORWAY produced about 20 million liters per year from waste sulfite liquors from the paper pulping process in the 1930s. Sale of the fuel byproduct made Scandinavian paper commercially competitive with Canadian paper in the U.S., as paper costs were reduced by 20%. U.N. officials estimated that 75% of Finland’s fuel in the 1940s was supplied by gasogen units that consumed only three kilograms of wood for a liter of gasoline equivalent compared to about 8 kilograms of wood for a liter of ethanol. By 1952, a 20% blend was still on the market and about 1.5 million liters were sold.  (Hixon, 1932)

FRANCE — The earliest interest in alcohol as a fuel can be traced to France and Germany at the dawn of the automotive era.  Neither country was comfortable with the control of the world oil trade by the US and Russia, but in both cases alcohol was seen as an alternative to gasoline.

In the 1890s auto manufacturers competed by staging races and endurance trials, and manufacturers often entered a variety of cars using different fuels.   Alcohol, benzene (from coal), and gasoline were frequently used. Alcohol had the advantage of allowing higher compression engines  but suffered from lower mileage in low-compression engines and cold-starting problems and other minor issues.

In 1901, the French ministry of agriculture offered prizes for the best alcohol fueled engines and household appliances.  A race in 1902 from Champigny to Arras and St. Germain featured alcohol – fueled vehicles, including one driven by William K. Vanderbilt who said his machine “went better with alcohol than it did with petroleum.”

Also in 1902, the ministry staged an exhibit at the Paris fair grounds of hundreds of alcohol fueled motors and appliances. By 1907 a commission was appointed to study ways to use industrial alcohol.

With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, oil supplies became critical. One 1915 law was intended to create a state alcohol monopoly to encourage more alcohol fuel use from a tax on beverage alcohol. A 1916 law was passed encouraging industrial alcohol production from sugar beets, but grape producers were protected from industrial alcohol demands.

A bureau set up to encourage agricultural reconstruction after WWI encouraged research into and production of alcohol fuels, and in 1921 a full committee was set up to investigate power alcohol. Their report in 1923 recommended a 40%-50% blending level for a “national fuel,” and on Feb. 28, 1923, Article Six was passed requiring gasoline importers to buy alcohol for 10% blends from the State Alcohol Service. (Hixon, Fox, 1924).  Administering the alcohol law was the Comptoir des Ventes du Carburant National, offices 14 Ave. Montaigne, Paris.

The law had a far-reaching impact as many other nations, especially Brazil and other sugar-cane growing countries, were influenced to enact similar laws based on the French and German programs.

Chief consumers in the early years were public transportation, especially busses which had used alcohol blends routinely during the war. Taxi drivers were not satisfied, saying the lower prices of alcohol fuel did not compensate for the loss of engine power and fuel mileage. Tests indicated 25% more fuel consumption with carburant national than gasoline alone. Phase separation was also a problem when gasoline alone was added to a half tank of national fuel.  (Fox, 1924) In 1924, purchases of alcohol by gasoline importers were often paper purchases, and a large proportion of the alcohol was subsequently not blended. (Fox, 1924) As the level of blending rose to 50% in the mid-1920s, motorists complained about stalling, hesitating and starting difficulties. (Hixon, 1932)

This changed as the mandatory blend level was revised to 25% alcohol in 1928 – a technically more suitable blend. Several brands were marketed; “Carburant Pois Lourds” (lorry fuel), “Tourisme” and “Supercarburant,” By 1931 blending stocks had passed 87 million liters and the Alcohol Service acquired even more alcohol from the glutted wine industry. Power Alcohol use peaked in 1935 at 406 million liters, accounting for over 7% of all fuel use, and declined by 1937 due to poor harvests to 194 million liters. (Note that Nash reported peak ethanol use in France at 290 million liters).

During WWII, the Michelin Co. marketed two blends, one a 62% hydrated alcohol with 20% gasoline, 10% benzene and 8% acetone, and another of 80% hydrated alcohol, 5% benzene and 15% gasoline.

GERMANY—   Perhaps the most extensive early 20th century use of agricultural alcohol fuel was in Germany, where alcohol powered not only automobiles and farm machinery but also a wide variety of lamps, stoves, heaters, laundry irons, hair curlers, coffee roasters and every conceivable household appliance. By one estimate, some 95,000 alcohol fueled stoves and 37,000 spirit lamps had been manufactured in Germany by 1902. (Tweedy, 1917 ).  These developments came from the concerns about domestic fuel supply as well as support for farm markets.

In 1899, the German government organized the Centrale fur Spiritus Verwerthung (office of alcohol sales) which maintained alcohol prices at an equilibrium with petroleum at around the equivalent of 27 cents per gallon through subsidies to alcohol producers and a tariff on imported oil. Other incentives included scientific prizes, including a medallion from the emperor offered for the best alcohol engines. As a result, alcohol production rose from 10 million gallons to about 26 million gallons between 1887 and 1904. (Brachvogel, 1907).

“To Kaiser William II, it seems, we are indebted for the great, new industry,” said a New York Times magazine writer in 1906. “Not that he discovered the fuel, but that he forced its use on Germany. The Kaiser was enraged at the Oil Trust of his country, and offered prizes to his subjects and cash assistance … to adapt [alcohol] to use in the industries.” (New York Times, Nov. 25, 1906).

According to a representative of the Otto Gas Engine Works of Philadelphia, by 1906 ten percent of the engines being produced by the firm’s parent company in Germany were designed to run on pure ethyl alcohol, while one third of the heavy locomotives produced at the Deutz Gas engine works of Germany ran on pure ethyl alcohol. (US Senate, 1906).  Alcohol engines were advertised as safer than steam engines (as they did not give off sparks from smokestacks) and far cleaner than kerosine or gasoline engines. In a survey conducted around 1903, some 87 percent of German farmers considered alcohol engines to be equal or superior to steam engines in performance. (Brachvogel, 1907). Conflicting reports on the number of German distilleries at least give some idea of the scale of the enterprise. By one 1906 account, some 72,000 distilleries operated, of which 57,000 were small farm “Materialbrennereien” stills producing a total of 27 million gallons. (New York Times Sept 13, 1906.  Attribution to U.S. Consul General Thackara in Berlin).  Another account dated 1914, put the number at 6,000 distilleries producing 66 million gallons of alcohol per year. (Nathan, 1928)

Despite the discrepancies, clearly a large amount of fuel alcohol was on the market in Germany, and may have had the effect of strengthening the country during  World War I. According to Irish engineer Robert Tweedy, when oil shortages seemed likely to paralyze Germany’s transportation system in 1915, thousands of engines were quickly modified. “Every motor car in the empire was adapted to run on alcohol. It is possible that Germany would have been beaten already [by 1917] if production of alcohol had not formed an important part of the agricultural economy.” (Tweedy, 1917)

As the nation recovered from WWI, the agriculture and the distilling industry struggled to regain some of its fuel market. Power alcohol production grew from about 800,000 liters in 1923 to 67 million liters in 1930. “Monopolin,” a 25% alcohol blend, was sold in competition with gasoline and endorsed by airplane pilots and famous auto racers. In August, 1930, the government required all gasoline importers to buy 2.5% of the volume of their imports from the German Alcohol Monopoly, and the ratio was increased to 6% and then 10% by 1932. Estimates of alcohol used in 1932 vary from 44 million liters to about 175 million liters. Some 36,000 small farm alcohol stills, owned by the monopoly, were in operation at this time. (Fulmer, 1932)  By 1935 the volume of ethanol was about the same, according to Nash.

A 10% ethanol blend was compulsory in 1932, but increasing production of methanol  from coal led to some use of it, too, in the “Kraftspirit” fuel. By 1938, Germany was producing about 267 million liters of ethanol, about two thirds from potatoes and the rest from grain, wood sulfite liquors and beets. Some 89 million liters of methanol were produced from coal, while other synthetic fuels included 550 million liters of benzene and over one billion liters of synthetic gasoline. All told, 54% of the pre-war German fuel production was derived from non-petroleum sources, of which 8% was ethanol from renewable sources (Egloff, 1942).


Additional references:

Automobile History: Fuels in the 1920s — English TranslationOriginal German (Automobilgeschichte : Kraftstoffe in den 20er Jahren)

When was the first potato liquor burned? — English translationOriginal German (Wann wurde der erste Kartoffelschnaps gebrannt?)

HUNGARY “Moltaco.” a blend of 20% ethanol. was made compulsory by royal decree in 1929, and almost 12 million liters of ethanol made up 11% of the nation’s total fuel consumption in 1936. (Hixon, 1932)

INDIA —  A 1919 report of the Alcohol Motor Fuel Committee (See UK) mentioned India as a potential source of alcohol for fuel, saying that sun dried flowers of the mahua tree (Bassia latifolia) found in the Deccan region contain 60 percent fermentable sugar, from which 90 gals of alcohol per ton can be produced (as opposed to only 20 gals per ton from potatoes).The British Raj was opposed to alcohol blending in the 1930s, although a few sugar refining plants converted molasses to alcohol for blending in the Mysore province. In 1938 a Power Alcohol and Molasses Committee of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar provinces recommended that the many sugar mills begin turning molasses into alcohol instead of dumping it on land as fertilizer. This was somewhat easier to accomplish in India because of the low demand for molasses as a cattle feed, which in most other countries would have gone to beef cattle. The low demand for molasses feed in India reflected the fact that most Indians are vegetarians.

In 1940. Uttar Pradesh passed a 20% power alcohol blending law, and several other provinces followed suit, Pure alcohol fuels were widely used during WWII, as an emergency measure, since by 1943 transport came to a complete halt from lack of petrol. About 8 million liters were used in 1946, increasing to 9 million at the peak use in 1948. Another 20 million liters were used in blends, out of about I billion liters of gasoline used in 1951. Indian leaders were conscious of possible “food or fuel” conflicts and prohibited the use of grains and root crops as feedstocks, but also felt that the power alcohol industry had to be protected from petroleum interests. The 1948 “Indian Alcohol Act” mandated 20% blending where feasible but was not widely adopted.  (UN, 1952)

ITALY— Tax incentives for alcohol fuel production began in 1924 (Fox, 1924).  A royal decree in 1926 set fuel composition at 30% alcohol and 70% gasoline, and eleven alcohol manufacturers were producing for the fuel market by 1931. A controversy over the technical feasibility of alcohol blending erupted between the government and Standard Oil in 1926, as Standard and other gasoline importers refused to blend alcohol, claiming it was impossible to produce a satisfactory fuel. A report from the University of Iowa said of this controversy: “The malice and intention to sabotage the young industry were very apparent.” Agricultural and nationalistic interests prevailed, however, and alcohol blends called “Benzalcool,” “Elsocina” and “Robur” were marketed in the late 1920s and 1930s. “Robur” was 30% ethanol, 22% methanol, 40% gasoline and other additives, while “Benzalcool” had 20% ethanol and 10% benzene with gasoline. Supplies of alcohol  peaked at about 9.5 million liters per year, which was only about one quarter of the potential estimated in 1924 (Fox, 1924, citing US Assistant Commercial Attache A.A. Osborne and US Rome Consul Leon Dominian.).  Production levels never rose above 4% of the nation’s fuel supply

JAPAN—Compulsory blending of 5% ethanol became effective in 1938. One 1936
report noted that 166,000 liters of ethanol and 125,000 liters of methanol were used. Much of the Army, Navy and Air Corps was using alcohol during WWII, due to scarcity of petroleum supplies. At the begining of the war about 365 million liters of ethanol were used as a fuel compared to 5.4 billion liters of gasoline, coal fuels and shale oil. (Egloff, 1942)

LATVIA—Compulsory mixtures of 25% ethanol were set in 1931, increased to 50% and 66% by 1936, when the legislation was lifted. Production from about 50 distilleries peaked at 13.5 million liters in 1935. (Egloff, 1942)

LITHUANIA — An April 1936 law set national fuel levels at 25% alcohol. About 1.5 million liters of ethanol were sold in a blend called “Motorin,” and gasoline imports dropped by 12% to 5,8 million liters by 1937.

MALI —The Centre Experimental des Carburants Vegetaux in Segou tested a variety of vegetable oils in the 1930s, including a 50% hydrated ethanol, 35% benzene and 15% alcohol blend that was used at the Centre. Tests of corn and sorghum crops for improved distillation and numerous vegetable oils from various oilseed wastes were also performed.

MALAYA—Citing the example of France and Czechoslovakia, the government developed a 500 acre nipah palm plantation for power alcohol in the I 920s. Malayan officials said “the view of the petroleum experts was against the proposal as not being technically feasible,” and the Nipah Distilleries Inc. which had already built the distillery near the development, went bankrupt before it marketed a liter of alcohol. The facilities were reorganized for sugar production but that business, also, went bankrupt, and the distillery equipment was sold to Thailand. In 1926, a number of wood distilleries were built as part of the same program in Krambit, Phang and the Collieries, and apparently produced wood alcohol for the fuel market.  (Hixon, 1932)

PANAMA—  A law introduced in 1925 mandated a 10 percent alcohol blend in all gasoline sold nationwide. (Fox, 1924) A 1934 law exempted gasoline imported for blending with alcohol from import duties, and a number of blends were sold in competition with regular gasoline. One of these, “Alcolina,” was popular when it sold for 50 percent less than gasoline, but a “price war” kept local distilleries from expanding for the new market. Sales fell off when oil companies dropped their prices. (Hixon, 1932).

PHILIPPINES— Alcohol fuel was apparently first used around 1914 at the Calamba Sugar Estate, an American-operated sugar and coconut plantation destroyed during WWII.  More widespread demand was apparently dampened by technical problems, especially cold starting. The Philippean Motor Alcohol Corp. was incorporated in Aug. 1922 in Manila.  (Fox, 1924) A variety of  fuel types were tested, and by 1931,  “Gasonol” (spelled with an “n”) blends of 20% ethanol and 5% kerosene was being used on a commercial scale. (Hixon, 1932)By 1937 alcohol consumption rose to 75 million liters per yer. More than any other nation at the time, the Philippines had the most experience with pure alcohol fuels. Autos, buses, trucks, railway locomotive and mining operations commonly used the abundant fuel. Studebaker, McCormack, GM and International Harvester sold pure alcohol-fueled cars and trucks, advertising them as “more economical . . . (and) free from carbon.” Three large bus companies including Manila’s Batangas Transportation Co. were running their buses on 100% ethanol, while buses and trucks on Negros and Panay also used pure alcohol as a common fuel. No compulsory blending or tax advantages were given alcohol fuels in the Philippines, but one U.S. Commerce Dept. official commented, “The sugar interests have felt reasonably well satisfied.” Ethanol fuel use reached 90 million liters in 1939.

Power alcohol production reached a standstill in WWII, but climbed back to 30 million liters by 1950. A four-year plan was then in place to produce 120 million liters, or 20% of the nation’s fuel supply, but it was abandoned as new sources of cheap oil became available. According to the Philippine delegate to a 1952 United Nations power alcohol conference, “The use of blended motor fuel was abandoned, for the simple reason that the gasoline interests fought hard to kill it. After such a very sad experience, we fully realize that proper legislation similar to that in India should be adopted in the Philippines.” (UN, 1952)
Illustration from Sugar News, Manila, c. 1937.

POLAND—A state alcohol monopoly created in 1924 announced an intention to increase the use of alcohol for other than drinking purposes (Fox, 1924).  Along with about 1,500 small scale alcohol plants serving farm communities, a major alcohol factory was built at the Kutno Chemical Works in 1927. This plant alone produced 54,000 liters per day (as much as 20 million liters per year) by 1939. Polish sources reported that oil interests were helpful in starting the power alcohol  industry there, after compulsory mixtures at 25% were decreed in 1932. Standard Oil volunteered to buy alcohol production five years in advance to help capitalize the young industry. Some 30 different products were manufactured at Kutno,  including a synthetic “Ker” rubber produced from potato-derived ethanol-to-butadiene process. Chemists who developed this technology were smuggled out of Poland in 1939, and  employed in the US to set up government- run rubber plants. These plants outperformed the petroleum-based synthetic rubber plants and produced 75% of the allied rubber consumption during WWII.   (Bernton, 1981)

PUERTO RICO – The Puerto Rican Distilling Co. at Arecibo  attempted to blend alcohol fuel with gasoline in 1922, selling “Alco-Motor” at a price of 25 cents a gallon, some ten cents cheaper than gasoline. About 57,000 gallons were used. By 1924, the price of molasses had gone up and the price of gasoline had come down to 25 cents per gallon. “As a natural result,” said P. Keeler, American Trade Commissioner in San Juan, “the manufacture of gasoline substitute has been discontinued.”   (Fox, 1924)

SOUTH AFRICA – According to Raymond Wik: “As early as 1908, the British attempted to secure motor fuel for transport in Africa by distilling alcohol from
sugar cane.” (Pay). Spurred by reduced oil supplies during WWI, South Africa experimented with a wide variety of substitutes and settled on an E60 fuel blend with ether called Natalite.  Molasses was the primary feedstock.  The blend won a Certificate of Performance from the Royal Automobile Club after a 500 mile test. ((Buchanan, 1985)  Production totaled one million gallons in 1917, but by 1919 production dropped to 200,000 gallons (all in proof gallons). Mileage reductions of 75 to 85 percent have been reported, although no special modifications have been needed other than enlarged carburetor jets and use of metal rather than lacquered cork carburetor floats.  (Fox, 1924)

SWEDEN—Power alcohol was first introduced in 1911. During WWI, gasoline imports were suddenly cut off, and a huge demand for alcohol fuel led to the expansion of paper mill sulfite alcohol production, from four to 22 plants with a capacity of about 22 million liters per year.   Most of this alcohol came from the sulfite liquor of the paper industry’s 22 plants. “The spirit was generally sold and used unmixed, but admixtures with ethyl alcohol, turpentine and light chaqr distillates of several kinds were also brought on the market and used in gasoline motors without any special difficulties after small adjustments had been made in certain parts of the motor,” according to a Scandanavian Shipping Gazette report.  When import of gasoline was free again in 1919, state authorities placed heavy restrictions on the use of motor spirit and ordered a return to gasoline.” This was apparently because of widespread use of the alcohol as a beverage (Fox, 1924) but also apparently because irregular blends of kerosene and turpentine with alcohol during were reported damaging to some engines. (Hixon, 1932)On  July 25, 1919 practically all sales of alcohol for fuel were prohibited, although limited sales were permitted after 1922 of “prespirit” from sulphite process. So from 22 million liters in 1919, production dropped to 8 million liters in 1920 and only 86,000 liters in 1923.  Then policy was again reversed. On May 14, 1924, Swedish Riksdad passed a law imposing a duty of 0.01 crown per liter gasoline and consumption tax of 0.05. The taxes did not apply to alcohol fuel. (Fox, 1924)

Use of alcohol blends expanded in the 1920s, and the blend was standardized at 25% in a blend called “Lattbentyl.”  Volume reached 36 million liters per year in the 1930s. Purchases of power alcohol by gasoline importers were required in 1934, the amount depending on the state-controlled surplus.(Hixon, 1932) In 1941, according to one report, 46 million liters were being produced per year. With the beginning of the war, ingenious fuel systems were devised, and there is one report of a baker who ran his delivery trucks on alcohol recovered from bread ovens.  By 1952, about 130 million liters of power alcohol were produced, but expanding fuel and chemical industry demands led one U.N. official to comment that “the future for power alcohol does not look bright” in Sweden.  (UN, 1952)

SWITZERLAND—Methanol and ethanol from wood were common fuels in Switzerland before WWII, with some 31 million liters used in 1939. A major wood alcohol plant at Attisholz produced not only alcohols and paper pulp but also developed a yeast process for livestock feed which was considered one of the most important pre-war developments in the distillery business. During the war only vitally necessary vehicles were allowed to operate on liquid fuels, mostly alcohols, and civilians had to be content with gasogen generators. Many wood alcohol plants remained open after the war for the chemical market, and at least one has reopened for the fuel market.

SUDAN—A sisal fiber plant in Same produced 30,000 liters per year from the small amount of sugar byproduct in the sisal production process in the l940s.

UNITED KINGDOM –  The Committee on Industrial Alcohol, formed in 1905 reported that  the main question “would be one of price, and at present the price of petrol is about half the price of methylated spirit.” Recommended that more thorough investigation be delayed until the prices of alcohol and gasoline were closer.  (Fox, 1924)

An Alcohol Motor Fuel Committee was created in Oct., 1918, originally as part of the defense research effort. It was made up of representatives of the petroleum executive, the Home Office, the Admiralty, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, and others.  The committee was charged with considering sources of supply, methods of manufacture and costs of production for alcohol fuel.  One finding had to do with the suitability of some Indian crops for ethanol production (See India).  Another finding was that the economic conditions anticipated by the 1905 report were “now in sight,” leading to a recommendation for concerted research efforts.  (Fox, 1924)

Cleveland Discol was a blend of ten percent ethanol in gasoline sold by National Distillers Co. and Cleveland Oil Co. in Britain from around 1928 to 1968. This ad was published in 1937.


In 1921, the British Power Alcohol Association asked that sugar subsidies be extended to ethanol production in the amount of 19s 6d per hundredweight.. “The Power alcohol association stresses the value of the encouragement of the sugar beet industry for economic and agricultural reasons as being an effective method… for lessening Great Britain’s dependence upon foreign petroleum products.”  (Fox, 1924)

Use of alcohol for fuel rose from 17,200 gallons in 1921 to 230,000 gallons in 1923, but these were fractions of the overall fuel use and “demonstrate the unimpoprtance of the place which alcohol occupies.” (Fox, 1924)  By 1928, National Distillers company, more or less in protest over the tax on beverage alcohol, turned to fuel alcohol production and marketed a blend with the Cleveland Oil Co. known as “Cleveland Discol.”  Other blends included “Koolmotor” marketed by the Cities Service Corp. and “National Benzol” marketed by the National Benzol Association during the 1930s.

The British Fuel Research Board developed a process, announced in 1927, for converting cellulose into fermentable sugars. “The British development holds great promise,” said a Washington Post article. “Large quantities of cellulosic materials constantly renewed by nature are available. Vast quantities of tropical vegetation and waste vegetable products, such as maize, rice straws, corncobs, rice husks, sisal and hemp might possibly be used for production of fuel alcohol.” (“New Alcohols,” Washington Post Dec 1 1927 p 6).

Various acts of Parliament encouraged use of power alcohol, although blending was never made compulsory. Use of alcohol in blends increased from 800,000 liters in 1931 to 20 million liters by 1937. Import duties on alcohol were lifted in 1931 but re-imposed in 1938, probably causing a decline in sales.

The fact that Cleveland, partly owned by Standard and Shell oil companies, advertised the blend as having greater power, less knock, no starting or phase separation problems in Great Britain while Standard attacked alcohol blending proposals in the U.S. on the same technical grounds was a source of heated controversy in 1936.

National Distillers continued selling Cleveland Discol until 1968, when the alcohol fuels unit was purchased by British Petroleum and converted to chemical feedstock production.


UNITED STATES  — A heavy tax on both industrial and beverage alcohol in 1862 put an end to the “camphene” illuminating fuel industry with sales around 90 million gallons per year, and opened the door to a subsidized petroleum product — kerosene.  Progressives led by President Theodore Roosevelt ended the tax on industrial alcohol in 1906.

In 1908, the Hart-Parr Company of Charles City, Iowa, equipped some of their tractors in Idaho, Colorado, and Cuba with alcohol-burning carburetors. (Wik). The  farm movement took up ethanol as a cause but split in 1911 on the question of how the anti beverage alcohol movement (called Prohibition) would deal with distilleries for fuel.  Many Prohibitionists were against all manufacturing of alcohol, fearing that industrial alcohol would be diverted into beverage uses. The battle took place in the states in the decades before a federal Prohibition became law in 1919 and was repealed in 1933.

In the 1930s, widespread interest in the American Midwest led to several power alcohol projects. A 10% blend was marketed by the Agrol Company of Atchison, Kansas as an experiment into broadening markets for surplus crops. The experiment was supported by Henry Ford and the Chemical Foundation, and at its peak in 1938, some 2,000 service stations in 8 different states sold Agrol. But production was indifferent and costs were higher, and Agrol suspended business in 1939. Company official charged that the oil companies had spread malicious rumors, but the economics of the project could not support open competition with blending. Legislation to support an alcohol industry was proposed in most Midwestern state capitals and in Washington. D.C., dozens of times, but was fought by oil interests who claimed “The Alky gas scheme outrages common sense” and “farmers would make motorists pay for farm relief.”

With the crucial shortage of crude rubber from Malaya at the outbreak of WWII. the government reopened the Agrol plant and built several other grain and wood alcohol plants in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Over 75% of the synthetic rubber for the war was produced from these plants, despite a larger investment in a petroleum-based process. Alcohol was used as a supplementary fuel in some aircraft, and according to  one report it was consumed at 24 million gallon per year levels. The plants were closed down at the end of the war, much to the dismay of many farmers and farm state politicians. However, the idea of “new uses” for farm products survived the 1950s and 60s and returned in the form of the Nebraska Gasohol Commission following the first oil shocks of the 1970s.



Societe Francaise des Distilleries de l’Indochine produced about 100,000 liters of an- hydrous alcohol for blending in 10% mixtures with gasoline during the 1930s. Blend percentages began rising in 1941, reaching 50% by July. About 450,000 liters were used in blends and straight by 1942. but war damage decreased production in subsequent years as U.S., French and British bombers knocked out Japanese-occupied distilleries along with other fuel facilities.


(For a more complete list of ethanol history references, See Ethyl: The 1920s conflict over leaded gasoline and alternative fuel
Automobile-Club de France, Congress des Applications de L’Alcool Denature, 16 au 23 Dec., 1902.  Archived at the US National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Md.

Hal Bernton, William Kovarik, Scott Sklar, 1981. The Forbidden Fuel: Power Alcohol in the 20th Century. New York: Boyd Griffin

John K. Brachvogel, 1907.  Industrial Alcohol: Its Manufacture and Use. New York, NY: Munn & Co.

Eric John Buchanan, 1985. “The role of ethanol as a fuel in Southern Africa and other countries,” Copersucar International Symposium on Sugar and Alcohol, Sao Paulo, June, 1985.

Ken Butti and John Perlin, 1980. A Golden Thread: 2000 years of solar architecture and technology (New York: Van Nostrand).

Gustav Egloff, 1939. Motor Fuel Economy of Europe, Washington, D.C.: American Petroleum Institute; also

Gustav Egloss, 1942. “Substitute Fuels as a War Economy,” 1942, paper to the American Chemical Society.
Gustav Egloff, 1935.  “Economic and Technical Aspects of Alcohol Gasoline Mixtures,” New York, NY: American Petroleum Institute  October, 1935.

Homer S. Fox, 1924. “Alcohol Motor Fuels,” Supplementary report to “World Trade in Gasoline,” Bureau of Domestic and Foreign Commerce, U.S. Dept. of Commerce Monograph, Trade Promotion Series No. 20.,  Washington, D.C.

E.I. Fulmer, R.M. Hixon, L.M.Christensen, W.F. Coover, 1932.  A Preliminary Survey of the use of alcohol as a motor fuel in various countries: Prepared for the members of the Conference held Dec. 10, 1932, to discuss the utilization of agricultural surpluses,” Dept. of Chemistry, Iowa State University Archives, Ames, Iowa.

Thomas P. Hughes, 1979,  “Inventors: The Problems They Choose, The Ideas They Have and the Inventions They Make,” in eds., Patrick Kelly, et al., Technological Innovation: A Critical Review of Current Knowledge (San Francisco, San Francisco Press, Inc., 1979. For additional information on this point see William Kovarik, “Charles F. Kettering and the 1921 Discovery of Tetraethyl Lead In the Context of Technological Alternatives,”  Presented to the Society of Automotive Engineers Fuels & Lubricants Conference, Baltmore, Md., 1994;  available on the web at

William Kovarik, 2003. Ethyl: The 1920s Environmental Conflict Over Leaded Gasoline and Alternative Fuels. Paper to the American Society for Environmental HistoryAnnual Conference March 26-30, 2003. Providence, R.I.

John Geddes McIntosh, 1907.  Industrial Alcohol. London: Scott, Greenwood & Sons.

Alejandro Muzzolon, 1942.  Historia y lucha entre el petroleo,  el carburante alcohol ye la democracia. Montevideo, Uruguay:  Imprenta Letras.   (Trans: History and struggle between petroleum, alcohol fuel and democracy).

Walter H. Pay, “Industrial Alcohol,” The Natal Agricultural Journal (London), Vol. I1 (March, 1909), pp. 577-83.

New York Times, Nov. 25, 1906. Launching of a Great Industry: The Making of Cheap Alcohol, Section III p. 3.

New York Times, Sept. 13, 1906. Free Alcohol Distilleries

A.W. Nash and D.A. Howes, 1938.  The Principles of Motor Fuel Preparation and Application, Vol. 1, 2nd Ed.  New York: J. Wiley & Sons.

Col. Sir Frederic Nathan, 1928. Alcohol for Power Purposes, The Transactions of the World Power Congress, London, Sept. 24 – Oct. 6, 1928.

G. Pischinger and NLM Pinto, 1979, Experiences with the Utilization of Ethanol, Third International Alcohol fuels symposium,  Asilomar, Calif.

Clair Price, “Preparing to use alcohol as a motor fuel in Britain,” New York Times, Jan 11, 1925, p. XXII.

Thomas B. Reed, 1975.  “Use of Alcohols and other synthetic fuels in Europe from 1930-1950,” presented at symposium: Impact of Methanol Fuel on Urban Air Pollution, AIChE 80th mtg., Boston, MA, Sept. 7, 1975, paper 31-C.

Conger Reynolds, 1939. The Alcohol Gasoline Proposal, American Petroleum Institute Proceedings, 20th Annual meeting, Nov. 9, 1939.

Victor H. Scales, 1933.  Economic Aspects of Alcohol-Gasoline Bleds, American Petroleum Institute, May 1, 1933; Also “A Reply to The Deserted Village, No. 6 of the Chemical Foundation,” American Petroleum Industries Committee, 1935; “Who would Pay for Corn Alcohol?, ” Iowa Petroleum Industries Committee, Des Moines, Iowa, 1933.

Scandanavian Shipping Gazette, April 21, 1924.

John Staudenmier, 1988.  Technology’s Storytellers (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Robert N. Tweedy, 1917. Industrial Alcohol (Dublin, Ireland: Plunkett House).

United Nations, 1954. The Production and Use of Power Alcohol in Asia and the Far East, report of a seminar held at Lucknow, India, Oct. 23, 1952, organized by the Technical Assistance Administration and the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, United Nations, New York.

US Energy Resources and National Policy Committee, 1939. Report of an executive committee to Congress, January, 1939, House document #160.

Rufus Frost Herrick, 1907.  Denatured or Industrial Alcohol, (London: Chapman Hall & Sons).

US Senate Finance Committee hearings on HR 24816, Feb. 1907. Statement of Leonard B. Goebbels, Otto Gas Engine Works,

Reynold Millard Wik, Henry Ford’s Science and Technology for Rural America, Technology and Culture, Vol 3 No 3, Summer 1962.

Daniel Yergin, 1991. The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power (NY: Simon & Schuster).