Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/264

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2 6o POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

culations as to what it should cost made from a given raw material by a certain process are apt to be misleading. Simonsen's calculation that a gallon of ethyl alcohol may be made from wood by his process for 5% cents is an illustration of this. Results of experience on a commercial scale are more trustworthy.

Ethyl alcohol made from the molasses from sugar cane in Cuba and South American countries is sold at 10 cents a gallon. It takes about three gallons of this molasses to make one gallon of 100 per cent, alcohol. Assume that this molasses can be delivered at our sea- ports for 3 cents a gallon, and it is safe to say that alcohol can be made at those localities for 12 cents a gallon.

Evidence was taken by the Committee on Ways and Means before the passage of the present law and brought out many interesting facts. In a letter to the committee, Mr. M. N. Kline, referring to a distillery in Peoria, Illinois, said that alcohol had been made there, from corn, at a cost of 5.2 cents per proof gallon, and that the average cost during the last ten years was 10.78 cents per proof gallon. The low value corresponds to about 10 cents, the average value to about 20 cents per gallon of 95 per cent, alcohol. Before the same committee Mr. Batchelder estimated that with corn at 30 cents a bushel 90 per cent, alcohol could be made for 11 to 12 cents a gallon; with corn at 40 cents a bushel, for about 16 cents a gallon. He thought a fair price to distillers would be 20 cents a gallon. The concensus of opinion appears to be that corn is the most promising source of alcohol in this country, and the comparison, demonstrating the superiority of corn over potatoes, from which the bulk of the alcohol to be denatured is made in Germany, is carefully worked out by Dr. H. W. Wiley, of the Bureau of Agriculture, in recent Farmers' Bulletins, Nos. 268 and 269. In these bulletins Dr. Wiley also calls attention to the great possibilities of the cassava root as a raw material.

Secretary of Agriculture Wilson holds out very rosy prospects, and thinks it not impossible that alcohol may be made for three cents a gallon from corn cobs and from the juice of cornstalks at a certain period of their growth. Let us hope that Secretary Wilson's estimates may be justified by the events.

The retail price of 95 per cent, alcohol in Germany, converting the values to our units of volume and money, has been as low as 15 cents and at the present time is about 30 cents a gallon. That these prices do not always return satisfactory profits to the distillers is evident from an article published by Dr. E. Parow in the Jahrbuch des Vereins der Spiritusfabtikanten in Deutschland for 1906. After giving figures showing that there has been an overproduction of po- tatoes in Germany, because the increase in the demand for the prod- ucts, alcohol and starch, has not kept pace with the increased crops,

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