Wow! 6 acres. Even with a 10% loss in the field (I don't know if that is realistic) that's around 6K gallons. If they're wild. Do you intend to manage them for higher yeild? I'm interested to hear how things progress with the BATF. Will you keep me posted?
LOL, I was just telling my husband that we will, obviously, have to branch out on our own when it comes to experimentation. We only have about 1/4 of an acre of cattails at our disposal. They are all over the place around here and choking more ponds than just ours. At first we thought about going around and clearing ponds for folks, bringing the cattails home and using them. But, then everyone started saying we'd run into trouble with the wetland people. *shrug* hard to say. Seems to me it would be "restoring" wetland, not destroying them. I look forward to seeing your experiments and if we ever get down your way, I'll try to look you up! I'd love to see your set up :-)
Ron, what are planning on heating your still with? Also, is it up and running? Are you planning on using any of the hot water, from the still, for the farm? Do you have a hammer mill or shredder to process your cattails? How are you digging them up? We'd love to see you process a batch, seems the more we get into this, the more questions we have!!
Ron, thanks for all the info!! I'm sorry that it is going so hard for you, but I'm glad to find out that we are not alone. We actually have a mini-escavator...that we are on the verge of losing if things don't turn around in the next month! grrrr Alan said if he could he would truck it down so you could use it.
I hear you on the still. We thought about making one, but then we decided we'd buy one, just because we so DON'T know what we are doing and there is such a HUGE learning curve on the whole process. Just when we think we understand one part, we have to move into another. Right now, we're trying to figure out how to keep the green house at 80 degrees when our temps get down to -30.
As for the still.... We're looking at getting the revenoor 25, then, after we see how it works and we've learned what we need to know, and decide we want a bigger one, we'll try to make the next one. With all we are trying to do, and the fact that my husband did have a job up til 2 days ago, it made sense to buy what we could when it came to that.
In working our business plan (we're trying to get the bank and USDA and some private investors in on this) we discovered that the money is not in the making of the alcohol. We went from having that as the "core" of our business, to concentrating on the greenhouse and fish with the alcohol being a support for those. Heck, it seemed like even the worms made more money than the fuel!! Only when the price of gas goes back through the roof, will we try to make more and sell it. I've found that people are too "stuck in their ways". They will go back to gas, if they can afford it, with no concern to the other benefits of alcohol, merely because they are USED to using it.
Best of luck and keep in touch. I'm glad there is someone else trying to do this who is pretty close.
As for Dave not doing it....wow, makes you wonder.
You're the guy with all the cattail potential? I'm looking at cattails too but the Big Black Book seems a little short on detail for producing the 1200 gallons of alcohol this crop can make.. Have you determined which enzymes and yeasts will work best with cattails? How about harvesting? I can't decide which will be most productive, cutting low and leaving the root or pulling it all and replanting. Any advice would be helpful.
John "Wild Man" Foules