An expert in alternative fuels and sustainable agriculture, David Blume discussed the advantages of using alcohol-based fuels, which he said are 98% pollution free. In addition to making us less dependent on foreign oil, using such fuels can help reverse global warming-- the increased growth of plants used to make the fuels takes out CO2, he explained.
Many different plant sources can be used to make alcohol. Corn, he noted, doesn't have that high of a yield compared to a plant such as sweet sorghum, which generates 1,000 gallons per acre. Reports that growing corn for making ethanol was leading to starvation were untrue, said Blume, who pointed out there was actually a surplus of corn, and the U.S. only uses 5% of its farm lands on corn.
The oil companies have employed multiple strategies to curtail the use of alcohol-based fuels, such as buying corn futures at high prices, and claiming alcohol can harm car engine parts, he stated. Cars can actually run on up to 50% alcohol without any conversion process, said Blume, who added there are some 2,000 alternative fuel stations in America. He encouraged people to start their own small plants or stills-- such enterprises can inject money into local economies.
First hour guest, Larry Toups of NASA's Johnson Space Center spoke about his work planning habitation systems for astronauts exploring the Moon. A return to the Moon is planned for 2020, and his team's approach to the mission could be compared to the building of an Antarctic base camp, he said. For more, check out the upcoming National Geographic TV special, Direct From the Moon.