Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tennessee Kudzu - New Fuel Empire?

It grows fast and it seems to be everywhere. A man in Cleveland, TN says he converts kudzu into fuel and he's ready to go into production across the eastern half of our state:

In the basement of a Cleveland, Tennessee home, Doug Mizell's experiment in energy appears to be taking off. He's found a way to turn kudzu into fuel. Mizell says "if it blows a good blue flame like that, that means there's purity there."

Mizell's spent the last decade perfecting a process to refine kudzu into commercially viable ethanol. Monahan says "cellulosic which is the way we're going, is from plant refuge, we basically can use anything that grew and convert it into ethanol."

And since this ethanol isn't corn or soy based, it won't impact food prices. It takes 10 to 15 pounds of plant material to make a gallon of fuel, at a cost of about $1.30.

Next step, producing this product for market. Monahan says "we're looking for funding to build our first small plant, what you'd call a demonstration plant to help prove to our major investors that it works."

Monahan says a major fuel distributor wants to purchase two-thirds of their first year's production to cut into gas sold throughout the Tennessee Valley. "The distributor we're talking to just wants to get it out there at 10% in all gas."

For more details, you can explore Doug's website, which has all the info on 'kudzunol'.


  1. Ethanol would be made from plant refuse. I could see how kudzu might seek refuge.

  2. I have over 2000 acres full of kudzu alone with plenty of room for a test site. Lets talk

  3. Daniel -

    the folks you need to talk to are at Doug's website, or you can also contact the programs at UT or at the state offices for alternative fuels.

    good luck!!