Wednesday, August 02, 2006

An unforeseen setback for bioethanol fuel

The use of ethanol as motor fuel is controversial for various reasons - efficiency, land use and cost being first among them. But has a more direct problem been overlooked? The Des Moines Register reports.
Neddermeyer was fired after an April 21 incident at the Denison plant. According to Neddermeyer, he showed up for work that morning and saw that there had been a spill of fuel alcohol. Hundreds of gallons of 190-proof alcohol were contained in a 6-inch-deep holding pond that was about 30 feet by 24 feet.

It proved to be too much to resist, Neddermeyer said.

"I am a recovering alcoholic, and I thought about the availability of this alcohol throughout the day," he wrote in a statement later provided to state officials. "Curious about the taste and its effects, I dipped into this lake of liquor and drank what I considered to be 2 to 3 ounces. The next thing I remember is waking up in Crawford County Memorial Hospital."

Neddermeyer had been found by his co-workers in an incoherent state, unable to say his name or the day of the week.

He was taken to a hospital, where his blood-alcohol level, according to state records, was reported at 0.72 - nine times the legal limit for driving, and almost double the level that is considered potentially fatal for many adults...

"The employer has a right to expect employees not to drink the fuel," Hillary ruled. "Just because some of the ethanol leaked onto the floor is not a good reason for the claimant to drink automobile fuel."

Court records indicate Neddermeyer has twice been convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Neddermeyer said Thursday that he has been struggling with alcohol for at least 10 years and is now getting additional help.

"Things were going pretty well until that day at work," he said.
He should have stuck to Sam Smith's sustainable session bitter.

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