This is information from Chapter 21 of the Civil Defense Manual titled “Alternative Power” and these subjects are covered in this essay…
- Fuel selection and standardization
- Getting fuel When A Collapse Of Society occurs
- Fuel for your Engine Powered Electric Generator
- Avoid Ethanol Blended gasoline
- Properly storing fuel
- From Dan D… Pouring vent cap…
- Fuel Stabilizers
- Sta-bil® fuel additive
- PRI fuel stabilizers
- Notes for use
Before I get into the use of fuels for the average person without knowledge of it…
…YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THIS FIRST !!!!!
Flammable fuel is DANGEROUS and will ignite easily… even from a spark.
Fuel that catches fire easily is termed ‘Flammable’ and has a low flash point of under 100o Fahrenheit. You DO NOT USE this fuel for lamps, stoves and heaters. Flammables are, but not limited to, naphtha, alcohol, acetone or gasoline. The exception being lamps, stoves and heaters specifically made to burn low flash point fuels.
Combustible fuel is SAFER and harder to set on fire. However, it is still dangerous.
Fuel that doesn’t catch fire easily is termed ‘Combustible’ and has a high flash point over 100o Fahrenheit. You DO USE this fuel for lamps stoves and heaters. Like almost any Combustible oil such as diesel fuel, kerosene or the vegetable oil from a tuna fish can.
Combustible Fuels versus Dangerous Flammable Fuels
I have been fortunate enough with all the exposure and involvement I’ve had with Flammables as a civilian welder, mechanic and Farm Boy and with military items like Frantan going off close to me… not to have been burned by Flammables. Think… crawling under a farm truck, gasoline leaking everywhere and sparks from shorting electrical wires. By my Lord God and his Son Jesus, Mithra and the Fates… I was lucky.
A little trivia… Frantan was a Rhodesian reword of the extremely destructive device composed of a gelling agent and Flammable fuel that was the a creepy burny known as “Napalm” during Vietnam days. Napalm and Frantan were the end of most life caught within their explosive perimeters. White Phosphorus was also used in the Rhodesian and South African conflicts.
Frantan/Napalm and White Phosphorus can’t be put out with water… they have to be smothered to choke off the oxygen that keeps them burning. Think dirt… like my comrades furiously rubbed on my arm. These reignite themselves remarkably well if you block only 99% of it from getting oxygen… but not 100%.
I have a burn the size of a fist on my arm from White Phosphorus, also known as ‘Willy Pete.’ I was hoping around like a mad rabbit during a fire fight trying to get my fatigue jacket and jumpsuit off, it was so horrendously painful. I can’t imagine from my puny little burn, but I’ve been told by survivors of major third degree burns that it was the most painful experience ever… and the damage is horrible and lasts the remainder of their life as is plainly visible on burn victims. The afterwards of reoccurring infections and huge pussy scabs like cardboard is just about as painful.
Think… physically scarred for life in a horrible way. Grit, from dirt forced into the burning mess, was still coming out of my arm for a couple of decades after my burn which was topical, but verrrry painful. These weapons should be outlawed. But you know that “outlawed” doesn’t work very well in the real world.
Let’s concentrate on Flammable and Combustible fuels here.
If you do use Flammables how and where you shouldn’t use them… you will most likely be in the burn ward of a hospital… if there is one still functioning. Regardless, you will be in a painful world of shytte if you get burned.
Other subjects covered in Chapter 21 are…
- Wood and other sources of open flame fuel
- Fire Safety
- Individual and NPP Alternative Electric Power Systems
- Common Alternative Electric Power System components are…
- Power sources
- Electric Inverter/Charge Controllers
- Electric Storage Battery Bank
- The ‘load’ or where your electricity is being used
- The power source-Solar Panel power
- The power source-Windmill Turbine Electric Generator
- The power source-Engine Powered Electric Generator
- Small output portable Solar Panel units
- Hardened Power Systems
- A word on water well pumps
- Electric power and plug standardization
- Faraday Cage Protection
- Building a Faraday Cage for an Engine Powered Electric Generator
For all you who think you have the foolproof plan by incorporating a natural gas-powered electrical generator as your M.C. Hammer… “U can’t touch this!” alternative electrical source when the Proverbial “Shite Hits The Rotating Inclined Planes,” beware. The bottom may drop out of your alternative electrical generation bucket because this fuel source will stop, soon after electrical ceases, contrary to urban myth and widespread belief.
From Author Tobias “The Geek Prepper”
Reprinted with permission from his copyrighted essays at https://geekprepper.com/
Check out his website for some excellent additional information…
Natural Gas’ Reliance on Electrical Grid
Another of the major flaws of Natural Gas grid is its dependency on the electric grid.
The gas grid relies on electricity. The gas grid requires that pressure must be maintained throughout the system. This pressure is maintained via a system of compressors and pumping stations.
The good news is that some of the main compressor stations, feeding the large interstate pipelines, are typically fueled by natural gas and generate their power with it, to keep operations running. Gas-fueled compressors could be more widely used throughout the system, but they are noisy and have environmental implications. So in urban areas, the gas distribution companies typically use electric pumps and compressors to bring gas to the consumer. It’s not hard to see where the problem lies here. No electricity, no gas supply.
If you are lucky enough to live along a line that is powered by its own natural gas, you should still have some pressure pushing gas down the line, as long there are no breaks in the line.
Again, check out the “Geek Prepper” …good information gathered with brains by research… geekprepper.com/…
Fuel selection and standardization
If the world goes Grid Down, you and your CDM Neighborhood Protection Plan™ Group Members need something more for heating, cooking and illumination other than electric or burning wood by open flame. You need a source of fuel that will work long-term in addition to solar, wood and electric sources. I recommend that your CDM Neighborhood Protection Plan™ have fuel burning heating, cooking and lighting equipment that is centered around standard fuels like kerosene, diesel, jet fuel (JP4 through JP8) and home heating oil.
Fuels made are listed by the Draft International Standard (DIS)… diesel (DF) DF#1, DF#2, DF#4, DMB Marine Diesel Oil and DMA, DMZ grades of Marine Gas Oil, #1 furnace fuel oil, gasoline as well as paraffin based JP4, JP5 and JP8 jet fuels.
With the exception of ‘gas,’ (Flammables) these fuels (Combustibles) are all pretty much the same thing. Kerosene is popular because it burns clean and is not the carbon monoxide monster like other fuels, but most equipment that use it can use these other Combustible fuels.
Again, most Combustibles have a high flash point of around 400o Fahrenheit and they don’t ignite easily at ambient, normal air temperature. You can throw a lit match into an open container of any of Combustible fuel and the match will go out. Not so for Flammables… expect an explosion if you throw a match into an open container of Flammables such as gasoline or even make a spark near it.
For long-term shelf life storage without degrading like gasoline, and for fire safety and getting a good BTU return, these fuels are the best. BTU = British Thermal Unit, which measures heat from fuels, just like calories measure the energy of food. See also the Chapter “Food, cooking and storage” and the Chapter “Lighting” for more information on fuels and cooking devices.
I am a believer in fuel abundance and availability during a Prolonged Crisis being extremely plentiful for two reasons…
One. Case in point… shortly after this recent Coronavirus lockdown started and everyone topped off their vehicle fuel tanks, fuel supplies piled up to the point that oil prices for wholesalers went negative. A first in history. Even though it didn’t collapse the price at the fuel pump for us, it has shown that their supply way exceeded the demand… because demand ceased to exist.
After a Catastrophic Event there will be lots of every kind of fuel available, after everyone tops off their vehicles… and then drives home and sits tight. People weren’t taking ‘The Sunday Drive,’ they sat at home.
At least, if it’s not an EMP event that destroys the electric power grid and prevents the transfer of fuels by the electric powered fuel pump operated by the computer system of your corner gas station. Even in that situation, there are means of getting fuel from the underground tanks with a hose and hand pump. Also, an EMP will render many vehicles with full fuel tanks useless… they won’t start. Read about this method later in this Chapter.
Two. After some Extraordinary Catastrophic Events, many of the people who would normally be your competition for fuels… will be dead. Most will die there of disease, from the weather, lack of life sustaining medicines, dehydration, starvation, suicide and violence. There will be huge amounts of fuel in these people’s vehicles and in fuel station underground storage tanks for the taking… or maybe I should say… for the siphoning.
Getting fuel When A Collapse Of Society
When A Collapse Of Society occurs, there will be vehicles and underground storage tanks with gasoline and diesel that can be drawn from. You should have two items…
One, a simple plastic and rubber hand siphon pump like in the photo to get fuel out of vehicles, and…
Two, a heavy-duty rotary hand pump and hose to get fuel from underground storage tanks and to transfer fuel between barrels and containers. A special type of hand pump is needed for gasoline. Just because the pump is advertised as a ‘fuel transfer pump,’ dig deeply into that.
Most ‘fuel transfer pumps’ are not made for gasoline pumping long-term and the seals will go out rendering them useless. My NPP has a Fill-Rite heavy-duty rotary hand pump that is for gasoline and diesel. This unit is made to screw into one of the bung holes of a 55-gallon barrel. We also have a separate stand if drawing fuel from an underground tank.
Know that if a pump is cheap… you get what you pay for and it’s probably not for gasoline. Go to www.fillrite.com for quality rotary hand gasoline and diesel pumps. On our NPP pump unit, the 25-foot-long tank hose has a strainer on the drop down the tank end and a filter at the hand crank or ‘siphon’ pump. The filter removes water, rust, mold growth and other contaminants that will be in tanks after fuel sets for long periods of time.
There are two configurations of fill pipes going to underground tanks at fuel stations. Most all these are 4 inch diameter ‘fill dump pipes’ going down to the top of the buried tanks.
One… a ‘straight drop’ into the tank. Two… a ‘curbside fill pipe,’ mostly installed at truck stops where the fuel truck can park away from the underground tanks, not interrupting their use. The curbside drop will have about 20 foot of pipe with two 90-degree bends not big enough to easily push your siphon hose through to the underground storage tank. If you could, you would need a very flexible 40-foot length siphon hose.
We are putting together a complete unit with pump and hoses for our NPP, long enough to get to the bottom of a barrel or to siphon from ‘straight drop’ buried fuel tanks at my neighborhood gas station. The hose is 25 foot in length with a filter on the pump and a strainer on the hose end that goes down into the tank. We have about $400 invested in this, but like I said, you get what you pay for.
We’ve had minor discussions about this, but if our NPP Council feels charitable and says yes to providing fuel to those outside our NPP, we’ll get the value back many times over in barter or trade. This unit is functional now, but a work in progress, as we’ve bought an aluminum military medical supply case that we are retrofitting to store it in and transport it. It will have wheels and a backpack harness on it. It will contain the whole enchilada… siphon hose, the pump, fuel filters and a stand for the pump and is not much over 40 pounds in weight.
Fuel for your Engine Powered Electric Generator
Because diesel fuel stores better for longer periods of time, I recommend only diesel fuel engines in Engine Powered Electric Generators for long-term usage. However, that being said, if you live in a metropolitan area, and don’t have at least 200 gallons of diesel fuel stored, you have to make a decision if gasoline should be the fuel for your Engine Powered Electric Generator. This will only permit you intermittent use of your generator.
Gasoline eventually ‘goes off’ and is not a reliable long-term as fuel for your generator. So, just because there’s a huge supply around, unless you have huge stocks of gasoline rejuvenator like PRI, gasoline will eventually be useless to you.
Gasoline is much more common in most metropolitan and suburban areas and easier than for the average person to deal with in regards to a generator engine. I am not talking down to you about this, as I was raised on a farm, so unlike most of you, I have been brought up around diesel fuel and diesel engines and understand their operation, which is more problematic and complex than gasoline engines.
Avoid Ethanol Blended gasoline
Try to obtain gasoline with the lowest amount of Ethanol, which is basically ‘corn alcohol.’ Ethanol, in over 15% of the gasoline by volume, creates a horror show you don’t want to see. Ethanol-blended gasoline degrades faster and more completely than pure gasoline.
Ethanol eats holes in fuel lines, corrodes the fuel tank and engine intake parts, makes small engines run so hot that they melt rubber and plastic components that destroys the engine. That is if you can get it started. If you didn’t take every last drop of Ethanol blended gasoline out of your engine after using it last year you’ll have a clogged carburetor, gummed up injectors and plugged filters.
If you do get the engine started, know that Ethanol absorbs water from the air like a sponge and then separates from the gasoline, sinking to the bottom of the gas tank where it quickly degrades and creates gums, varnish and other insoluble debris that will plug fuel flow passages. You may as well try to use Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup as a fuel. It costs three times the value of a gallon of gas… to produce a gallon of Ethanol. Another program foisted on Americans for campaign contributions that is a farce. But hey, it’s only your tax dollars that pays for this loss.
How do you know how much Ethanol is in the gas? Again, I suppose if you had enough chemicals, a chemistry whiz kid, the ‘Kosmos Beginners Chemistry Set’ and an up-to-date secret decoder ring you could do it. Other than that, it’s usually stated on a label on the pump housing. But be aware, that if Ethanol gas sits for very long in underground tanks, you don’t want your siphon hose right on the bottom when you draw out fuel, because that will be pure water that will overcome and plug your hand pump’s filter capacity. Drop your siphon hose to the bottom, then pull it up about a foot before pumping gas out.
Properly storing fuel
Store your fuel outdoors for fire safety. Keep it stored in shade and in as temperature stable area as possible away from wooden fences, trees, bushes, your house and other structures. One of the issues that causes fuel to become contaminated, is the up and down fluctuations of temperatures that condenses moisture inside the fuel container. This also puts unnecessary stresses on the container by expansion and contraction.
I DO NOT suggest storing Flammables in larger than 5-gallon containers unless the storage is underground in a specific tank system set up for Flammables. The possibility of a leak from a large container is a time bomb waiting to go off. Understand that one gallon of fuel weighs roughly 8 pounds. So, a 55-gallon drum of gasoline weights over 400 pounds, which is way too much for even four people to handle if it leaks and has to be moved out of danger.
A rule of thumb to use… IN GROUND will keep your fuel from the ups and downs of outside 24-hour cyclic temperature changes. Temperature changes will make your fuel containers “breathe in and breathe out” …like your lungs, over the day and night temperature differences. The more consistent and cool the temperature… the less stress you put on your containers and the less moisture will be drawn into the containers when the “breathe in.”
Keep your containers away from your home and DO NOT store in your garage or basement. The best storage method is to have an in-ground storage area away from trees, your home and buildings. Think… dig down and line the sides with concrete block or timbers and put a cover over it that will support human weight.
On 55-gallon drums there are ‘bungs’ to fill and empty the drum on the top. These are usually screw in type caps, one about 2 1/2 inches and another about 1 inch in diameter. For diesel fuel, I tighten the large one finger tight, but loosen the small one to where it will let air in and out from expansion. Do this only for low flash point Combustibles… not on Flammables.
Fuel stabilizers can absorb and prevent some of this condensation, but eventually it absorbs all the water it can and loses its effectiveness. So, the fuel preservation solution needs to be added to the container every couple of years. The ideal storage for fuel is a dry underground area if you can keep moisture drained away from the area.
Make your choice between ‘plastic containers’ and ‘metal containers.’ HDPE,’ High Density PolyEthylene, also known as PEHD for PolyEthylene High Density, are essentially plastic containers. Both plastic and metal containers have advantages and disadvantages. Plastic containers are prone to penetration by sharp or heated objects and are difficult, if not impossible, to repair… but they don’t corrode.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) is a thermoplastic polymer with a high strength-to-density ratio. It’s used in plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes and plastic lumber. Midwest Can for HDPE containers.
Metal containers are more penetration resistant and repairable, but corrode and rust. I hedge my bets and have both. Any HDPE food container can be used to store fuel… but don’t do the reverse. If food or water is stored in containers formerly used for fuels or other toxic substances, the container will contaminate your food no matter how thoroughly you clean and reclean it. Mark it FOR FUEL ONLY.
All metal storage containers should be covered and kept off the ground, sitting on something like composite deck dimension lumber. Cover containers with plastic, but leave the bottom of the plastic open and set them up off the ground or concrete on composite material.
Whichever you choose, metal or plastic, I highly recommend Lexington Container Company or Midwest Can for all fuel, water and food grade storage containers. All my HDPE containers are from Midwest Can Company.
Lexington sells about everything under the sun in container storage, including blue barrels and larger pallet mounted storage containers and I find their prices hard to beat. Shipping is a large part of the cost. Go to… LexingtonContainerCompany.com or MidwestCan.com
Buy only recessed groove welded Jerry Cans as in the photo. There is a cheap knock-off Chinese manufactured Jerry Can with the edges welded protruding outside the can, which makes a ridge that projects around the can and is prone to damage, thus leaking-Do not buy. The welded edge of a properly manufactured can is protected by the recessed groove.
Jerry type can and container pouring spouts. The EPA and whacko freakish State regulations like in California, have created a total clusterfock in container spouts. Their attempts at limiting fuel spillage and vapor emissions with spout check valves and push to activate valves has created complex spout systems that actually cause more spillage than they prevent.
These ‘environmentally safe’ (in reality a diametrically opposed meaning) spouts make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pour fuel into a vehicle and other fuel tanks from Jerry Cans without fuel running all over. There are alternative simple spouts around and or you can install pouring vent caps as below to help alleviate this problem. ‘Wavian’ made NATO Jerry cans have a bulit in vent system to keep the mess of splilled fuel down when pouring it. These are the best of metal fuel cans. WavianUSA.com
From Dan D… Pouring vent cap…
The photos show the fuel container pouring venting cap. You can buy these pouring vent caps on eBay to add to the top of your Jerry cans to improve the nearly impossible task of emptying fuel from these cans into a vehicle. You will need to drill a hole in the top to install it. I have found that using a Unibit is the easiest way to get to a ½” dia. hole. Afterward you will need to wash the drill shavings out of the can; this is easy by rinsing with water and setting the can in the sunshine on a hot day for quick drying.
These are made for both plastic and metal fuel cans. If you buy them, buy ‘Made in America’ ones as the foreign ones do not seal properly. Pay attention to whether they are for metal or plastic fuel containers or if they’re for both when you order these.
Remove or open all plugs and spouts and install on virgin unused cans only or rinse and fill the can with water to prevent explosion when installing these. They should be fastened in with a gasoline and fuel resistant sealing glue.
I now spray the bottoms of my metal ‘Jerry Cans’ and metal containers with pickup bedliner LinerXtreemeTM to keep the protective paint on the bottom from coming off and it gives the cans a little tougher and more corrosion proof bottom.
Like the ‘fiz’ going out of your Pepsi or Coke bottle when you forget to screw the cap on tightly, gasoline loses its ‘fiz’ too… actually it loses its capability to make fumes, which is what burns when gasoline ignites… not the fluid… but the fumes. To stabilize unleaded gasoline, you need a stabilizer that states it is specifically made for unleaded gas. Unleaded gasoline does not store as well as say straight 88 octane leaded gasoline… which you can still buy. This is what I store for reserve gasoline.
Sta-bil® fuel additive
Sta-bil® fuel additive is great for maintaining gasoline’s flash point and volatility during storage. They also make a preservative for diesel fuel. I’ve used Sta-bil® for years and have burned stored gasoline in my Lincoln Town Car that has set for five years in the ups and down temperature extremes of the Southwest. Read about Sta-bil®… https://www.goldeagle.com/brands/sta-bil/
PRI fuel stabilizers
I also highly recommend PRI. These is the same company that makes the Berkey Water Filter. They make a PRI-G additive for gasoline and PRI-D additive for diesel. From their website…
Generator manufacturers estimate that more than half of all generator failures in emergency situations are the result of fuel gone bad. When stored for months and years at a time, fuel will deteriorate and become unusable – disabling engines, plugging filtration systems, damaging engine components with excessive carbon – and in some cases – refusing to ignite. This neglect of stored fuel is one of the weakest links in disaster preparedness.
By simply applying a small amount of PRI-D or PRI-G at the time of storing, the fuel will remain refinery fresh and stable. This freshness will hold for a minimum of 18 months, and often many years depending on storage conditions. With periodic re-treating of the fuel, it will remain fresh indefinitely.
PRI-D and PRI-G are industrial chemistries – the choice of nuclear power plant operators, public and private emergency service providers and even operators of more than 2,500 ocean going ships. PRI chemistry is much stronger than ‘lawn and garden’ fuel stabilizers, and ensures quick startups each and every time. PRI chemistries are also used to restore degraded fuels to refinery freshness.
PRI-G will actually make ‘flat’ gas reconstituted. Pretty amazing stuff and a miracle worker with gasoline So have both Sta-bil® and PRI fuel additives on hand.
Notes for use
When you use fuel additives to preserve your gasoline and when you store your gasoline properly in the shade and where temperatures fluctuate the least amount, it will stay good for at least two years. Diesel fuel… virtually forever… if preservatives are periodically added to stop mold growth on water that condenses in the container.
When putting stored gasoline in your vehicle’s fuel tank, strain it through fine cloth or paint strainers first. Have your vehicle fuel tank three-fourths full of fresh gasoline from the pump. Then, top it off with stored gasoline… about five gallons. In doing that, you dilute the stored gasoline with fresh gasoline to further minimize problems.
In a pinch you can also add Coleman fuel (naphtha) gasoline to run a car engine. This works best when the engine is already hot. Naphtha is the predecessor of gasoline so it has a lower flash point, that’s why you can’t run it straight and have to dilute is with gasoline.
What fuel or source do you use for your NPP cooking and heating when it is a Grid Down Situation. The perfect answer is the ‘H45 U.S. Army Tent Stove,’ at least for a few years until you establish fully sustainable prolonged use cooking and heating sources.
American soldiers loved this little wonder… and no wonder why. Consider soldiering in subzero temperatures where the shelter you’re in is almost like being outside. It keeps no heat in but only the wind out. Then along came the M45 stove. Ahhhh!
This stove burns about every kind of fossil petroleum fuel made and listed by the Draft International Standard (DIS)… diesel (DF) DF#1, DF#2, DF#4, DMB Marine Diesel Oil and DMA, DMZ grades of Marine Gas Oil, #1 furnace fuel oil, gasoline as well as paraffin based JP4, JP5 and JP8 jet fuels.
No electricity is required, and it will crank out 45,000 BTUs for heating and cooking. You can buy these on the internet new and used from $100 to about $400 excluding shipping, which can be expensive. But in the long run, these stoves are worth every penny spent on them. See the Chapter “Alternative power” for more information on cooking fuel sources.
In the next Civil Defense Manual Blog, learn all about Precious Metals… everything you wanted to know… but didn’t have anyone to ask.
As I Say And Recommend…
“Be prepared. Then relax, enjoy each and every moment of life… and love your family with uninhibited passion.”
– Jack Lawson