ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
side commentary on ethanol and this is only in my opinion. only commonality with the original thread subject is it's an example of a governments effort to achieve an end concerning energy.

i am confused as to why we are using ethanol. it is put in to our gasoline supposedly to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. it is added at up to 10% now whereas i remember it was 5% at first and now nearly every gas station has this blend except for 1 near me.
now this is our homegrown corn they are shoving into our tanks that is causing the raising of the costs of corn for both human and livestock consumption. ok so our food bill is now higher and add to that they are adding extra taxes onto this corn fuel like it was gasoline.
but we must stay away from foreign oil, which is a good theoretical goal, right? i think our real problem is our amount of consumption rather than where we get it, but moving on we must address how well it is doing in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. how does it do in our tanks? not too well i'm afraid as it costs more than gasoline to produce and you get a marked reduction in gas mileage in using it. what's worse is that many cars do not like burning this type of fuel so it minimally is affecting a car's performance and who knows of engine life.
so we get less mileage and performance to keep foreign oil producers from having a bit more of our $ by keeping it local so to speak. sounds good until you realize the reduction of mileage means you are going to the pumps more often and the net is that there's not really any real reductions as seen by foreign oil in our doing this and do not think you aren't saving any money in the use of ethanol as it seems to be more expensive in the long run.
but hey, it's all to be green isn't it?:confused::cry::roll:
my comment is that morons, especially in governments, and good causes don't mix. the good cause to them would be to reduce our consumption of foreign oil, but replacing it with what was the problem the morons faced. what ever happened to conservation and increasing the mileage of cars, not to mention some common sense?
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Comments

  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Ethanol percentage is up because MTBE was banned. Oxengenated fuels are required by the feds in winter time.

    Back when I was a kid we used to put rubbing alcohol in the gas tank to keep the gas lines from freezing. Don't know if that is related or not, just interesting.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco
    vcallaway wrote: »
    Ethanol percentage is up because MTBE was banned. Oxengenated fuels are required by the feds in winter time.

    Back when I was a kid we used to put rubbing alcohol in the gas tank to keep the gas lines from freezing. Don't know if that is related or not, just interesting.


    :cry::roll: oops, rubbing alcohol is at least about 30% water. good thing you aren't a lawmaker, but this type of reasoning would fit into theirs.
    i also don't buy the explanation you give as to why we are using ethanol, especially when my summer mix is still 10% ethanol. am i to assume that there isn't enough oxygen in the air in the winter and if so no better way to enrich gasoline with oxygen?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,148 admin
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    Anhydrous Alcohol is very good at picking up water in the fuel system and taking it out through the fuel injectors / carburetor. Water tends to settle in low points (bends in fuel-lines, bottom of tank, base of carburetor float area, etc.). Alcohol pulls pulls the liquid water out of the lines and lets it, sort of, mix with the gasoline.

    Regarding oxygenates--As I understand, the attempt is to cause the engine to burn lean--reducing unburned fuel output. I guess this was an attempt to "clean up" older carburetor equipped vehicles.

    But, the modern car with injectors is equipped with an oxygen sensor. Which detects the lean condition and causes the injectors to inject just a tad more fuel when diluted with alcohol. So, I am not sure oxygenates do anything positive at all (other than the political good).

    If we went to 100% alcohol equipped cars--they would run at a much higher compression and we could obtain better fuel economy than we currently can.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Germany's RE Fiasco

    "Anhydrous Alcohol" is to rubbing alcohol as

    99.5% pure is to 70% pure.

    i did hear of alcohol (not ethanol) being added (pure only) by some people long ago and thought this was to better vaporize the fuel, not oxygenate it for the record, as alcohol has no oxygen in it. not sure of ethanol if it has oxygen or not. alcohol does evaporate well in any case and would cause a better cooling effect making any water impurities more likely to freeze.:cry:
    there are other things that can be used as additives and may be far better to add, but some are not kind to rubber or plastic parts and even some metals.
    i think more may be gained through improving fuel injectors and maybe even cpu programming governing some of the operations better.
    i think this may warrant a separate thread as it is taking off. i didn't mean for it to do so let alone think it would.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Some basic alcohol info from a guy who used to run engines on alcohol.

    Alcohol blend fuel is common here in BC, btw.

    Alcohol covers at least four different hydrocarbon compounds: methanol, ethanol, propanol, and butanol.
    Rubbing alcohol is usually propanol (isopropanol 30% to 99%). Not commonly used for fuel purposes, although it is sometimes used as fuel additive especially for diesel. Relatively non-poisonous unless taken in large quantities.
    Ethanol is 'grain alcohol'; the type found in alcoholic beverages. This used to be used as rubbing/sterilizing alcohol and was sometimes 'denatured' to prevent drinking. Denatured alcohol is ethanol with a small amount of methanol added to make it unsafe to drink. Normally ethanol is safe for consumption, except in large quantities (you can die from acute alcohol poisoning from ingesting too much ethanol too rapidly). Ethanol is the most often used in fuel blends.
    Methanol is wood alcohol, because it is usually derived by destructive distillation of wood. It is poisonous even in small quantities. It is commonly found in gas line anti-freeze, although it is often detrimental to rubber parts of fuel systems.
    Butanol is almost a direct substitute for gasoline, although it is expensive to produce. Definitely poisonous.
    Alcohol fuels are heavier than gasoline and therefor have a higher 'octane' rating. But because the density is not in fuel value but in extra hydrogen/oxygen at the end of the molecular chain alcohol does not have good energy properties. It is also a solvent that does not mix with oil well (propanol does fairly well) so in its pure fuel form alcohol is hard on engines.

    The only reason I mention this is to support Neil's POV; that gov't often leaps into something without fully understanding all the ramifications of the situation. Hydrogen fuel is another fine example of leaping before you look.

    Or as Tony always says: Ready, Fire, Aim. Gov't is good at that.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    thanks for that added info marc as heaven knows i'm not an expert at fuels. some racing mixes may work, but may not be kind to some parts of a standard auto. i also worked with some of the chemicals i was told do go into some of those racing fuels and one of them was thf. another one i worked with was mek and believe me these burn hotter and are more volatile than gasoline. thf will destroy many plastics and mek as i've come to find out recently is a carcinogen.:cry:
    for the record i do know alcohol and ethanol are two different things, but we've come to talk of both here and so i addressed them both as it is more about an additive to gasoline to rid ourselves of foreign oil dependence. other additives brought up would be normal mentions in such a thread.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Niel, I hope you didn't find out about mek from personal experience. Nasty stuff.

    Somewhere I have Mercedes-Benz's formula for racing fuel from the 1930's. It includes acetone!

    If I had a point, and arguably I was just running off at the mouth as it were, it's that the 'alcohol' the Gov't would have us use is at least four different compounds all with varying characteristics and suitability for applications. But our illustrious law-makers don't understand even that much when they jump on the 'blended fuel' band wagon.

    BTW, the corn waste from ethanol production is still usable as cattle feed. I'm not convinced that bio-fuels as yet represent a significant drain on food resources. But people will use any excuse to grab money.

    And if we're talking global-warming, wasted fuel is the problem. It doesn't matter what the source; it all comes down to heat eventually as we know.

    On the plus side, alcohol burns clean; its combustion by-products are water vapour and CO2. Oh dear! Greenhouse gases, right? Yes, but ones which green plants need to thrive. This science stuff is never simple. :p
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    my comments in bold.
    Niel, I hope you didn't find out about mek from personal experience. Nasty stuff.

    i used to dip my hands down into a 5 gallon bucket of it to clean pump parts. i haven't any cancers yet that i know of. i used to smoke for many years too, but that doesn't mean one will get cancer even though your odds on getting it are increased many fold.

    Somewhere I have Mercedes-Benz's formula for racing fuel from the 1930's. It includes acetone!

    i didn't work with that one. i wonder if the plastic and rubber parts of a car would be ok with it. i know it tears off the paint jobs women put on their nails.:D

    If I had a point, and arguably I was just running off at the mouth as it were, it's that the 'alcohol' the Gov't would have us use is at least four different compounds all with varying characteristics and suitability for applications. But our illustrious law-makers don't understand even that much when they jump on the 'blended fuel' band wagon.

    the government is adding ethanol and vcallaway mentioned adding alcohol as an additive, but is not being added by or forced by government that i know of.

    BTW, the corn waste from ethanol production is still usable as cattle feed. I'm not convinced that bio-fuels as yet represent a significant drain on food resources. But people will use any excuse to grab money.

    i think livestock and especially people prefer to eat the corn kernels. i'm sure if they have to, livestock will eat the byproducts only, as if they would have a choice. in any case corn has at least doubled and gone up to 3x in price as to what it was before the go green government got involved and i understand the us is paying farmers to grow the corn instead of other vegetables so those go up in price too being in shorter supply.

    And if we're talking global-warming, wasted fuel is the problem. It doesn't matter what the source; it all comes down to heat eventually as we know.

    not going there with this as we are referring to lessening the dependence on foreign oil, aka, less money for nations like those in opec.

    On the plus side, alcohol burns clean; its combustion by-products are water vapour and CO2. Oh dear! Greenhouse gases, right? Yes, but ones which green plants need to thrive. This science stuff is never simple. :p

    you are right in that alcohol is a good burner, as in little left behind in a more complete burn and we aren't even going into the pollution aspects or burned byproducts here in this thread. if one were to put many of the chemicals mentioned out to evaporate in a pan, there wouldn't really be anything left in a short timeperiod, but do this with gasoline and there's plenty left and it takes so long for gasoline to evaporate. as fuels go, gasoline isn't one of the best to burn, but it is cheaper than the others and is abundant so to speak. no fuel will last forever though,
    not even the sun, but in comparison to man it will.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,148 admin
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Where there is the chemical deffinition of oxygenates (something that add oxygen to fuel--to reduce Carbon Monoxide) and there is the government definition of oxygenates:
    The oxygenates commonly used are either alcohols or ethers:
    ...
    As a consequence, much gasoline sold in the United States is blended with up to 10% of an unspecified oxygenating agent. This product is known formally as oxygenated fuel and often (but not entirely correctly, as there are Federally-mandated reformulated gasolines without oxygenate) as reformulated gasoline.

    I believe the Alcohols cause lean burn in a carburated engine because they have less heat per volume of fuel... So, they reduce the BTU flow through the carburetor jets and cause the engine to run lean (and produce less CO).

    There are government incentives created artificial fuel mileage added to CAFE car efficiency standards and to add these additives to fuel (use imported alcohol from Brazil instead of imported oil from Brazil--silly). The agricultural lobby got Ethanols (and other "bio-fuels") to be added to fuel through various tax allowances (farm lobby saw this as a way to make money).
    The apparent motivation for this is the nature of U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which give an effective 54% fuel efficiency bonus to vehicles capable of running on 85% alcohol blends over vehicles not adapted to run on 85% alcohol blends,[1]. This regulatory artificiality is quite valuable to the North American auto manufacturers in avoiding fines for failing to meet CAFE fuel economy standards imposed upon each manufacturer's car and light truck fleets[2]. In addition to this auto manufacturer-driven impetus for 85% alcohol blends, the United States Environmental Protection Agency had authority to mandate that minimum proportions of oxygenates be added to automotive gasoline on regional and seasonal basis from 1992 until 2006 in an attempt to reduce air pollution, in particular ground-level ozone and smog.

    MTBE was the oil companies' original choice as an additive--If I recall correctly, it was because MTBE was originally a cheap bi-product with little value. Of course, MTBE was found to contaminate ground water (gasoline pretty much floats on ground water, MTBE is water soluble to a degree and cause fuel plumes to spread dramatically and pollute water wells because of the usual leaky tanks and pipes at service stations). Some folks believe that MTBE also caused breathing problems (MTBE fumes from service stations).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • notsobrightnotsobright Solar Expert Posts: 247 ✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    what is the real reasons? what is the truth?


    at risk of being labeled a cooke (what do I care.. this aint high school) Im finding its more and more easy to belive the conspiracy theorys on this(and many other subjects lately for that matter) mabey its just me but somehow I think not.

    oxygenated fuels (for racing/high performance) are quite literally "The Bomb" Ive poured in a 2.7% mixture which was AMA spec legal (the moto AMA not the Med AMA)
    into several different ICE machines (Internal Combustion Engines) and noticed a significant improvement everywhere in the power curves without any other modifications. that stuff is great! stinks to high heaven though (I really mis leaded fuels)


    IMSA and the American LeMans Series run corn ethanol exclusively now. it may be worth noting that that racing series is owned by a phamicuetical company giant too BTW

    the current pump gas mixture w/ ethanol is horrible.. and its hard on parts.

    yeah man Ive used MEK and Acetone Tolulene, you name it and all with my bare hands too. had no idea how bad that stuff was at the time.. or flouride.

    things just keep getting better dont they... Dont They?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,148 admin
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    As a kid/young adult--I thought that removing lead from car gas was a scam.

    Today, I think that removing the lead was a good thing--but it allowed other scams and actually caused dangerous conditions when done improperly (piston engine aircraft and many older cars needed the lead as a lubricant for valve seats and steams). The typical warning in an old aircraft engine that the 100LL (low lead) was causing problems was when a valve stuck open and just about cost you all power.

    We had a similar problem when they removed sulfur from diesel fuel a decade or so ago... After two tanks of low sulfur diesel, the pump just puked diesel all over the place when the seals failed. Luckily, the engine was cold and there was no fire or other issues.

    The catalytic converter and various improvements in automotive engine emissions controls (after the disaster mid 1970's models and retrofit kits) was, over all, a pretty good thing. I still remember what it was like to ride on highway 101 during commute hours with my parents pre-pollution controls--I always wondered how my Dad could stand the fumes every day.

    Today, if I get behind a "classic" car--I will switch lanes/pass/drop back to avoid the fumes--Fortunately, a rarity today.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    You know the model T was designed to run on Corn Alcohol. Wonder if anyone complained it was going to starve people then? Gasoline was hard to come by at that time.

    Fuels where I'm at are blended differently for winter and summer. The percentage of Ethanol is different. It is required in my State.

    Supposedly the Ethanol helps fuel burn more completely. That is the same reason MBTE was added to fuel. It was later discovered that the MTBE released more and worse toxins than the unburned fuel. Even after that finding it took a long time to ban its use. Some are saying the same about Ethanol.

    Frankly, I don't trust any environmental claims anymore.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,148 admin
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Apparently, Ethanol enabled car engines were pretty common and was not unusual to find farmers distilling their own fuel--right up until the federal (United States) government made it illegal to distill alcohol (Prohibition 1920-1933).

    Everywhere you turn...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Chuck46Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    after 43 years in auto/diesel industry I have found the goverment to be very reationary to panic in the public when connected to vehicles.

    Ethanol was a second choice of the industry where as MTBE was the first. They both contain oxygen in their make up ie: CH3 CH2 OH if I remember my chemistry right or C2H6O. this has a tendency to enlean the mixture, feed back fuel control would have a tendency to slightly enrich the mixture but this would become a self defeating process. So in programing newer vehicles , the swicth rate has become more important then the specific O2 sensor voltage, while both are of value in fuel control the on board computer looks at trends more the any thing else.

    Does it really help? Who knows it make the beauracrtes and chicken littles feel good and they are in power.

    As far as lead and sulfur have you every tried to lubricate anything with them, more like a cushion instead of a lubricant. And yes they have made thhings more expensive but is the only thing that has been accomplished? Not really, todays gas and diesel engines will exceed privious life cycles, for example in 1963 a chevy with 100,000 miles and no major engine work was a rearity (as was any vehicle) today that happens more often then not. Why because or new fuels drove the technolegy to inprove materials and processes. Well I seem to be ranting so I will stop for now. :D Chuck
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    chuck,
    i am no chemical or car wiz, but just because the chemical makeup shows it has oxygen does not make it a good candidate to add to fuel imho. if that were the case we'd see them adding h2o2 to fuels as well. (hydrogen peroxide)
    i did have one of those rare engines that was rebuilt at 250k miles by the new owners that were neighbors. i got it after i got my license and it was our family car first. (i was 17 for the record when i got my license) i wound up giving it up for another car within a few years due to other miscellaneous problems with the car, but it got about 20 mpg city driving and it had muscle to it too. i remember calculating 21mpg once or twice and i was hard on the gas pedal. i'm talking about a chevy 286 v8 engine. it was in a 1963 impala. few could compare to that engine even by today's standards as how many of today's engines can boast of that kind of mileage with a v8 to boot? i couldn't tell you what it got on the highway as i didn't go beyond the local area very far, but i can imagine.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    the more things change...

    I have an ONAN W2C (~1930) gas genset that the manual tells you NOT to use leaded fuels in... at first glance I was thinking of our new unleaded fuels but then realised they meant some thing like 'white gas ' that one would use in a Coleman type lantern or something similar. I use unleaded low octane rating without ETH...

    It is my understanding that the Ethanol is added to the 'gas' to slow the rate of the explosion thus giving it a higher 'Octane rating ' Lead also did this... a mixture of Propane will also do this, in a gas engine (carburetted) as it 'explodes ' more slowly than gas. Newer 'injected' engines can not do this as it has to be metered through a carb...
    hth
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,148 admin
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    For a gasoline engine, the Octane Rating/Requirement measures/estimates the difference between "burning" and "detonating". As compression ratios and temperatures rise, the fuel has more of a tendency to detonate (explode--heard as an "engine knock") vs a "slower burning" from the spark plug into the combustion chamber.

    Additives can increase detonation resistance. Fuels with less "octane" molecule and other/shorter "gasoline" molecules tend to detonate at lower pressures and temperatures.

    Alcohol does have a higher Octane rating. But, Octane rating does not measure the amount of energy in the fuel. Alcohol has almost 1/2 the BTU/Heat value per gallon/liter vs "gasoline". But higher compression ratios/temperatures are more efficient--so motors so designed to run with higher octane can have more power/better fuel economy.

    But hotter combustion means more Oxides of Nitrogen--a serious air pollutant. So, they recirculate exhaust gasses back into the manifold to reduce combustion temperatures as part of pollution control (less oxygen, cooler combustion). That is the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve on car engines.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)
    BB. wrote: »
    .... a serious air pollutant. So, they recirculate exhaust gasses back into the manifold to reduce combustion temperatures as part of pollution control (less oxygen, cooler combustion). That is the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve on car engines. -Bill

    I'm glad I don't have to recirculate my exhaust gas. :) 2007 Dodge figured out a way to not have to do that, which made it very simple to install headers.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
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  • hillbillyhillbilly Solar Expert Posts: 334 ✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    So, as to the point of using ethanol as a "replacement" for foreign oil supplies, I'm not so convinced as to how much of an improvement that would really be. I'm all for cleaner burning fuels (assuming they are cleaner and they work), and I'm all for using a local source of energy where it's available versus an imported one. Perhaps in small quantities to augment our oil supplies it makes some sense, but on a large scale I don't see it working out at all.
    Also how much energy and water does it take to produce that ethanol, in other words what's the true energy payback? I have no exact numbers on this, but I'd find it hard to believe that there is much real payback here when all factors are taken into account. Like Marc, I don't see biofuels as a major factor (yet) in our food supplies, but I do see a major issue with the energy that it takes to produce some of them. Particularly sufficient land space to grow such crops, water consumption, and then of course there's the use of pesticides, herbicides etc.
    Where we can use small quantities of byproduct waste material to produce biofuels I say sure. This would seem to be insufficient for large scale use...
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)
    mike90045 wrote: »
    I'm glad I don't have to recirculate my exhaust gas. :) 2007 Dodge figured out a way to not have to do that, which made it very simple to install headers.

    Two different things.

    EGR takes some exhaust and feeds it into the intake manifold for a bit of cooling.

    Air injection takes fresh air and feeds it into the exhaust stream for a more complete burn.

    Ford's air injection system (Thermactor I think it was called) did the injection via ports cast internally in the heads, so the system never involved the exhaust manifolds and thus installing headers was no problemo. :)
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    hillbilly, you will be glad to know that here in BC, university researchers have found a way to turn Mountain Pine Beetle killed Pine trees, we have millions of acres of them right now, into Ethanol...

    only issue is to take the technology out of the lab and into a factory and do it economically so that it can compete with corn and other biofuel feedstocks..

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Chuck46Chuck46 Solar Expert Posts: 95
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Ethanol can be sourced from many differant things, such as sawgrass which has no food value , is easy to grow and does not require pesticides. The question is do we really want ethanol as a fuel or a brige to a better transportation mode.

    Sun (solar) can in processing some of these options. Problem being the "not in my back yard". If we look at history we find early vehicles were more often then not electric. This brings up other issues so no matter where we look with current tech issues arise.

    Chuck
  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Until the invention of the Diesel engine may delivery trucks were electric. Gasoline engines did not produce enough horsepower and were prone to breakdown.

    At the trucking show last month I got a good look at a new electric truck. Pretty cool stuff.

    Just think, at the turn of the century automobiles where considered the answer to the pollution problem. Only then it was the pollution left behind from horses.

    Until we figure out some sort of cold fusion power we don't have too many options.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    chuck,
    you're right that there are many sources we can make biofuels from, but we (government) pay our farmers now to grow corn to be used in ethanol production rather than the many other veggies they were growing before and it has bumped up veggie costs some simply due to less availability.\

    vcallaway,
    you said, "Until we figure out some sort of cold fusion power we don't have too many options".
    i don't think that's happening none too soon, but hey, just apply for some government $ to develop it under the guise of going green. cut me in for advisory fees of 8%.;):p
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Despite the fact this thread is pretty far off-topic for a solar/wind forum, it sure is interesting isn't it?:D

    Couple of notes from the old guy (me):

    Ethanol is chiefly made by distilling from fermentation - anything with sugar in it to feed the right kind of yeast. If they've found a way to make it from wood, I haven't heard. Methanol is chiefly made from destructive distillation of wood, so making it from beetle-kill pine is logical. Boy have we got a lot of that in BC right now!:cry:

    In the old days (when I was young and dinosaurs roamed the Earth) some tractors were sold with 'distillate engines' designed to run on you-know-what. Trouble was, some states had funny ideas about people making their own liquor. "It's for the tractor!" Yeah, sure buddy. :p

    To get an engine to run on alcohol you need to increase the fuel/air ration at least 30% richer. You can try it yourself with an old lawn mower engine, some small drills, and several bottles of gas line anti-freeze (usually methanol). But alcohol also like higher compression and more advanced timing - it does not atomize nor ignite as easily as gasoline (butanol being the exception).

    Biggest thing I ever ran on alcohol: http://kaleidopsyche.deviantart.com/art/The-Acre-Shaker-41145459
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    you're right that adjustments need made to run with it, but i'm assuming my car's computer says, nope, you can't do that to me. in 96 (my car's year) there was little ethanol being added and then it was only for some gasoline stations. then it was up to 5% and not at all stations and is now up to 10% in from few to now most stations. the previous cars are being obsoleted and not just ones from a decade ago. unless optimized settings are on the car this is at the very least costing gas mileage leading to more purchasing at the station. being it is not really all gas anymore i think i should call it fuel, but potpourri may be more accurate:roll: and what are the odds all cars are optimized in their settings with the government's experiments in going green even models just a few years old?:grr we are paying more, getting less, and probably polluting more as a result. dumb, dumb, dumb. sigh

    i did start this as just a side comment, but it has been bugging me to say about it for some time. you're right that it is a stretch, but no more so than many other subjects and being borderline is why it's up here and not in the main forum body.:D
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Ethanol-blended fuels are common around here; several major retailers offer them. I've never heard of any trouble running 10% mix even in modern cars. Yes, we even have cars with computer-controlled fuel injection! :p Canadians don't all drive Zambonis - but we want to. :p

    Lots of propane and even CNG vehicles here too. Biggest trouble is getting them through AirCare, which is run by idiots and staffed by the uneducated.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Niel, something you stated about older vehicles sparked a blast from the past...when i was driving my motorcycle in the states in the late 70/80's, Eth was just being 'discovered' and a lot of older M/C's very quickly stopped running like clocks.. Why ? the eth was dissolving the sealant (varnish?) on the metal body floats, causing them to fill with gas and flood out the engine. One piece plastic floats was BMW's solution..cheap and easy, but it took a while to uncover the real problem...

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol (separated from germany's re fiasco)

    Here is a link to the abstract for the publication on the new UBC process, very interesting as to the conversion/ recovery rates... 8) much higher than beforer.

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ie061576l

    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • cow_ranchercow_rancher Solar Expert Posts: 117 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: ethanol
    westbranch wrote: »
    I have an ONAN W2C (~1930) gas genset that the manual tells you NOT to use leaded fuels in... at first glance I was thinking of our new unleaded fuels but then realised they meant some thing like 'white gas ' that one would use in a Coleman type lantern or something similar.
    Eric, I believe that white gas is nothing more than "unleaded" gas, Mom told me many years ago that "auto gas" was colored because it had all the road taxes added to the price and white gas, Coleman fuel type was used on farms and didn't have the road taxes added to the price, and if you got caught using white gas in a car there was a stiff fine. Also she told me not to use leaded gas in the Coleman latern because it would clog up the jets... which makes sence.

    Rancher
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