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 Message Boards » » Ethanol - fuel of the future? Page [1]  
arghx
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http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/02/06/8367959/index.htm

Quote :
"It takes about 30% more ethanol than gasoline to drive a mile, and the stuff is more corrosive, but building a car that's E85-ready adds only about $200 to the cost. Ethanol has already transformed one major economy: In Brazil nearly three-quarters of new cars can burn either ethanol or gasoline, whichever happens to be cheaper at the pump, and the nation has weaned itself off imported oil."



This article is building hype for a new 85% ethanol fuel blend, which apparently a lot of new cars can run safely. So here's the question: could ethanol prove to be a viable, economical alternative for cars, like diesel, tempting but ultimately untested in terms of economic viability (hybrids), or just pie-in-the-sky (hydrogen anyone?) ?

1/25/2006 4:41:00 PM

zxappeal
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This is a good question...obviously, one positive aspect of ethanol is that it comes from a totally renewable resource. However, we have an entire infrastructure geared toward petroleum production, and ethanol poses new, somewhat unique problems with distribution, storage, and marketing.

Something worth noting here is that Brazil's use of ethanol stems from its already-established production of ethanol from readily-available sugar cane. We don't produce any crops that can yield as much ethanol per unit of crop, nor do we have the established sugar cane industry that Brazil does. Sorghum, however, may very well be our answer. Gearing up for large-scale production will most likely become the big bottle-neck.

I'm not that educated on the matter, but it's something that intrigues me greatly.

1/25/2006 4:51:59 PM

optmusprimer
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more like fuel of the PAST

hmmm. if only a major us automaker had began building flex fuel vehicles 10 years ago...

1/25/2006 5:00:39 PM

arghx
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anybody know if ethanol can be run safely in high octane applications? Or is it only for shitboxes and Mustang GT's?

1/25/2006 5:21:01 PM

zxappeal
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Ethanol has a higher effective octane rating than damn near every pump gas you can find. If I had my MAE408 book I could give you the complete rundown on it.

1/25/2006 5:34:08 PM

arghx
Deucefest '04
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of course--people use alcohol injection all the time

So what is involved in making a Flex Fuel car? Anybody know?

[Edited on January 25, 2006 at 5:47 PM. Reason : flex fuel]

1/25/2006 5:44:03 PM

smoothcrim
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plenty of people running ultra high boost setups for drag racing run pure methanol. 50psi is on the low side of things. what's kickass is that the motor is cool too the touch after running so problems with heatsoak and what not go away. jon shepherd is running it on his dsm right now.

1/25/2006 6:39:20 PM

ScHpEnXeL
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and methanol and ethanol are or aren't the same? i haven't had organic in a while

[Edited on January 25, 2006 at 6:41 PM. Reason : i know the racing go-kart's usually use methanol]

1/25/2006 6:40:38 PM

richthofen
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The flex-fuel Fords that are fairly common in fleet use are set up for CNG and not ethanol, correct?

1/25/2006 6:47:03 PM

beethead
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i think alcohol injection is typically methanol.

1/25/2006 6:51:22 PM

sumfoo1
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injectors setup for alcohol and make sure you don't have anything in your fuel system that will be disolved or corroded by it. also i higher volume fuel pump and if you want the same distance per tank... a bigger gas tank.




[Edited on January 25, 2006 at 7:45 PM. Reason : .]

1/25/2006 7:40:22 PM

sumfoo1
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Quote :
"Turbomustangs.com along with Steve Cole Enterprises Inc (username: Karl Hungus) has completed some preliminary testing with the environmentally friendly, cheaper than 91 Octane, E85 fuel blend.
First off what is E85? E85, is a motor fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline to be used in flex-fuel vehicles. Ethanol is alcohol used in transportation fuels. It is a high-octane, liquid fuel, produced by the fermentation of plant sugars. In
the United States, ethanol is typically produced from corn and other grain products, although in the future it may be economically produced from other biomass resources.

Benefits:
It has a motor octane rating of 104-108, it is also quite cold to the touch. It is currently about 1.99 per gallon, while 91 Octane is approximately 3.30 a gallon. E85 is cleaner burning, emitting a lot less greenhouse gasses. It is also a renewable resource. To top it off it is made 100% within the confines of the USA.

Cons:
It takes more of this fuel to create the same energy as regular gasoline. Therefore your car will use more fuel and you will see a decrease of approximately 10-15% in fuel economy. To make big horsepower you will need more fuel pump and more injector. Many people state that the fuel is corrosive and it could have adverse effects on aluminum fuel rails, injector o-rings and fuel lines. But so far in 9 months of testing we have seen no such side effects.

Test Car
1995 Mustang GT street car, 331 cubic inch, custom twin turbo system with twin T70 p-trims w/ .58 AR, T56 tranny, solid roller: 242/236, .600 lift.
Fuel System: 3, 255lph Walbro in line fuel pumps, 160# injectors.
No alky, no nitrous, no ice on the intake, etc.

The first thing we did was add 40% fuel to the fuel map under WOT. We also added about 20% fuel in part throttle areas. We were tuning using a regular gasoline wideband air fuel ratio of 14:1 at part throttle. On the dyno the car made the best and cleanest power at 12:1.

At 6 psi of boost and 35 degrees total timing the car made 575rwhp from 6000rpm until 7500rpm. The power never fell off. We tried less timing but the car didn’t respond well and the power curve was sloppier. At 13psi and about 29 degrees of timing we made 872rwhp. At 20psi and ~24 degrees of timing we made 989rwhp.
At 30 psi and 20 degrees of timing we ended up with 1066rwhp. The fuel injectors were at 75% duty cycle at this power level. Whereas with gasoline they were at about 55%. The fuel pressure was also slightly falling off at the top. The lack of a large power increase from 20-30psi is due to the tiny exhaust housings on this street car.

In total we made 16 dyno pulls and we never heard any detonation, but we did hit fuel cut a few times during testing. The next day the spark plugs were pulled and there may have been slight detonation in 2 of the cylinders because the porcelain was speckled. However the car still runs fine. This is definitely a very impressive fuel.
I also want to point out how impressed I am with this solid roller setup. Sure it is slightly noisier than my tiny hydro cam. But you can’t argue with that sick power curve. At all boost levels the car makes peak power at 6000rpm and holds it solid until 7500rpm, I am sure it would pull up to 8000rpm no problem. Steve has also tried a larger hydraulic cam to get the same results but it just didn’t work. The cam was a comp extreme energy hyd roller: 248 @ .050 on int and exh, 114 lsa. The car also had larger 74mm turbos at the time but the power would peak at 6500rpm and drop like a rock, even with expensive valve springs. With the new small solid roller cam the car even lugs along at 1500rpm no problem and idles fine at 900rpm.

To learn more about E85 and to check for stations in your area please go here:
http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/e85toolkit/e85_fuel.html

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE DYNO RUNS IN .JPG FORMAT:
http://www.turbomustangs.com/techarticles/stevenew95/coleruns.jpg

Video:
http://www.turbomustangs.com/techarticles/stevenew95/stevedyno.wmv"

1/25/2006 7:43:01 PM

ScHpEnXeL
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damn that color is harsh

[Edited on January 25, 2006 at 7:47 PM. Reason : was]

1/25/2006 7:47:11 PM

sumfoo1
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[Edited on January 25, 2006 at 7:58 PM. Reason : i didn't see the was... yeah i didn't like it either]

1/25/2006 7:57:52 PM

optmusprimer
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Quote :
"Fuel System: 3, 255lph Walbro in line fuel pumps, 160# injectors."


damn thats a fucking lot

Quote :
"At 30 psi and 20 degrees of timing we ended up with 1066rwhp. "


damn thats a whole fucking lot

1/25/2006 8:07:53 PM

beethead
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yeah.. the injectors have to flow more b/c the energy density is lower for alcohol...

1/26/2006 8:11:08 AM

Poe87
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AF ratio for alcohol is around 6:1 as opposed to gasoline's ~15:1. That's the biggest reason for needing larger injectors.

If engines were made to run on E85 (i.e. very high compression ratio), it's possible to get the same fuel mileage or better than gasoline, even though there is less heat energy in the E85.

[Edited on January 26, 2006 at 9:31 AM. Reason : .]

1/26/2006 9:29:37 AM

beethead
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how efficient is pure ethanol? like how many mpg would you expect?

1/26/2006 9:33:36 AM

Poe87
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Efficiency depends on so many things, that I couldn't venture a guess.

1/26/2006 9:49:25 AM

beethead
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what i'm getting at.. is it cheaper, in terms of fuel cost, to run ethanol vs. gasoline or diesel?

1/26/2006 10:11:12 AM

Poe87
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Right now, no. At least not in mainstream flex fuel cars. If there was an engine that could only run on E85, then maybe so.

[Edited on January 26, 2006 at 11:19 AM. Reason : .]

1/26/2006 11:18:16 AM

69
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any engine designed for more than one fuel has to comprimise effieciency for both

1/26/2006 11:45:28 AM

Poe87
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Exactly.

1/26/2006 12:47:09 PM

zxappeal
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You can get by on quite a bit higher compression ratio with any kind of alcohol. Higher compression ratio=greater efficiency.

I'd think it would be best to tailor fleet vehicles to run on straight E85 if the proper distribution network could be put in place. I realize the reality of this is pretty damn slim, unless the vehicle's normal operating range is pretty small. I don't see this as a viable reality for the majority of private passenger vehicles on the road.

One thing that I'm wondering is this: what would it take to scale up ethanol production to provide adequate supplies for exclusive use as a motor fuel? Do we have means for that kind of grain/cereal production already? What are good alternative crops with high yields? Sorghum? Soy (for biodiesel, primarily)?

1/26/2006 2:47:26 PM

icanread
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yeah, i did a research project of sorts on this once...i don't remember what the outcome was though

1/27/2006 9:33:13 AM

SandSanta
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That wasn't a research project then.

It was a school report.

1/27/2006 10:01:40 AM

arghx
Deucefest '04
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They've developed new processes of making ethanol from shit besides sugar and corn, like tree bark and stuff. So that should eventually help supply issues.

1/27/2006 3:27:23 PM

Jeepman
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they sell e85 at a bp back in charlotte. do the manufacturers have to make changed to the blocks, etc to run on the e85?

1/28/2006 1:59:42 PM

sumfoo1
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Its the only way to clean up cars and still have fun with them

electric cars are useless until we get rid of fossil fuel powerplants... its just worthless cause you're still getting the energy from the same place you just have a middle step that causes a loss of efficiency

hydrogen will be clean but nearly impossible for your shade tree mechanic to work on and since our govt. is brought to you by the letters O I and L even though our farms could use the added revenue you'll never see it happen... fucking politics.... not until exxon owns a whole bunch of grain farms etc.

^ no it is more corrosive so maybe fuel lines but i know a couple people running alki on regular old iron windsor blocks (302, 351, or 5.0, 5.8 for the metric folk)

[Edited on January 28, 2006 at 2:07 PM. Reason : .]

1/28/2006 2:06:00 PM

TKE-Teg
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Quote :
"OAK RIDGE, Tenn.,—In a new twist to waste-to-fuel technology, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed an electrochemical process that uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol.

The team used a catalyst made of carbon, copper and nitrogen and applied voltage to trigger a complicated chemical reaction that essentially reverses the combustion process. With the help of the nanotechnology-based catalyst which contains multiple reaction sites, the solution of carbon dioxide dissolved in water turned into ethanol with a yield of 63 percent. Typically, this type of electrochemical reaction results in a mix of several different products in small amounts.

“We’re taking carbon dioxide, a waste product of combustion, and we’re pushing that combustion reaction backwards with very high selectivity to a useful fuel,” Rondinone said. “Ethanol was a surprise — it’s extremely difficult to go straight from carbon dioxide to ethanol with a single catalyst.”
"


Game changer?

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/10/18/serendipity-yields-a-process-to-convert-carbon-dioxide-directly-into-ethanol/
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/slct.201601169/full

10/18/2016 1:11:29 PM

Str8BacardiL
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10/18/2016 4:26:49 PM

wdprice3
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10/18/2016 6:21:45 PM

TerdFerguson
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Pretty cool. Obvious questions being how much energy and copper inputs are needed to yield a unit of ethanol.

[Edited on October 18, 2016 at 6:33 PM. Reason : Why copper?]

10/18/2016 6:32:37 PM

gtherman
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With all of the advances in battery technology in ev's within the last 5-10 years (300 miles per charge), and the rapid advances in quick charging ability, i would say no.

10/18/2016 7:11:22 PM

smoothcrim
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existing tech can run on ethanol, you're absolutely going to see this pick up to help bridge the current ICE - EV gap

10/18/2016 10:17:22 PM

TKE-Teg
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^I think you're underestimating how much this will appeal to the AGW CO2 is evil crowd. And while battery tech is finally making some headway, you can't dismiss how horrible it is on the environment to mine all those precious metals. (nor how labor intensive the processes to create batteries are).

10/19/2016 9:12:35 AM

synapse
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Quote :
" you can't dismiss how horrible it is on the environment to mine all those precious metals"


Is it worse than the mining of crude oil and the burning of its by-products?

10/20/2016 1:00:21 AM

TKE-Teg
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In my opinion, yes. Also the last time I checked nobody was recovering crude oil using child/slave labor.

10/20/2016 9:29:19 AM

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Quote :
"In my opinion, yes."


How so?

Quote :
" Also the last time I checked nobody was recovering crude oil using child/slave labor."


You're going to have to stop purchasing cell phones, laptops, and any electronics with lithium-ion batteries if you want to avoid Congolese cobalt. Might as well add chocolate, gold, and much of the non-us produced seafood to that list if you want to avoid any potential child labor too.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/batteries/congo-cobalt-mining-for-lithium-ion-battery/

10/20/2016 10:54:03 AM

TKE-Teg
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Valid points. But are you really trying to argue that this potential new source of ethanol will make no difference?

Quote :
"the burning of its by-products?"


Emissions from the burning of hydrocarbons are already pretty well regulated all over the world, in all but the worst of 3rd world countries.

10/20/2016 12:41:47 PM

synapse
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Quote :
"Emissions from the burning of hydrocarbons are already pretty well regulated all over the world,"


Regulated doesn't mean non-destructive, and I'm not just speaking of the burning.

I just don't understand how the environmental impacts of mining the materials used in EV batteries can be worse than the environmental impact of mining, refining, and burning of oil.

Quote :
"But are you really trying to argue that this potential new source of ethanol will make no difference?"


No.

10/20/2016 12:59:31 PM

wdprice3
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Quote :
" Also the last time I checked nobody was recovering crude oil using child/slave labor."


Because that's what you really care about.

10/20/2016 7:46:03 PM

synapse
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Exactly. All he cares about in this discussion is EV=BAD, as evidenced by his false equivalence of the environmental impact of crude oil mining/refining/burning vs the mining of lithium ion battery materials.

10/21/2016 1:03:44 AM

wdprice3
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10/21/2016 10:26:47 AM

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Hyperbole, at worst

10/21/2016 11:06:06 AM

TKE-Teg
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Blah blah, nice try.

I've said more than once on here that I'm in favor of choice, i.e. alternatives for automobile propulsion.

10/24/2016 9:36:04 AM

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