ethanol vs gas

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punisher I don't take offence. I agree with what you said. I went a little farther than just octane. I have a real hard time writing and thinking at 2:00 AM. I agree about the pushing for E85 I like the idea of keep and creating jobs here in the U.S. By creating plants to produce ethanol. But if the price is not going to be that were a person can at least break even compared to using reg unleaded than forget it. I have been using E-85 in my ranger but at present It does not pay. When the stuff is the same or a few penny's less. It needs to be about 40 cents less to break even. With all the tax money they are throwing at this. WERE is the Break at the pump. I have sent letters to our governor of our state asking this same question. With no reply. They want to promote it here in the state well the only way they are going to get the people to use it. Is if the price will save them money. I know it's not a cure but it would be a good alternative for a while. I am sure the cost to get the oil out of the shale is not a real positive one either at this time.
I used to live in Brazil. When I was there in the early 1980's, you could drive up to any filling station and select pure alcohol. IT WORKS JUST FINE. People were otherwise treating their cars like crap, but still getting 250K miles out of them. Are there minor design issues to design a car for alcohol? Yes... and they are minor. Then the price of oil fell dramatically. All of a sudden the marketplace moved back to consumers (in Brazil) wanting gasoline cars. Now, oil is high again. Who knows what it will do in the future? (My own opinion is that it will go back to around $40 and settle there. Due to higher production and also competition from other fuels. But what do I know?) A key feature in most new cars sold in Brazil is the ability to run either gasoline, or alchohol, or anything inbetween (i.e., flex fuel). Now, a motorist has the option to pick one or the other. No longer is a motorist "held hostage" by the price of oil. Yes, alcohol has fewer BTU. But at the higher octane, an engine can be designed to extract more power from it. Race cars run on alcohol. We have all the land and ability to produce all the ethanol we need. Truly, we do. The question now is, will we do it ourselves or will we be importing it from places like Brazil............ Mississippi is buzzing about switchgrass. It has 5X the ability to produce ethanol per acre than corn (despite the cute GM ads).
Quote:"Octane only refers to a fuel's (gasoline) ability to resist detonation, nothing else. Burn rates are the same, specific energy output is the same. Volatility is a function of the vapor pressure, volatility is independant of octane." HMMMMM..... Even among different gasolines, (disregarding E85 for a sec) burn rates vary. Generally, the higher the octane, the slower the burn speed. I say generally, as there are always exceptions. Some fuels will be blended to resist detonation, and still have relatively fast burn speeds for short stroke engines, such as Sunoco MO2X, or VP's Ultimate series. Others resist det, and burn somewhat slower to take full advantage of a longer power stroke. Tailoring a fuel to an application is an art in itself. The swill from the pump is based on profit, not performance. As long as it meets a minimum standard, it will go into a retailers tank somewhere. Check here: and here: for more reads on fuels, burn speed, and octane. Here is a snip from VP's site.. Listed below are the four basic qualities of fuels. As in everything there are trade-offs. You can't make a racing fuel that has the best of everything, but you can produce one that will give your engine the most power. This is why VP produces different fuel for different applications. The key to getting the best racing gasoline is not neccesarily buying the fuel with the highest octane but getting the one that is best suited to your engine. Octane is the rating of fuel's ability to resist detonation and/or preignition. OCTANE is rated in Research Octane Numbers (RON), Motor Octane Numbers (MON), and Pump Octane Numbers (R+M/2). Pump Octane numbers are what you see on the yellow decal on the pumps at the gas stations and represents an average of the two. VP uses MON because this test method is more relevant to racing. Most other companies advertise RON because it is higher and easier to come by. Don't by fooled by high RON numbers or an average. MON's are the most important for a racing application. However, the ability of the fuel to resist preignition is more than just a function of octane. BURNING SPEED is the speed at which a fuel releases its energy. In a high speed internal combustion engine there is very little time (real time - not crank rotation) for the fuel to release its energy. Peak cylinder pressure should occur around 20 degrees ATDC. If the fuel is still burning after this, it is not contributing to peak cylinder pressure, which is what the rear wheels see. ENERGY VALUE is an expression of the potential energy in the fuel. The energy value is measured in BTU's per pound, not per gallon. This difference is important as the air fuel ratio is in weight not volume. Remember, this is potential energy value of the fuel, and this difference will show up at any compression ratio or engine speed. COOLING EFFECT of the fuel is related to the heat of vaporization. The higher thhe heat of vaporization the better its effect on cooling the intake mixture. This is of some benefit in a 4-stroke engine, but can be a big gain in 2-stroke engines.
beanoil. Nice links! I have a big twin motorcycle that is supposed to run higher octane fuel. But, I get around that by running it slightly more rich for the cooling effect, I presume. I get no ping, and I don't run rich enough to make the sparkplugs lose their golden tan, so, I'm happy, the engine is happy, everyone is happy!
beanoil, from your first source: "The antiknock ability is related to the "autoignition temperature" of the hydrocarbons. Antiknock ability is _not_ substantially related to:- 1. The energy content of fuel, this should be obvious, as oxygenates have lower energy contents, but high octanes. 2. The flame speed of the conventionally ignited mixture, this should be evident from the similarities of the two reference hydrocarbons. Although flame speed does play a minor part, there are many other factors that are far more important. ( such as compression ratio, stoichiometry, combustion chamber shape, chemical structure of the fuel, presence of antiknock additives, number and position of spark plugs, turbulence etc.) Flame speed does not correlate with octane." The only point of my post was that octane and burning rate are not really related, You can mix and match hydrocarbon components to get almost any octane/burn rate your heart could desire. EDIT: Quote:"The swill from the pump is based on profit, not performance. As long as it meets a minimum standard, it will go into a retailers tank somewhere." No truer words have been written. I have known a couple of chemists in the "shack" at local Corpus Christi refineries. As soon as the first cool fall (usually winter) days arrive they can mix all of the more volatile components into the gas. It is a big money saver for them getting rid of all the high RVP stock sitting around in storage. As long as the gas meets RVP and octane requirements, it is good to go. [ February 21, 2006, 09:45 PM: Message edited by: punisher ]
Alternative fuels will be necessary due to three reason: supply, cost of supply, and other priorities. The last of these is key in that petroleum has more unique values in other petrochemical applications. We could find a way around using oil for cars, heating and power generation. I am more worried about the impact of declining supplies on the availability and cost of plastics and other petroleum derivatives. If we have to eventually use a fuel that is less desirable in some ways, I am fine with that. I would prefer that to getting 10% ethanol as a mandatory watering down of gasoline intended to burn up corn surplus produced by ADM factory farms (using fertilizers, fuels for machinery, fuels for transport, fuels for distillation etc) There is supply like the oil sands, but to get at all of those reserves will require higher prices or new technology. Those of us Canadians old enough will remember previous waves of enthusiasm about oil sands every time the price of oil shoots up. CRW makes the implicit point that our conception of the cost and benefit of using ethanol is based on using corn in the contect of current agricultural price supports. More efficient crops produced at lower cost may change the equation. The real question is how cheaply (in terms of fossil fuel consumption) you can make ethanol if you design a model from the ground up that is intended purely for the efficient production of ethanol.
I've heard that it costs $20 per barrel to extract crude oil from the Alberta sands. At the current price of $60 per barrel, that sounds great. But, what if they go to all the expense of gearing up for this and then the price drops? I don't know how far it will drop, but I bet it will be less a year from now that it is now. This whole thing in China does not add up. Somehow we've assumed that the average worker in China making $1.00 a day is going to buy a Buick and start taking the family out to the local Sonic for burgers and ice cream....
Interesting article. EPA drops ethanol, MTBE requirement By The Associated Press Washington - States no longer will have to add corn-based ethanol or MTBE to gasoline to fight pollution - a requirement that costs as much as 8 cents a gallon - under rules announced Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. They eliminate a mandate from the 1990 Clean Air Act that gasoline used in metropolitan areas with the worst smog contain 2 percent oxygen by weight. The law did not say which oxygenate must be used, but most refiners use either ethanol or methyl tertiary butyl ether, known as MTBE. The rules announced Wednesday put in place a part of the energy bill the president signed in August that did away with the 2 percent oxygenate requirement. The rules will take effect nationwide on May 6 and in California 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register. Parts of more than a dozen states fall under the 2 percent oxygenate requirement, while others use oxygenates voluntarily. Nationwide, about 30 percent of gasoline contains oxygenates.
MTBE was outlawed here in California I think. I do believe all our gas is 10% Ethanol though... is hard to read sometimes. But anyway, I lived out in Iowa for 6 months (work) and they have an 89 octane Ethanol brand of gasoline that was usually around 5-6 cents cheaper than 87 octane. Everyone bought this 89 ethanol gas... My car (2.2L Ecotec) ran perfectly with no MPG loss. I think Ethanol, if made available at a lower price like Iowa would sell a lot better than it is now - especially in major cities. Every barrel of ethanol we produce is a barrel of oil we don't have to buy. I'd rather pay American Farmers for my gas than someone else who wants to blow me up.
Oil Sands: The current production costs may be around $20 or say $30 per barrel, which clearly makes it profitable to sell at $60/barrel. However, there are also hidden costs that are not included in the current cost calculation. For instance extraction process itself creates a lot of pollution, CO2, etc. which is in direct conflict with Canada's Kyoto goals. At some point the government may statr chargin penalties - new cost! After a certain field is processed they cannot simply leave a huge hole in the ground. They have to "fix it" somehow, say plant trees, etc. - new cost (since most fields are new producers haven't really had to deal with it yet) And so on. Long term that $20/barrel production cost will certainly rise. People in China don't drive buicks. In fact they don't need a 5L 6 cylinder hemi engine. They are much more reasonable and use smaller more efficient engine. They still drive, just not big monsters. That being said, the numbers are huge. I am guessing more typical engine would be a 1.5L 4 cylinder, so 3-4 chinese would roughly equal a single American with his big hemi. So individual vehicles don't use that much fuel, but there are a lot of them. It is simple economics. Each oil user has a certain price elasticity range. As the price keeps going up, the users from bottom drop out and seek an alternative. For instance, car drivers say in north america may tolerate up to $1.5/L (just a guess). At that point we seek altenratives (alcohol, electric, etc.) On the other hand, airlines don't have many alternatives and I am guessing they are much more expensive. So their tolerance is much higher and they'll stick with oil at much higher prices. Same may be true for platic manufacturers, etc. It comes down to availability and cost of oil alternatives. When the price hits the magic number suddenly those electric cars become hits. We already have had a preview with Toyota Prius. Compacts are suddenly all the rage these days. Even Scooters are coming back. People need to be hit on the head with the price stick to wake up and compromise on those 5L 8 cylinder hemis and decide that the pickup truck may not be necessary for grocery shopping [Frown] )
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