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Unread 07-25-2006, 08:38 PM   #1
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Default E85 Ethanol

Now I have nothing against lower emissions, nor anything against improving our environment, but I have serious concerns about this E85 Ethanol that keeps getting attention.

I used to specialize in performance fuel systems, including alcohol injected and carbureted systems. I've done an alcohol conversion on a high compression small block, and the fuel consumption went WAY up. Cruising around, the car would get roughly 5 to 7 miles to the gallon, and after being converted to alcohol, it got 1 mpg cruising!

Now a little math... optimum air/fuel ratio for gasoline is 14.7 to 1, where methanol (alcohol) is roughly 5.0-6.0 to 1. looking at the amounts of fuel involved, this means that to create similar amount of energy/power, you'll need over twice as much alcohol as you will gasoline. This WILL translate directly into higher fuel consumption and lower mpg.

Now this E85 Ethanol that's supposed to be some sort of environmental savior will cause out vehicles to be anywhere from 25% to 40% less fuel efficient SOURCE.

So we now have a fuel that we will have to use quite a bit more of (compared to gasoline) to do the same things we do now. Cue up the wallet factor... for E85 Ethanol to be cost effective to the consumer, It would have to be sold at the pump for $1 a gallon +/- a few cents. The fuel tax at the pump in most states is more than enough to kill that notion, and even without that added tax, it will never be sold that cheaply due to greed, market manipulation, or what-have-you.

I'm not saying I have an answer for all this... I don't. The mythical 100mpg carburetor doesn't exist, never has, and never will. Water-fueled Hydrogen burning cars would take more energy to split the water into it's component elements than it would be able to put out. There is no magic bullet. But foolhardy, misleading technology supported by unethical information manipulation (i.e.- CAFE giving auto manufacturers 'breaks' on fleet mpg ratings for building vehicles capable of running E85) is surely NOT the answer.

/rant
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Unread 07-25-2006, 09:02 PM   #2
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If you stop and think where all of this energy is coming from, you will see it all points to the sun (other than nuclear and geothermal energy). Oil came from organic matter (plants) billions of years ago, which collected energy from the sunn. Same with coal and natural gas. Alcohol is made from plants. Wind? That would be caused by the expansion of air because of heat from the sun. Hydroelecticity? Water evaporates because of the sun, then is driven by the wind to mountains and flows down rivers. If there is an ultimate solution to all of this, it is solar power.

Back to alternative fuels, Ethanol IMO won't work as well as gasoline because it simply does not have the same energy content (per gallon) as gasoline. it takes more of it to get the same results. Biodiesel definitely has more potential. It is made from plants as well. There are actually stories of how people get used frying oil from McDonald's and convert it to use as fuel.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 09:32 PM   #3
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I agree about the Bio-Diesel. I actually know people who do that at home. Bio-Diesel actually has some very attractive properties compared to standard crude oil based diesel. It's far higher in lubricant properties, and doesn't contain any of the corrisive qualities of commercially formulated diesel.

I'm a big believer in diesel power, but the public at large needs to embrace it. Not sure what that would take.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 09:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Witchfire
I agree about the Bio-Diesel. I actually know people who do that at home. Bio-Diesel actually has some very attractive properties compared to standard crude oil based diesel. It's far higher in lubricant properties, and doesn't contain any of the corrisive qualities of commercially formulated diesel.

I'm a big believer in diesel power, but the public at large needs to embrace it. Not sure what that would take.
It's good enough for Willie Nelson, it's good enough for me.

On a more seroius note. did anybody see the Popular Mechanics issue where they comapred all the alternative fuels? Biodeisel won by a long shot for viability, especialy since some desiels can run it already.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 09:50 PM   #5
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What makes me angry is that we're not seeing all of these awesome little 50mpg deisel hatchbacks all over europe. I think we will when our gas prices get as high as they are in europe.

EDIT: I thought it was popular science... If it was PopMech, then that must have the best article in a long time. I haven't really liked their mag lately. I usually only read the new cars and the auto-clinic sections, as well as the occasional Jay leno article.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 09:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apavlov13
What makes me angry is that we're not seeing all of these awesome little 50mpg deisel hatchbacks all over europe. I think we will when our gas prices get as high as they are in europe.

EDIT: I thought it was popular science... If it was PopMech, then that must have the best article in a long time. I haven't really liked their mag lately. I usually only read the new cars and the auto-clinic sections, as well as the occasional Jay leno article.
Could've been PopSci too, I had both with me on the airplane that day.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 10:02 PM   #7
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As far as I know, any existing diesel engine is capable of running bio-diesel. i've seen anything from late '70's era mini trucks to a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 run it with zero ill effects.

Does anyone have any experience running E85 in their own vehicles? In Michigan, some pumps have +/- 10% Ethanol already, but I've not seen any E85 pumps locally yet.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 10:20 PM   #8
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Forget all that stuff :P.

I saw this video of a guy that designed this thing that uses electricity to convert water to hydrogen gas, and used it for a blow torch.

The nozzle of the torch was cool but it was putting off a powerful flame.

He designed a hybrid that runs off of gas and water.

Hopefully we'll eventually have water cars. Though... with commerce as it is... I doubt the big oil companies will let that happen.

I wish I had the video... sorry that's all I can remember. It was awesome though.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 10:26 PM   #9
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I think that would be a fuel-cell performing reverse hydrolysis. Better to just use batteries. Wait, then it would be a gas-electric hybrid! There is still a lot of room to imprive the gas engine. If there was a practical way to use all of the heat generated instead of dissipating it into the air.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 10:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheInformationator
Forget all that stuff :P.

I saw this video of a guy that designed this thing that uses electricity to convert water to hydrogen gas, and used it for a blow torch.

The nozzle of the torch was cool but it was putting off a powerful flame.

He designed a hybrid that runs off of gas and water.

Hopefully we'll eventually have water cars. Though... with commerce as it is... I doubt the big oil companies will let that happen.

I wish I had the video... sorry that's all I can remember. It was awesome though.
Problem with that is it takes more energy to convert the water to oxygen & hydrogen and operate the car than the hydrogen can provide.

The law of conservation of energy is a real b!tch.
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