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Old 07-17-2005, 09:12 PM
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Ethanol a waste.

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=947774
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Old 07-17-2005, 10:29 PM
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And back and forth we go. The debate has been going on for quite some time now. For every study or expert that says that ethanol costs too much to make and distribute, there is another study or expert that says just the opposite (as the article itself points out).

My guess would be that this new study takes into account distribution (including transportation) costs, which are currently higher for ethanol than they are for gasoline. The existing distribution network and infrastruture that exists for gasoline is much more sophisticated and advanced then the one that exists for ethanol, as you might expect. More fossil fuel has to be consumed in order to move around ethanol (as well as the corn it originates from). This imbalance in distribution "costs", however, has been getting smaller, as more and more ethanol refineries come on line and broader ethanol distribution networks evolve. This trend should continue as gasoline prices continue to soar and ethanol continues to be accepted more and more in the marketplace.
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Old 07-17-2005, 10:50 PM
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The main issue with ethanol- and all other alternative fuels, is the energy recapture rate (how many BTU's does it take to produce and distribute vs. how many BTU's we get out of it). Even Nat Gas comes out shy compared to gasoline, but the clean alternatives (ethanol, biodiesel, and...gasp...hydrogen) don't look so hot at the moment.
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Old 07-17-2005, 11:16 PM
The_Ryan_Lilly The_Ryan_Lilly is offline
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the media can skew any statistics to make anything look bad.
We need to look at the use of alcohol as a fuel not just an addative, almost all of the corn produced in the U.S is used to feeg livestock, all of the byproducts of distilling ethanol can still be used and are actualy better livestock feed. Using gas, our money goes to the middle east and we nevery see it again, because we export almost nothing to the middle east. Money spent on alcohol stays in our country and gives much needed support to the farming industry. The more we use alcohol, the cheaper it will get, You cant say that about oil.

Come on, Brazil, a third world country, runs all of their cars on ethanol, but the most powerful country in the world cant do it?
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Old 07-17-2005, 11:53 PM
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the logic is right, but we spend a gazillion dollars in Nat Gas from Canukistan to make the ethanol- which doesn't make a whole lot of sense either. Remember, this is a skewed left-Coast view (we don't grow corn, and can't fathom the Fed subsidies on the stuff).
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Old 07-18-2005, 12:21 AM
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One thing I do have to point out. Alcohol fuels run very dry, and are hard on engine seals, as well as rubber fuel lines, o-rings, and any other rubber part that may come into contact with the fuel between the tank and the engine.

Initially, all cars that were internal combustion powered ran on a version of alcohol, and the technology is not new. Alcohol can actually be very efficient, in fact.

The problem in todays cars lies more in finding ways to prevent the aftermath of problems associated with running a dry burning fuel.

Replacing o-rings on your injectors, or your carb jets ever few months, just to keep your vehical running nice....royal pain in the butt. Not so much different, replacing rubber fuel lines.

For those that do run this type of fuel regularly, add a tablespoon of ATF to your fuel tank, and then fill. It will at least keep things lubricated.
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Old 07-18-2005, 04:12 AM
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Replacing o-rings on your injectors, or your carb jets ever few months, just to keep your vehical running nice....royal pain in the butt. Not so much different, replacing rubber fuel lines.
That would be when the aftermarket steps in and produces alcohol ready seals, rathe than be foolish and keep running the same thing... Brazil uses vehicles produced by all the manufacturers, and they can run 100%, so the proper seals and such are available, just haven't been released here. According to some of the reading I have done, it would cost about $200 to upgrade a system to be able to run ethanol.

Biomass ethanol is a bit cheaper to produce, provides it's own fuel for the process, as well as producing feed for the livestock. There are multiple products from producing ethanol it isn't only the fuel that is produced, and those studies never seem to mention that. If the efficiency is so bad, how is it that the studies done by pro-ethanol companies seem to be able to retain the similar numbers... also, back to Brazil, if it were so bad, I'm sure they would have abandoned it by now, but they have been running on it for nearly 20 years... if the engine is properly set up for it, ie. the compression high enough to capitalize on it, then the efficiency is retained well, if not improved upon. Many of these studies are stuck on latent heat, rather than actually running the fuel. Wax has a high latent heat, but I don't see it working too well as a fuel... Ethanol has a more steady, continuous burn, rather than the quick fire of gasoline, since it carries it's own oxygen, rather than rely on the air alone to supply it.
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Old 07-18-2005, 04:40 AM
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If there is a Go-Kart track near you go check them out. They have been running alcohol for years. It's the only way to get usable H.P. out of the little Briggs engines that they use, and they can get pretty impressive. The biggest problem we had with it was the way it tends to draw moisture out of the air, it is a very dry fuel. There also seems to be a problem with the way it reacts to dissimilar metals in the engine/fuel system. The engine needs to be built for it from the start, HIGH compression, High timing, and the furl system has to handle about twice the volume as gas.
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Old 07-18-2005, 04:48 AM
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Are you using ethanol or methanol? the properties are different between them as far as corrosive tendencies.
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Old 07-18-2005, 12:15 PM
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One problem I can see with ethanol is the tampering that can be done by unscrupulous fuel dealers.

Lately we've had all sorts of junk chucked into petrol by rogues out to make a dollar and all the government cared about was how much tax they were losing.

Ethanol can be spiked with water.
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Old 07-18-2005, 07:06 PM
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Hmm, lets base our ethanol policy on a report from a non-farm unversity based in New York as reported by Disney news.

Give me a report from U of Iowa, or U of Illinois then you may have some credibilty.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:09 PM
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The author, David Pimentel, is the same guy who also concluded (among other things) that gasoline takes more energy to produce than it generates, and corn-fed cow flatulence was a significant contributer to green house gasses. The authors only closely scrutinized corn, tropical wood, and sugarcane production systems. If I understand the paper (it's pretty dry reading) they actually concluded that ehtanol production from sugarcane (what Brazil does) was sustainable and had a net positive energy production. Corn and wood is what they really hammered on. Seemed to me that he was lobbying for federal money to go into solar cell research rather than agriculture for whatever reason.

There has recently been a new bacteria that produces a higher ethanol yeild from grain straw than is conventionlly produced from corn grain,uses the by products to power the ethanol plant, and can cogenerate electricity. Sounds extremely encouraging for ethonol if it can be brought into production, and hopefully will quiet detractors like Mr. Pimentel.
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Old 07-19-2005, 09:27 PM
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[quote]we spend a gazillion dollars in Nat Gas from Canukistan

thats SOVIET canukistan to you buddy
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Old 07-20-2005, 12:13 AM
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OK...but I own stock in half of those companies, eh.
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Old 07-23-2005, 03:01 AM
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Ethanol can be corrosive. It is the moisture mixed with the alcohol that does the damage. Unfortunately alcohol draws moisture out of the air. Sealed metal containers work OK but the plastic gas cans do not seal well enough and the plastic is permeable to water anyway.

Seals for 100% alcohol are readily available. Seals for 100% gas are readily available. Seals for 85% alcohol (E85) are available but they are expensive and can deteriorate if the gasoline % goes to high. It would be better if they used 90% alcohol (E90). The same thing is true for 10% alcohol fuel or gasohol. Seals are available but expensive. It would be better if they limited the alcohol to 5%. Unfortunately the moisture problem would remain.

Biomass alcohol makes much more sense than alcohol from corn. Use the waste products to produce alcohol fuel. If they ever perfect that waste converter plant technology it will be great.
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Old 07-23-2005, 03:01 AM
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