This thread and topic is intended to set the record straight over a topic I opened when I found that it was likely there would be few if any places to get gas that did not have ethanol in it. Even as I wrote it, it dawned on me that ethanol had some advantages - but what are those advantages, and what if any drawbacks are there?
Are there risks? Is ethanol corrosive? Does it contain as much energy per unit volume as straight gasoline? Is it more or less cost effective? What changes might be needed in order to take best advantage of it? What can we expect in the future, will ethanol become the predominant fuel and in what blends?
We have a new member who's handle is "fueltesters" that has a whole truckload of information that we can really use right now...
The following is copied and pasted from the original thread (which was in the wrong forum anyway):
Originally Posted by fueltesters
First want to mention that I found this site through my websites statistics -
Hope I don't regret posting here - Since even the title of thread is misleading. (But thanks for posting a link to my company's website).
First, curious to know what you think we are biased toward?
If you think we are biased to provide the truth and facts on ethanol, you are correct.
Too many incorrect statements in this thread to address all in one post, but guess I should start by stating how misleading the title (methanol) is...
Methanol is NOT mandated anywhere or by anyone as an oxygenator for fuel E10, ETHANOL IS.
Methanol is not used for fuel by any FFV's, cars, trucks...
Methanol (wood alcohol, wood naphtha) is not the same as ethanol (ethyl alcohol)!
Like ethanol, methanol is also used as a solvent and antifreeze - But Methanol is more corrosive than ethanol , and can easily dissolve even aluminum.
The primary use for methanol is for making other chemicals, when it is converted to formaldehyde to make products such as plastic, plywood, paint, etc. > > Methanol is used on a very limited basis to fuel internal combustion engines.
ETHANOL is mandated for distribution in ALL states, as a renewable fuel (E85)and for oxygenating fuel (E10).
Read The Clean Air Act revised (2005/2006) and Alternative Motor Fuels Act for details on "mandates".
Individual state guidelines on how to meet the quota for ethanol vary.
Ethanol replaced MTBE (banned) for oxygenating fuel. Only aircraft grade fuel is exempt from ethanol.
Curious why people keep mentioning Al Gore here?
Look to the EPA and President Bush if you want to blame somebody for the ethanol requirements.
Many people still don't even realize their buying ethanol blends of fuel -
13 states and DC still do not require gas pump labeling when gas contains alcohol/ethanol.
Many engines are not designed to accept ethanol-blends (E10) -
Includes many older vehicles, boat engines, classic cars, gas-powered equipment...
50% of fuel sold in 2008 contains ethanol (whether you realize it or not) -
President Bush has proposed to dramatically increase distribution by 2012.
E10 is a very poor choice for fuel - I hope the public learns the facts and truth soon to encourage a better choice for an alternative, domestically produced gasoline.
Legislation that forced E10 on consumers dates back to 1998 (maybe earlier), but too few people have paid attention to get the EPA and our government to make better decisions-
Too many are unaware or chose to ignore necessary precautions to safely manage E10 gas.
Without understanding the basics of ethanol, many will experience driveability problems and unnecessary damage to their engines (plus decreased engine life).
I support domestically produced, non-petroleum, alternative, renewable fuels - but certainly not E10.
Basic science proves e10 is a poor choice (fuelish) -
Ethanol alcohol readily attracts and absorbs large quantities of water (conventional fuel did not),
E10 has a shelf life of only 100 days...
Oil (petroleum) and water do not mix!
So if we want to push ethanol, would be smarter to do like Brazil did and manufacture cars that run on 100% ethanol -
(Or at the very least increase available pumps and autos designed to run on E85, which has only 15 % oil).
There's better fuel/energy choices available today that are not being utilized- maybe I'll discuss that later on here.
BTW, the gasoline brand does not reflect if ethanol is or is not in fuel, since it's not added at the gas company refinery, but locally by the fuel distributors.
All major gas brands can contain ethanol!
Fuel composition varies greatly by brand and type - All must meet ASTM and other standards.
Gasoline contains hundreds of ingredients - (ethanol is just one).
Depending on your vehicle model, (hp, year, condition, etc.) certain brands will run better in your engine, and certain brands you should probably avoid.
Hope this helps- and please let me know what "bias" you seem to think I have?
Would you prefer I don't educate people on E10 fuel?
Maybe I should leave out the facts and precautions and do like so many others have been in recent years, who are making millions selling useless gas additives with deceptive false claims that they will prevent all problems or fix ethanol gas.
Still shocks me everyday that some people are so easily fooled -
If there was a cheap liquid (additive) that could prevent all negative effects of ethanol, obviously the gas companies would already be adding it to gas! - The gas companies do not benefit if you purchase bad or contaminated gas -
The mechanics and engine manufacturers have and will continue to profit if you chose to ignore E10 facts/precautions - But then it's usually your own fault - not theirs.
To the Mechanics here, feel free to contact me for suggestions on how to protect your business, when customers repeatedly use the wrong gas (or expired or bad gas) and then try to blame you when they come back over and over again for the same type of repairs- it's happening everywhere now, which is a real shame.
Now, WITH THAT- I hope we are on the road to learning a whole heck of a lot of stuff that we never expected!
NOTES: ASTM = American Society for Testing and Materials
There is definitely a lot of misinformation out there. 1 is that all gas has at least 10% ethanol in it. That is not true. There is not a 100% mandate to use ethanol in gasoline. There are even many advertisements proudly proclaiming that their gasoline ISN'T using ethanol. There are even Q&A from companies like CITGO that directly state that not all of the stations have ethanol in it. GOOD FOR THEM.
There's also a lot of misinformation that states that Ethanol is much better for the environment than 100% regular gasoline. Well, as with any set of statistics, you can make any numbers say what you want them to. Maybe a new car designed to run on 85-100% ethanol can do better; but the facts still show that in many cases, using the traditional 10% ethanol that is added to gasoline can produce a net loss; and a net negative to the environment and use of gasoline. Hmmm, wonder if that's why you don't hear a lot of public complaining about ethanol from the oil companies. They know that it doesn't lower their oil/gasoline production by any real significance. Not when you consider the amount of fossil fuel required to plant, fertilize, harvest, process, transport, etc... the ethanol; and the lower efficiency and energy factor that lowers the MPG and requires the purchase of more fuel to go the same distance.
Sorry, but I just don't buy it. I've done a lot of research and reading, and it just doesn't add up. I see ethanol purely as a political topic. It it there for farmers and big companies like ADM. It doesn't reduce our need for oil. It does hurt food production and prices. And sorry if I can't have 100% confidence in an anonymous forum poster. Even if their name if Fueltester. That means nothing to me. I guess I could call myself "Gold-Investor", but that doesn't mean I actually know about investing in gold. I've read the posts and compared it to many current reports. I don't agree with a lot of it. The last time global WARMING actually occurred was in 1998. Since then, our GLOBAL temperature has actually dropped. Yes, ice caps are melting. It's been doing that for about 1 million years. And yes, the polar caps will become tropical in the future. That too is normal.
The truth is; ethanol and climate change are political advantageous because most people are ignorant. Even both sides who disagree with each other, and are educated, are still the minority. The average person doesn't know anything. They just go by the sensationalism there read and hear about in the media. Ethanol and climate change is also very lucrative. It is big money and big business. That's what this is all about. I have no problem with alternative fuels and energy. I just don't believe that ethanol is it. I believe that it wastes money and resources that could go to REAL energy replacement research and technologies.
The Ford Family:
2000 Ford Focus - 143,000 miles
1994 Ford Explorer (4.0l V6) - 114.000 miles
1994 Ford F250 (460 V8) - 65,100 miles
1966 Ford Mustang (289 V8) - 141,200 miles
E10 is mandatory in CA, due to an oxygenate mandate separate from Federal requirements. MTBE was used before, and turned out to be a ground water pollutant. We have two classic cars as well as a 20+ year old Briggs and Stratton powered lawnmower. All of them run just fine on E10. The cars are a 1969 VW and 1972 Buick. Both are completely stock.
The places where ethanol is a problem are
1)classic aircraft not designed for highly leaded avgas
2)boats with fiberglass (polyester resin) fuel tanks
The aircraft issue is complicated, but the basic problem is that alcohol absorbs water and the alcohol water mixture can separate from the gasoline blend under certain conditions, such as the sudden cooling from climbing 10,000 feet in a few minutes. Phase separation is what it is called. The worst part is that gasoline floats on top, so the alcohol water mix will cause the engine to stop.
Sta-Bil has introduced a Marine formula that (according to them) addresses the problems of E10. I've been using it since it came out for my boats' engines (I/O and outboard); whether it's better than regular Sta-Bil remains to be seen.
Several boating mags have identified problems with fiberglass fuel tanks and E10; apparently the alky breaks down the tanks' composition and requires replacement with poly tanks and sometimes major engine repair from ingested gunk.
Black 2004 Explorer XLT Sport 4.6L as my "boat hauler" for Lake Havasu/Lake Mohave runs
GWolf, we have been discussing this stuff in this little room of FTE for quite awhile already. Unfourtunately, it is difficult because the lack of understanding is beyond huge. CCMike has done some good research and testing, but it only applies to the models he tested. Other trucks and cars can and do respond differantly. Then there is Mike's comment that ethanol has a lower efficiency.....that is simply WRONG. Ethanol has greater efficiency, but ethanol does have a lower energy density per gallon. One has to pay attention to the differant measurements. Are we looking strictly at miles per liquid gallon, or miles per BTU ? It can be complicated sometimes.
The aviation fuel problem is already solved as well. AGE85 is already okayed for flight. It does have a somewhat differant formula than the land based stuff. Several engines have been given an okay, provided that they are retuned properly to utilize the new stuff. For lots of engines that need lots of octane, when lead is outlawed in the air, AGE85 is going to be the only choice. DinosaurFan, on an old 'puter work threw out.
The efficiency comes in how the fuel is turned into work, not the fuel itself. There is no built-in efficiency in any fuel, so saying that ethanol "has greater efficiency" isn't correct. E85 can tolerate higher compression ratios, which will increase efficiency in any internal combustion engine regardless of fuel. If nothing else changes in an engine, simply switching fuel to E85 from gasoline will net a decrease in gas mileage (increased consumption). It requires more fuel for the same amount of air. However, if an engine is optimized for E85, it can get better fuel economy than a gasoline engine. No one is doing that, though, so these flex fuel vehicles are a waste of time.
I think it's fair to say that increasing compression creates a lot of mechanical resistance just to turn over an engine. THAT having been said - is the amount of energy liberated significantly higher so as to overcome the added mechanical loss?
How would that be figured... Cumulative mechanical resistance to engine turnover vice overall resulting power divided into eachother for the net efficiency?
How efficient is a deisel? (300 PSI compression) This sounds kind of similar.
"I always keep some spirits handy, in case I see a snake (which I also keep handy)"
EPEric, actually, there sometimes IS a differance in efficiency, just from a differant liquid fuel. Yes, the extra compression is very helpful for ethanol, just like it is for the diesel guys. But if one measures the btus per gallon and finds E85 with 70% of what gasoline has, but sometimes only losses 10% of the miles per liquid gallon as compared to gasoline. That happens because of the greater inherent efficiency of ethanol. The reason ethanol has greater efficiency, even without a boost in compression, is because of the substantially faster flame speed of ethanol. The faster burn means that more of the heat from combustion pushes the piston instead of just warming the exhaust valves and tailpipes.
I would agree that the current generation of 'flex fuelers' is dumb. They are just gasoline models with some extra room in the fuel maps. But because I'm lucky enough to own more than one old Ford truck, and one of them is just crying out for an engine build anyway.......I want to build an E85 only edition. If ethanol remains a good deal, I'll drive that. If ethanol grows more exspensive, I'll leave it parked and drive the gasser. DinosaurFan, on an old 'puter that work threw out
Last edited by Dino@his Dad's; 06-03-2008 at 08:41 PM.
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