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Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:17 AM
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2690341.html

How far can you drive on a bushel of corn?
Crunching the numbers on alternative fuels.

BY MIKE ALLEN
Lead Photograph by Christian Patterson
Published in the May, 2006 issue.

On the outskirts of Garnett, Kan. (pop. 3362), the horizon is broken by what at first sight seems to be a grain elevator rising above the cornfields. But closer inspection reveals a tall, skinny distillation column among the silos and fermenters, identifying the complex as part of the nation's energy future: It is East Kansas Agri-Energy's ethanol facility, one of 100 or so such heartland garrisons in America's slowly gathering battle to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The plant processes about 13 million bushels of corn to produce approximately 36 million gal. of ethanol a year. "That's enough high-quality motor fuel to replace 55,000 barrels of imported petroleum," the plant's manager, Derek Peine, says.

In the past 18 months, the war in Iraq, a Texas oil refinery fire and drilling rig shutdowns caused by hurricanes--not to mention mounting worries over global warming--have all contributed to a sense of urgency to revamp the way America's vehicles run. Rising oil prices are leading skeptics to take another look at formerly ignored alternative automotive fuels. Ethanol is getting the most attention--but interest is growing in methanol and even leftover french fry oil for use in diesel engines. In addition to these biofuels, research continues into electricity and natural gas as vehicle power sources. Department of Energy (DOE) policy calls for eventually making a transition to a hydrogen-based economy. And President Bush has recently stated that he wants hydrogen-powered cars on the market by 2020.

Ethanol, king of the challengers to petroleum, is already found blended with gasoline at pumps across the country, and production is continuing to ramp up. Ethanol is probably the main fuel President Bush had in mind both in February, when he announced the Advanced Energy Initiative, and last summer, when he signed new energy rules into law. That legislation established a renewable-fuels standard that will require the use of 7.5 billion gal. of ethanol and biodiesel annually by 2012--a nearly 90 percent increase over today's usage--and extended tax benefits that favor both fuels.

In the lab, many gasoline alternatives look good. Out on the road, automotive engineers have a lot of work to do, and energy companies have new infrastructure to build, before very many people can drive off into a petroleum-free future. And, there's the issue of money. Too often, discussions of alternative energy take place in an alternative universe where prices do not matter.

For this special report, PM crunched the numbers on the actual costs and performance of each major alternative fuel. Before we can debate national energy policy--or even decide which petroleum substitutes might make sense for our personal vehicles--we need to know how these things stack up in the real world.

Continued......

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:18 AM
Prairie power: The East Kansas Agri-Energy plant in Garnett, Kan., turns corn into ethanol. But will this clean-burning, environmentally friendly fuel really help reduce America's dependence on oil? PM examines the promise and the reality of alternatives to gasoline and diesel.
http://media.popularmechanics.com/images/PMX0506Fuel001_large.jpg

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:19 AM
Ethanol/E85
Ethanol is ethyl alcohol, often referred to as grain alcohol; E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Most ethanol is made from grain, just as moonshine is, though there is also research into making ethanol in commercial quantities from cellulosic plants--a complex process that uses plant matter such as switch grass as a base feedstock. A gallon of E85 has an energy content of about 80,000 BTU, compared to gasoline's 124,800 BTU. So about 1.56 gal. of E85 takes you as far as 1 gal. of gas.

Case For: Ethanol is an excellent, clean-burning fuel, potentially providing more horsepower than gasoline. In fact, ethanol has a higher octane rating (over 100) and burns cooler than gasoline. However, pure alcohol isn't volatile enough to get an engine started on cold days, hence E85. Much smaller quantities of ethanol are also added to around 30 percent of the gasoline sold in the States to meet EPA requirements for oxygenated fuels in metropolitan areas with the country's worst ozone air pollution.

According to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), E85 currently is available in 36 states. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists 34 models of flex-fuel vehicles (FFV)--cars and trucks that can burn pure gasoline, E85 or any ratio of gas/ethanol in between--available in the 2006 model year. The NEVC estimates that 6 million FFVs have been sold in the States to date.

The performance of E85 vehicles is potentially higher than that of gasoline vehicles because E85's high octane rating allows a much higher compression ratio, which translates into higher thermodynamic efficiency. However, FFVs that retain the capacity to run on gasoline alone can't really take advantage of this octane boost since they also need to be able to run on pump-grade gasoline.

Cynics claim that it takes more energy to grow corn and distill it into alcohol than you can get out of the alcohol. However, according to the DOE, the growing, fermenting and distillation chain actually results in a surplus of energy that ranges from 34 to 66 percent. Moreover, the carbon dioxide (CO2) that an engine produces started out as atmospheric CO2 that the cornstalk captured during growth, making ethanol greenhouse gas neutral. Recent DOE studies note that using ethanol in blends lowers carbon monoxide (CO) and CO2 emissions substantially. In 2005, burning such blends had the same effect on greenhouse gas emissions as removing 1 million cars from American roads.

Case Against: Alcohol is a corrosive solvent. Anything exposed to ethanol must be made of corrosion-resistant (and expensive) stainless steel or plastic--from fuel-injection components to the tanks, pumps and hoses that dispense E85, as well as the tankers that deliver it.

Growing corn is an intensive process that requires pesticides, fertilizer, heavy equipment and transport. When considering the viability of ethanol, the total impact of all that activity needs to be taken into account.

Outlook: Hopeful--to a point. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, 95 ethanol refineries produced more than 4.3 billion gal. of ethanol in 2005. An additional 40 new or expanded refineries slated to come on line in the next 18 months will increase that to 6.3 billion gal. That sounds like a lot--and it is--but it represents just over 3 percent of our annual consumption of more than 200 billion gal. of gasoline and diesel.

One acre of corn can produce 300 gal. of ethanol per growing season. So, in order to replace that 200 billion gal. of petroleum products, American farmers would need to dedicate 675 million acres, or 71 percent of the nation's 938 million acres of farmland, to growing feedstock. Clearly, ethanol alone won't kick our fossil fuel dependence--unless we want to replace our oil imports with food imports.

Continued...

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:20 AM
Methanol/M85
Methanol is methyl alcohol, commonly called wood alcohol; M85 is a blend of 85 percent methanol and 15 percent gasoline. Methanol is produced through a steam and catalyst process that reconstitutes methane gas as methanol. Currently, virtually all methanol produced in the States uses methane derived from natural gas. However, methane also can be obtained from coal and from biogas, which is generated by fermenting organic matter--including byproducts of sewage and manure.

Case For: Methanol is a potent fuel with an octane rating of 100 that allows for higher compression and greater efficiency than gasoline. Pure methanol isn't volatile enough to start a cold engine easily and when it does burn, it does so with a dangerously invisible flame. Blending gasoline with methanol to create M85 solves both problems.

Case Against: Methanol is extremely corrosive, requiring special materials for delivery and storage. Methanol, in addition, has only 51 percent of the BTU content of gasoline by volume, which means its fuel economy is worse than ethanol's. As with ethanol, any potential increase in efficiency from methanol's high octane is negated by the need for FFVs to remain driveable on gasoline only. The lower energy content and the higher cost to build methanol refineries compared with ethanol distilleries have relegated methanol and M85 to the back seat. Moreover, producing methanol from natural gas results in a net increase of CO2, hastening global warming. Unlike ethanol, the process liberates buried carbon that otherwise wouldn't reach the atmosphere.

Outlook: Cloudy. The EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program is tasked with reducing methane emissions from landfills, and much of this methane is used to produce energy. As of December 2004, there were more than 325 operational landfill-gas energy projects in the States and more than 600 landfills deemed to be good candidates for projects. But the quantities involved are small. Methane also can be produced by processing biomass such as grass clippings, sawdust and other cellulosic sources.

Based on these important differences between ethanol and methanol--not to mention the power of the farm lobby--methanol has receded into ethanol's shadow as a gasoline replacement. The last M85 FFV in the States was sold in 1999. However, methanol may still have a future as a fuel. Nearly every major electronics manufacturer plans to release portable electronics powered by methanol fuel cells within the next two years.

Continued...

BigMeatballDave
04-26-2006, 10:20 AM
Prairie power: The East Kansas Agri-Energy plant in Garnett, Kan., turns corn into ethanol. But will this clean-burning, environmentally friendly fuel really help reduce America's dependence on oil? PM examines the promise and the reality of alternatives to gasoline and diesel.
http://media.popularmechanics.com/images/PMX0506Fuel001_large.jpgHeh - Look at that, a giant still...

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:21 AM
Compressed Natural Gas
Natural gas can be used to fuel internal-combustion engines. The most practical strategy is to handle it as compressed natural gas (CNG). Natural gas is typically found in underground deposits, often with petroleum, and is obtained by drilling. To use natural gas, the methane component--which makes up 50 to 100 percent of natural gas--must be processed to remove contaminants as well as other useful fuels such as butane and propane.


Case For: With an octane rating of up to 130, CNG has the potential to optimize an engine's thermodynamic efficiency through a high compression ratio. However, many CNG vehicles are able to run on either CNG or gasoline, which obviates the octane advantage. According to the DOE, a CNG-fueled Honda Civic GX--the sole widely available CNG-only vehicle in the United States--produces 90 percent less CO and 60 percent less nitrogen oxides (NOx) than its gas-powered counterpart. And, CO2 is reduced by 30 to 40 percent. According to the company, the car's exhaust is cleaner than the air in some high-pollution areas.

Case Against: For a vehicle to carry enough CNG to travel a reasonable distance, the gas has to be compressed to 3000 to 3600 psi. At 3600 psi, CNG has about one-third as much energy as gasoline--about 44,000 BTU per unit volume--and the tank must be far larger, heavier and more expensive than a conventional one.

In addition, energy is consumed during the compression process. Currently available in nine states to Civic GX owners is a compressor/refueler called Phill that uses 2 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity to compress the equivalent of 1 gal. of gasoline. With electricity averaging 10 cents per kwh nationwide, the price of CNG goes up 20 cents per gallon over the cost of the natural gas itself. Still, CNG is a bargain compared to gasoline. A gallon of gas equivalent (GGE) costs about $1.20, including the cost of compression--thanks in part to the lack of taxes added to gasoline.

Outlook: Limited. Even though 85 percent of our natural gas is produced domestically, and there's already a distribution network in place, CNG faces a limited future as a gasoline or diesel replacement. For one thing, like petroleum, it is nonrenewable. More critically, perhaps, there's already a great demand for natural gas--and CNG requires major retooling of both cars and fuel-station infrastructure.


Continued...

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:23 AM
Biodiesel
Fuels for diesel engines made from sources other than petroleum are known as biodiesel. Among the common sources are vegetable oils, rendered chicken fat and used fry oil. In fact, Rudolf Diesel's demonstration engine ran on peanut oil at the 1900 Paris World Exposition. Processing these oils into fuel involves removing glycerin and other contaminants through a process called transesterification.

Unlike spark-ignition engines, diesels rely solely on high compression in the cylinder to raise the temperature of the air enough to ignite the fuel. Consequently, diesels are tolerant of varying-quality fuels and the high compression results in high efficiency. Diesels extract more energy from each gallon than gasoline engines, and less energy is lost as heat leaving the exhaust pipe than with a gasoline engine.

Case For: Modern diesel engines can run on 100 percent biodiesel with little degradation in performance compared to petrodiesel because the BTU content of both fuels is similar--120,000 to 130,000 BTU per gallon. In addition, biodiesel burns cleaner than petrodiesel, with reduced emissions. Unlike petrodiesel, biodiesel molecules are oxygen-bearing, and partially support their own combustion.

According to the DOE, pure biodiesel reduces CO emissions by more than 75 percent over petroleum diesel. A blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petrodiesel, sold as B20, reduces CO2 emissions by around 15 percent.

Case Against: Pure biodiesel, B100, costs about $3.50--roughly a dollar more per gallon than petrodiesel. And, in low temperatures, higher-concentration blends--B30, B100--turn into waxy solids and do not flow. Special additives or fuel warmers are needed to prevent fuel waxing.

Outlook: Good. Biodiesel has a viable future as a major fuel for transportation. According to the National Biodiesel Board, production of biodiesel in 2004 was about 25 million gal., tripling to more than 75 million gal. in 2005. The trend is solidly upward, thanks to government incentives, the growing number of new diesel vehicles for sale and a grass-roots groundswell of support.

Like E85, biodiesel began with farm co-ops and local entrepreneurs. High fuel prices affect farmers, too, and here was an opportunity to make money from otherwise fallow farmland. Country singer Willie Nelson, in partnership with several Dallas businessmen, has lent his name to Bio-Willie, a brand of B20 marketed mainly to long-haul truck drivers in California, Texas, the South and the Midwest. Drivers praise the fuel for its low emissions, but obstacles to mainstream acceptance include a higher price than petrodiesel (seasonally and regionally, 10 to 25 cents a gallon) and the need to heat storage tanks in colder climates to prevent the fuel from gelling.

Continued

BigMeatballDave
04-26-2006, 10:24 AM
What does E85 sell for at the pump?

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:27 AM
What does E85 sell for at the pump?

In that article is a breakdown of different fuels and what it would take them to get from New York to California. It lists E85 7 cents more than gasoline. I might post that part later. Right now, the site is giving me problems.

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:29 AM
Another thing I found interesting, BigChiefDave, is this comment at the end of the ethanol portion.

Clearly, ethanol alone won't kick our fossil fuel dependence--unless we want to replace our oil imports with food imports.

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:30 AM
Electricity
The same flow of electrons that powers your television and iPod can provide the energy needed to move a vehicle. Electricity from a power source, typically a rechargeable battery pack, energizes a large electric motor that propels the car. When slowing or stopping, the braking energy reverses the power flow, turning the electric motor into a generator to help recharge the battery pack. Under normal circumstances, however, the batteries must be recharged for several hours at a stationary charging station.

Case For: Vehicles that operate only on electricity require no warmup, run almost silently and have excellent performance up to the limit of their range. Also, electric cars are cheap to "refuel." At the average price of 10 cents per kwh, it costs around 2 cents per mile. Electric cars can be recharged at night, when generating plants are under-utilized. Vehicles that run on electricity only part of the time and on internal-combustion power at other times--hybrids--have even greater promise. As hybrids gain in popularity, there is a growing interest in plug-in hybrids that allow owners to fully recharge the vehicle's batteries overnight.

A strong appeal of the electric car--and of a hybrid when it's running on electricity--is that it produces no tailpipe emissions. Even when emissions created by power plants are factored in, electric vehicles emit less than 10 percent of the pollution of an internal-combustion car.

Case Against: Pure electric cars still have limited range, typically no more than 100 to 120 miles. In addition, electrics suffer from slow charging, which, in effect, reduces their usability. When connected to a dedicated, high-capacity recharger, some can be recharged in as little as an hour, but otherwise such cars are essentially not driveable while they sit overnight for charging.

Outlook: Mixed. While interest in plug-in hybrids grows, the long-term future of pure electrics depends on breakthroughs in longer-lasting, cheaper batteries and drastically lower production costs for the vehicles themselves. And then there's the environmental cost. Only 2.3 percent of the nation's electricity comes from renewable resources; about half is generated in coal-burning plants.


Continued...

Donger
04-26-2006, 10:30 AM
What does E85 sell for at the pump?

Right around what gasoline sells for. But, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. A gallon of E85 contains about 75% of the energy of a gallon of gasoline.

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:30 AM
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth, forming part of many chemical compounds. Pure hydrogen can be made by electrolysis--passing electricity through water. This liberates the oxygen, which can be used for many industrial purposes. Most hydrogen currently is made from petroleum.

Case For: Though hydrogen can fuel a modified internal-combustion engine, most see hydrogen as a way to power fuel cells to move cars electrically. The only byproduct of a hydrogen fuel cell is water.

Case Against: Most energy and industry experts agree that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles won't be widely available until 2020. The industry still needs to develop a manufacturing and distribution system. And, despite the chemical simplicity of electrolysis, producing hydrogen is expensive and energy consuming. It takes about 17 kwh of electricity, which costs about $1.70, to make just 100 cu. ft. of hydrogen. That amount would power a fuel cell vehicle for about 20 miles.

Although hydrogen has the highest energy-to-weight ratio of possible energy sources, it's necessary to expend a tremendous amount of energy to compress sufficient hydrogen into an expensive, 5000-plus-psi storage tank in a vehicle. Another option is freezing: Cryogenic hydrogen boils at minus 423 F. This requires energy to refrigerate and compress the hydrogen to liquefy it, and more energy to maintain that temperature in a superinsulated tank.

Outlook: Good--someday. The world's carmakers are deeply engaged in hydrogen fuel cell research. Some carmakers continue to work on hydrogen-fueled, internal-combustion engines. But, the stumbling block is finding a cost- and energy-effective way to produce hydrogen.

Conclusion
Today, many families have several cars--often more cars than they have drivers. So before we see our national fleet running on hydrogen, we believe that many households might have an electric or plug-in hybrid for short trips, an E85/electric hybrid sedan, SUV or minivan to squire the whole team, and a diesel pickup fueled by B30 or B50 to haul most anything else. All will reduce greenhouse gases and use renewable resources that come from inside our borders. By pursuing these multiple pathways, we can reduce our dependence on any single energy source--something we haven't achieved with petroleum.

But don't discount the appeal of gasoline too quickly. David E. Cole, chairman of the Center for Auto Research, says, "If gasoline prices get too high and we look to other fuels--like hydrogen--you can expect that oil-producing nations will reduce our fuel costs. They want to continue to pump oil out, pump dollars in, and they could see the hydrogen economy as a threat."

Clearly, our energy future is anything but simple. But the proliferation of energy options and surge in research hold promise--even if no single alternative fuel can replace imported oil alone.

Donger
04-26-2006, 10:31 AM
One acre of corn can produce 300 gal. of ethanol per growing season. So, in order to replace that 200 billion gal. of petroleum products, American farmers would need to dedicate 675 million acres, or 71 percent of the nation's 938 million acres of farmland, to growing feedstock. Clearly, ethanol alone won't kick our fossil fuel dependence--unless we want to replace our oil imports with food imports.

And there's the other little secret about ethanol.

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:33 AM
Right around what gasoline sells for. But, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. A gallon of E85 contains about 75% of the energy of a gallon of gasoline.

According to this article, it's energy content is ony about 65% of gasoline's energy content.

morphius
04-26-2006, 10:33 AM
Thanks Lzen, I have been wondering on the cost of biodiesel as I like it better then some of the other fuels. They already have heated gas tanks available to those who want to run biodiesel, which makes the cold weather issue almost nonexsistant. Plus I like that there are a variety of ways to get the fuel, the key will be whether they can bring down that price. I know I have mentioned it before, but I saw one show where a guy converted his suburban to biodiesel and was gettig over 40mpg, and that was without any other technologies added.

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:34 AM
And there's the other little secret about ethanol.

All this talk lately about gas prices and alternative fuels brought up a lot of questions. Of course, people had their own opinions, but I like facts. I thought this article did a good job of covering most of that.

Donger
04-26-2006, 10:35 AM
According to this article, it's energy content is ony about 65% of gasoline's energy content.

75%, 65%, whatever it takes.

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:36 AM
Check this out, morphius:

Oil, Hold the Fries
Tom McGurr, a New Jersey contractor, has found a new way to beat the high cost of diesel--by scrounging used vegetable oil from fast-food restaurants, which are usually happy to give it away. But McGurr doesn't just pour fry oil into his tank. Using a kit from Missouri-based Greasel Conversions, McGurr filters the cooking oil into a tank in the truck bed. Water from the engine's cooling system then heats the viscous oil before it's pumped into the engine. "I've put about 4000 miles on the conversion, and the truck runs great," McGurr says. "My commute is about 35 miles each way, and after only a few miles I can switch from regular diesel to the heated veggie oil, even on cold days." A few miles from the end of the day's driving, McGurr switches back to diesel to flush out the lines so oil doesn't congeal in the fuel-injection system. Charlie Anderson, owner of Greasel Conversions, has sold over 4500 of the kits to date; they cost $800 and up. greasel.com

http://media.popularmechanics.com/images/PMX0506FUEL009_sm.jpg
http://media.popularmechanics.com/images/PMX0506FUEL014_sm.jpg

Donger
04-26-2006, 10:36 AM
All this talk lately about gas prices and alternative fuels brought up a lot of questions. Of course, people had their own opinions, but I like facts. I thought this article did a good job of covering most of that.

I just finished reading it. Thanks for posting it. I agree with their conclusion, as well. We need to pick hydrogen fuel cells and begin the switch-over planning NOW.

FAX
04-26-2006, 10:39 AM
Great post, Mr. Lzen. Thanks for sharing this information.

We were actually discussing these matters at dinner last evening in the wake of the President's remarks to the RFA yesterday.

I am encouraged that alternatives are being developed. One person at dinner, by the way, mentioned that there are sources for ethanol other than corn, apparently. The "import food" issue would vanish were we capable of converting bio-waste, grass, sawdust, etc. to ethanol, would it not?

FAX

Lzen
04-26-2006, 10:40 AM
I just finished reading it. Thanks for posting it. I agree with their conclusion, as well. We need to pick hydrogen fuel cells and begin the switch-over planning NOW.

Yep, I agree.

And for all the people that think we can come up with hydrogen fuel cells right now, here is a reality check from this article.



Case Against: Most energy and industry experts agree that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles won't be widely available until 2020. The industry still needs to develop a manufacturing and distribution system. And, despite the chemical simplicity of electrolysis, producing hydrogen is expensive and energy consuming. It takes about 17 kwh of electricity, which costs about $1.70, to make just 100 cu. ft. of hydrogen. That amount would power a fuel cell vehicle for about 20 miles.

Donger
04-26-2006, 10:42 AM
Great post, Mr. Lzen. Thanks for sharing this information.

We were actually discussing these matters at dinner last evening in the wake of the President's remarks to the RFA yesterday.

I am encouraged that alternatives are being developed. One person at dinner, by the way, mentioned that there are sources for ethanol other than corn, apparently. The "import food" issue would vanish were we capable of converting bio-waste, grass, sawdust, etc. to ethanol, would it not?

FAX

Yes. Ethanol can be made quite effectively and efficiently from sugar cane, much more so than from grain. That's what Brazil has done.

Radar Chief
04-26-2006, 10:43 AM
Right around what gasoline sells for. But, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. A gallon of E85 contains about 75% of the energy of a gallon of gasoline.

And your vehicle has to be capable of runín it. Most arenít, check your owners manual to see if yours is.

Donger
04-26-2006, 10:44 AM
Yep, I agree.

And for all the people that think we can come up with hydrogen fuel cells right now, here is a reality check from this article.

Yep, there are some pesky engineering details to be worked out and even then, it's not going to be cheap. At least not at the start.

morphius
04-26-2006, 10:44 AM
Check this out, morphius:

Oil, Hold the Fries
Tom McGurr, a New Jersey contractor, has found a new way to beat the high cost of diesel--by scrounging used vegetable oil from fast-food restaurants, which are usually happy to give it away. But McGurr doesn't just pour fry oil into his tank. Using a kit from Missouri-based Greasel Conversions, McGurr filters the cooking oil into a tank in the truck bed. Water from the engine's cooling system then heats the viscous oil before it's pumped into the engine. "I've put about 4000 miles on the conversion, and the truck runs great," McGurr says. "My commute is about 35 miles each way, and after only a few miles I can switch from regular diesel to the heated veggie oil, even on cold days." A few miles from the end of the day's driving, McGurr switches back to diesel to flush out the lines so oil doesn't congeal in the fuel-injection system. Charlie Anderson, owner of Greasel Conversions, has sold over 4500 of the kits to date; they cost $800 and up. greasel.com

http://media.popularmechanics.com/images/PMX0506FUEL009_sm.jpg
http://media.popularmechanics.com/images/PMX0506FUEL014_sm.jpg
Yup, I have done some reading on it. I like the fact that we can actually use waste products to make it as well. Like I said, there are a lot of ways to create it.

Mr. Laz
04-26-2006, 10:46 AM
ethanol is probably the most immediately partial solution to gas prices.

increase the amount used ... but i don't think it's ever gonna be viable by itself.

i still think Hydrogen is gonna be a better, more complete solution.


thanks for the post Lzen

Donger
04-26-2006, 10:49 AM
And your vehicle has to be capable of runín it. Most arenít, check your owners manual to see if yours is.

Please tell me that they have a special nozzle on the cars that can and can't accept it, just like diesel?

Radar Chief
04-26-2006, 10:50 AM
Yup, I have done some reading on it. I like the fact that we can actually use waste products to make it as well. Like I said, there are a lot of ways to create it.

Stacie David, former host of ďTrucksĒ, used equipment purchased from this company (http://freedomfuelamerica.com/) to make Bio-diesel from used restaurant veggie oil.
Itís not free, you do have to use some ethanol and lye, IIRC, but considerably cheaper than what youíd pay at the pump.

Radar Chief
04-26-2006, 10:50 AM
Please tell me that they have a special nozzle on the cars that can and can't accept it, just like diesel?

Not that I know of.

BigMeatballDave
04-26-2006, 10:54 AM
Right around what gasoline sells for. But, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. A gallon of E85 contains about 75% of the energy of a gallon of gasoline.That sucks. So, ethanol has absolutely no cost effectivness vs. gasoline? Awesome!

Radar Chief
04-26-2006, 10:57 AM
The difference in vehicles from E85 compatible to not, is the processing capability of the ignition / injection computer and wide band sensors.
The wide band sensors are necessary since E85 burns outside the parameters of standard ones and the computer has to be able to recognize the signal from these wide band sensors.
I believe itís something that could be retrofitted to make a vehicle compatible but I donít think anyoneís offering a kit just yet and when they do itíll probably be on the expensive side.

BigMeatballDave
04-26-2006, 10:59 AM
I just finished reading it. Thanks for posting it. I agree with their conclusion, as well. We need to pick hydrogen fuel cells and begin the switch-over planning NOW.Yup. Clearly, ethanol is NOT the answer.

Radar Chief
04-26-2006, 10:59 AM
That sucks. So, ethanol has absolutely no cost effectivness vs. gasoline? Awesome!

With gas at itís current price, no. But if it gets much higher thatíll change.
Thatís why weíre ďaddictedĒ to oil, itís simpley the cheapest alternative at the time.

StcChief
04-26-2006, 12:07 PM
Checked out what is the cost to conversion existing Gas only to burn either.

$300-800 depending on how many cylinders your engine has.
this is for fuel injection harness/ injector polarity, coat engine inside.

Cochise
04-26-2006, 12:16 PM
As far as my vehicle goes, it will run ethanol, but why would I use a fuel that costs more and gives you less gas mileage? I'm trying to maximize my gas mileage here, not knock it down even more.

Donger
04-26-2006, 12:17 PM
As far as my vehicle goes, it will run ethanol, but why would I use a fuel that costs more and gives you less gas mileage? I'm trying to maximize my gas mileage here, not knock it down even more.

Two reasons: it's 'good' for the environment and it's domestically-produced.

Cochise
04-26-2006, 12:28 PM
Two reasons: it's 'good' for the environment and it's domestically-produced.

Why do I hate America?

Donger
04-26-2006, 12:29 PM
Why do I hate America?

ROFL

Mr. Laz
04-26-2006, 12:38 PM
As far as my vehicle goes, it will run ethanol, but why would I use a fuel that costs more and gives you less gas mileage? I'm trying to maximize my gas mileage here, not knock it down even more.

terrorist lover

bsp4444
04-26-2006, 01:33 PM
"If gasoline prices get too high and we look to other fuels--like hydrogen--you can expect that oil-producing nations will reduce our fuel costs. They want to continue to pump oil out, pump dollars in, and they could see the hydrogen economy as a threat."

This statment applies to the government and oil industry in our own country as well. Why did it take so long for Bush to make his move and stop putting oil in the strategic reserve? Because he was making money off of it. Why are the oil companies posting record profits, while we suffer at the pump? They have put roadblocks up to alternative fuels for ever. We are hostages of our own greedy bastard leaders as much as we are of OPEC.

Donger
04-26-2006, 01:35 PM
This statment applies to the government and oil industry in our own country as well. Why did it take so long for Bush to make his move and stop putting oil in the strategic reserve? Because he was making money off of it. Why are the oil companies posting record profits, while we suffer at the pump? They have put roadblocks up to alternative fuels for ever. We are hostages of our own greedy bastard leaders as much as we are of OPEC.

Oh goody, another one.

Lzen
04-26-2006, 01:38 PM
"If gasoline prices get too high and we look to other fuels--like hydrogen--you can expect that oil-producing nations will reduce our fuel costs. They want to continue to pump oil out, pump dollars in, and they could see the hydrogen economy as a threat."

This statment applies to the government and oil industry in our own country as well. Why did it take so long for Bush to make his move and stop putting oil in the strategic reserve? Because he was making money off of it. Why are the oil companies posting record profits, while we suffer at the pump? They have put roadblocks up to alternative fuels for ever. We are hostages of our own greedy bastard leaders as much as we are of OPEC.

Please don't turn this into a DC forum thread with your ignorant Bush bashing.

elvomito
04-26-2006, 02:03 PM
this has potential to help a bit
http://www.quasiturbine.com/

Cochise
04-26-2006, 02:11 PM
Please don't turn this into a DC forum thread with your ignorant Bush bashing.

BUT DOODZZZZ BUSH IS TEH STOKHOLDAR IN TEH OILSZ!!!!!!! OMGZORS!

bsp4444
04-26-2006, 02:33 PM
Please don't turn this into a DC forum thread with your ignorant Bush bashing.


You've got an oil man in the white house, record profits...you figure it out.

Donger
04-26-2006, 02:38 PM
You've got an oil man in the white house, record profits...you figure it out.

You're aware that the reason the oil companies are experiencing record profits is because of the high price of crude, right?

bsp4444
04-26-2006, 02:51 PM
I might be misunderstanding part of this. The high price of oil and the high price of gas relationship I see. But the profits should be smaller. If the price of grain goes up, a steak costs more, but the rancher does not get that much more (possibly less).

Donger
04-26-2006, 02:54 PM
I might be misunderstanding part of this. The high price of oil and the high price of gas relationship I see. But the profits should be smaller. If the price of grain goes up, a steak costs more, but the rancher does not get that much more (possibly less).

Crude is their primary source material. It has risen in price. But their production costs (refining) have remained the same = greater profit.

Baby Lee
04-26-2006, 02:57 PM
75%, 65%, whatever it takes.
I guess you COULD just feed a baby chili. ;)

AZORChiefFan
04-26-2006, 02:58 PM
Making Ethanol from corn.

Michael Pollan explains it better than I can. He talks mostly about how screwed the US is because of it's dependency on corn. And why making ethanol from corn isnt such a great idea. Pretty interesting listen.

Talk of the Nation (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5342514)

morphius
04-26-2006, 03:08 PM
Making Ethanol from corn.

Michael Pollan explains it better than I can. He talks mostly about how screwed the US is because of it's dependency on corn. And why making ethanol from corn isnt such a great idea. Pretty interesting listen.

Talk of the Nation (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5342514)
I would be damn happy if they got rid of corn syrup in everything.

Bob Dole
05-14-2006, 01:07 PM
FWIW, a former employee of Bob Dole's stopped by the office to chat this past Thursday and reported that he got 62mpg in his stock Volkswagen Jetta running biodiesel on his trip in from Ft. Worth. He's also in the process of adding a 20 gallon heated tank that he intends to fill with used cooking oil.

Pretty cool to get a firsthand account from someone who's actually using the stuff.

morphius
05-14-2006, 01:38 PM
FWIW, a former employee of Bob Dole's stopped by the office to chat this past Thursday and reported that he got 62mpg in his stock Volkswagen Jetta running biodiesel on his trip in from Ft. Worth. He's also in the process of adding a 20 gallon heated tank that he intends to fill with used cooking oil.

Pretty cool to get a firsthand account from someone who's actually using the stuff.
Yup, damn good gas millage on the stuff, but everytime I bring up biodiesel on one of these damn threads people just seem to ignore it. I guess the negative thoughts that people have on diesel are just too hard to get past.

stevieray
05-14-2006, 01:48 PM
by the time we convert, global warming will have killed off the farming industry.

;)

jspchief
05-14-2006, 02:13 PM
The vegetable oil thing is a great creative way for individuals to attack the problem. But it's certainly not any sort of large scale solution. If we used every drop of vegetable/cooking oil in the US, it would still only fulfill a fraction of this country's fuel needs.


Besides, as soon as it gets popular enough, restaraunts are going to start charging for it.

(not saying anyone was claiming it was the solution, just commenting on it)

morphius
05-14-2006, 02:16 PM
The vegetable oil thing is a great creative way for individuals to attack the problem. But it's certainly not any sort of large scale solution. If we used every drop of vegetable/cooking oil in the US, it would still only fulfill a fraction of this country's fuel needs.


Besides, as soon as it gets popular enough, restaraunts are going to start charging for it.

(not saying anyone was claiming it was the solution, just commenting on it)
Of course it is not viable for everyone, but really a company could take that, probably add it to other biodiesel and just add it to the formula, putting waste to a great use.

Valiant
05-14-2006, 02:19 PM
Outlook:

All of this technology is still very new and raw compared to gas technology that has had 60years and been repressed or bought out so new gains are not achieved..

If we spent the money on the technology we could get a E85 that would be cost-effective and get 65mpg.. But there is no money in it...

Tactical Funky
05-14-2006, 02:24 PM
We could grow hemp, much like they're doing up in Canada. Hemp provides much more ethanol per bushel than corn or wheat. Even if we don't have enough land to grow our own crops, we could always reach a trade agreement with Canada as they won't need nearly as much ethanol as we do.

Chieftain58
05-14-2006, 02:33 PM
Actually, the company I worked for Controlled Air Inc. out of Smith Center Kansas...did all the Grain handling equipment installation and equipment purchasing on the Garnett Kansas Ethanol plant.

People have to realize that the grain is used but is not destroyed. These Ethanol plants help the farmers very little. Most of the Farmers used to sell their Grain to Feed yards but now sell their grains to the Ethanol plants. After the Grain is used to create Ethanol the byproduct is dried back out in some cases and sold to the feed yards, but the wet mash that comes out is actually what cattle prefer to eat, so very little of is is dried out. Talk to a farmer and ask him if an Ethanol plant is making him money, 99% of them will say no!

As for having to build new infrastructure that is a misguided bunch of b.s. the Gas Stations have 3 pumps in place already, Regular, Super and Premium...with very little of the top 2 fuels even being bought. The Oil companies are ready to handle the E85 already but are milking the American public to their best abilities. Trust me they will just remove the Super Unleaded tank and add in E85 when Congress and the President get off the Oil company payrolls...

BigMeatballDave
05-14-2006, 03:21 PM
Anyone watch Mythbusters last week? They tested a Mercedes diesel with used cooking oil. It got slightly less milege. Engine seemed to run the same.
If i had a diesel, i'd be hitting up the local fastfoods used oils...

philfree
05-14-2006, 05:06 PM
It was on NiteLine or one of those shos just last week. Brazil has become fuel independant because and it's because they are making ethanol out of sugar cane. They drive flex cars that can burn gas, ethanol or a mixture of the two and each is available at every gas station. The main dude behind it says that the USA could do the same but instead of using sugar cane we could make the eth out of our native prarie grass. That would also allow us to restore alot of natural habitat to our lands. I figure the oild companyies are already buying up all the cheap land in say western KS so they can keep it from happening before they're ready or at all and also to keep there manopoly/oligopoly. If Brazil can do it we sure as hell can.

PhilFree:arrow:

Pitt Gorilla
05-14-2006, 10:45 PM
Outlook:

All of this technology is still very new and raw compared to gas technology that has had 60years and been repressed or bought out so new gains are not achieved..

If we spent the money on the technology we could get a E85 that would be cost-effective and get 65mpg.. But there is no money in it...
That has been my argument. Of course, I've also been a big fan of Biodiesel, but people don't seem to be too interested.

morphius
05-14-2006, 10:55 PM
That has been my argument. Of course, I've also been a big fan of Biodiesel, but people don't seem to be too interested.
It is weird about biodiesel isn't it? I don't know that we can get the same millage out of E85, because as the article states, Ethanol creates a lot less power. The main advantage to it is its octane level is higher, which means we can run higher compression ratio's, but then you are talking about having to use even higher quality parts in the cars to be able to handle that.

Chieftain58 - I don't think anyone really was looking to make the farmers any more money, as that would drive up the cost of Ethanol.

alanm
05-15-2006, 12:36 AM
FWIW, a former employee of Bob Dole's stopped by the office to chat this past Thursday and reported that he got 62mpg in his stock Volkswagen Jetta running biodiesel on his trip in from Ft. Worth. He's also in the process of adding a 20 gallon heated tank that he intends to fill with used cooking oil.

Pretty cool to get a firsthand account from someone who's actually using the stuff.
Where in the hell would you put a additional 20 gal heated tank in a VW Jetta? Unless you don't intend to have much of a back seat or trunk space. :hmmm:

alanm
05-15-2006, 12:39 AM
Anyone watch Mythbusters last week? They tested a Mercedes diesel with used cooking oil. It got slightly less milege. Engine seemed to run the same.
If i had a diesel, i'd be hitting up the local fastfoods used oils...
And all they used was a coffee filter. :)

J Diddy
05-15-2006, 02:56 AM
We could grow hemp, much like they're doing up in Canada. Hemp provides much more ethanol per bushel than corn or wheat. Even if we don't have enough land to grow our own crops, we could always reach a trade agreement with Canada as they won't need nearly as much ethanol as we do.

I always thought that one of the big points of this is to get off foreign dependence for our energy.

Radar Chief
05-18-2006, 02:07 PM
Amazing, yet so simple.

First hybrid motorcycle. (http://www.rvi.net/~mdhorban/hybridmotorcycle.htm)