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Author Topic: Ethanol.  (Read 3283 times)
johns4104s
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« on: April 11, 2010, 01:51:12 PM »

I understand we now have problems with the corrosive factors of Ethanol, If you have a gas generator and your Tank is Fiberglass you have potentially big problems.It has been discovered that a lot of Boats with Fiberglass tanks are leaking and will have to be replaced with Stainless.
These people (all of them) making these rules are a joke.
They are having food taken out of the food chain to make Ethanol, that is destroying the fuel holding tanks? I,ll bet its not just fiberglass, the tankers that carry Ethanol have both glass lined/or made from Heavy grade stainless steel.

John
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kyle4501
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 08:30:25 PM »

Ethanol in gas in the USA is simply the result of a strong lobbying campaign & much $$$ under the table.

It works in Brazil for the same reasons it doesn't work here - sugar cane is plentiful & generates a higher yield per dollar input while gasoline is in short supply. HERE in the USA, gasoline is plentiful & it takes more energy to create ethanol from corn than you'll get back from burning it in a car . . . .  Sad


Once a law is passed, it is hell getting it repealed. Look how long we had to put up with the silly 55 mph speed limit on limited access, multi lane, divided highways!
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 08:40:39 PM »

A major reason for use of ethanol is as an oxygenate to reduce emssions.  They used to use MTBE for this, but it pollutes ground water.
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 05:43:47 AM »

Also the corn used for ethanol is not grown for human consumption. It is mainly grown for livestock feed. Once the corn goes through it's stage for the manufacturing of alcohol it is fed to livestock as it was first intended to do. The benefit is it is more palitable and effecient as a feed product. A win/win situation. There are 2 sides to every story.
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 06:18:52 AM »

The side I still don't like is the 5 to 10+ % reduction in fuel mileage.  Sad

I check EVERY tank & it is repeatable. In normal, everyday driving of my '99 C-280, it is easy to get 26 to 27mpg with straight gas. With the 10% ethanol blend, I am lucky to get close to 24 mpg - usually closer to 23.  Sad Sad
Similar results for everything else I own.

Reduced emissions at a cost of reduced efficiency which results in more fuel being used - - - still "no free lunch".  Huh


It isn't the ethanol I dislike - but the BS in the marketing & hype. I remember the false promises made in the 70's concerning how great it was going to be, so laws were passed, $$ changed hands & the promises for better fuel prices (due to independence from foreign oil suppliers) all but forgotten.  Shocked

Seems they are still trying to justify forcing it on us while ignoring the problems it brings. Nothing about the fuels we use is simple. Sometimes it is more obvious, like the differences between diesel & gasoline.
The differences between diesel & WVO are subtle.
The differences between gasoline & propane are more subtle still.
The differences between diesel & biodiesel is even smaller.
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2010, 11:01:07 AM »

I'll agree with you on the poorer fuel mileage Kyle. There are pros and cons to any scenario. Both sides of the story have some rediculous claims. I've heard the claims of it affecting the food chain, which it does not, and also how many gallons of water it takes to produce a gallon of ethanol (it's called rain  Grin). A drawback of ethenol is transportation as it can't be pumped through pipelines and has to be hauled in tankers because it is caustic. We've had local farmers toying with alcohol injected well motors, (generally 460 Fords, 454 and 496 Chevies, etc) intead of the common natural gas fueled engines. They were way to expensive to run because of the high rate per hour of 85% alcohol even at it's lower cost.
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2010, 03:53:19 PM »

The side I still don't like is the 5 to 10+ % reduction in fuel mileage.  Sad

I find it hard to believe that 10% ethanol would result in 10% reduction in fuel economy.  That would basically mean zero energy from the ethanol, or the ethanol is seriously affecting the engine systems so they run less efficient.
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2010, 04:07:54 PM »

If ethanol is a good deal for ANYONE why does it need to be subsidized???  The only people that benefit are the ones who get the subsidy --- lets simplify the process and just give them the money and forget about the production!!!! Seems like that would be more straight forward.

I understand that for oxygenated fuels it is better for producing less pollution and keeping the condensation out of the fuel tanks but let's do it with out paying extra from the government.

Melbo
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2010, 05:58:31 PM »

The side I still don't like is the 5 to 10+ % reduction in fuel mileage.  Sad

I find it hard to believe that 10% ethanol would result in 10% reduction in fuel economy.  That would basically mean zero energy from the ethanol, or the ethanol is seriously affecting the engine systems so they run less efficient.
Yep, that is my point - there is much more on the negative side of ethanol than the proponents want you to know about.

(Since I'm the one paying for the gasoline in my gas tank, I really don't give a $#!% who believes what about my experiences with ethanol.  Shocked )

I was thrilled about the possibilities when 'they' were hyping it up in the late 70's. I had a car that would really benefit from all those promises. However, as usual, the devil was in the details.
Ethanol has half the heat content of 'normal' gasoline, so I would expect no more than 5% drop in fuel mileage. However, with the complexities & requirements of the chemistry formulations in today's gasolines, who knows what is going on anymore.
I don't know why the mileage drops that much. I do know for a fact that, in my case, it does. Maybe the base gasoline they add ethanol to is of lower quality? ? ?

I used to use gasoline to wash the grease out of wheel bearings. The last time I did that, the gasoline hardly made any difference to the grease.  Sad

If there was any real substance to the claims made concerning the greatness of ethanol, then, like Melbo says, why are subsidies still needed?
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2010, 06:31:50 PM »

Subsidies are needed to insure that the product is available and to insulate it from the constant price fluctuations that the  price of a barrell of oil costs. Big oil ran a great campaign blaming the rise in the cost of food to ethanol production. Corn prices have plummeted over the years but yet the price of food has not. Hmmm.... There is something like 4 cents worth of grain (wheat) in a loaf of bread. All agricultural commodities basically have subsidies. Complain all you want about subsidies but without them you may pay $2 for a loaf of bread one week and then $5 the next and then the next you can't even buy one. The government does that to insure that there are not any huge shortages. Subsidies stablize the market. Ethanol is a commodity. The government subsidizes it to insure it's availability and to try and maintain it's price. I agree that it is not the ultimate cure all product and has it's faults but it does have it's good points also. It is a renewable energy souce, cleaner burning, and last but not least..... made in the USA. Think about that.
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2010, 07:06:06 PM »

one of the things to remember about ethanol is that it is not regulated. gasoline quality is regulated and checked, after that the ethanol is added. there are currently no controls on ethanol quatlity. quantity blended in is also pretty poorly controled. in the north if you buy E85 it is on 85% ethanol during the summer, during the winter it is often down to around 50 or 60% so the car starts in the cold. as for the reduction in mpg 10% is not unheard of as the reduction in btu and the mix causes alot of issues with controls of the engine. everyone I know that owns a flex fuel vehicle gave up on running anything but gasoline and they search for none blended fuels because of the mpg issue and the huge fuel system failures.
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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2010, 07:16:12 PM »

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/ethanol.shtml
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johns4104s
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2010, 07:22:56 PM »

When I worked in Brazil all there cars ran on 100% Ethanol, They did not have oil and could not afford to import any. Boy did they bang back fire, splutter and had all sorts of problems.

John
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Ray D
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2010, 07:39:28 PM »

Chopper,
The ethanol is not completely made the the USA, not just yet, the bacteria  that is needed comes from overseas.  But to solve that problem, a new facility to make the bacteria is being built at the Blair ethanol plant.  Then they can say, all made in the USA, does it count if people come over here to make stuff, what's the difference.  Ethanol reduces the efficiency of almost all autos 1% for each 1% added, got that straight from the plant in Blair.  As far as being feed after processing, isn't it considered to be a supplement, I think we would have some skinny sick cows if it were used as feed.  I know it helps sell the corn, I am a Nebraskan, but it is not the answer at all to our oil problems, it just takes too much corn, too expensive to process, is inefficient and is not leading us in the right direction at all.

Ray D
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2010, 08:03:32 PM »

I never stated that it was the answer to all our problems Ray and also stated it has it's drawbacks. I also stated that it reduced the mpg compared to straight gasoline. I'm just discussing it. I do take issue with it's production competing with our food stocks and such however. Just another twisting of the story Ray, is what you stated,the byproduct of the corn/alcohol process is a supplement. Yes it is. I stated that it was fed to livestock. At no point was it ever stated that the "distillers" was the only thing fed to livestock. It is blended with many ag products such as hay, ensilage, ground corn and other products. Skinny cows would abound with any single ingredient. What some seem to miss out on is the fact that the corn in and the corn out is a wash if not an improvment to it's intended useage and that is as a livestock feed. When they start to make ethanol out of lettuce, carrots, rice and such then it will be competing with the food chain.
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2010, 08:30:43 PM »

Scott

Not to get sideways with you but when they use the whole corn plant (stalk included) so the ethanol is made from the cellulose then maybe we can talk until then it has to be supported by everyone with tax dollars and that is not efficient.  Just like I would like to see the diesel produced from the algae -- until it can be done without government money it doesn't count.

Melbo
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« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2010, 08:32:07 PM »

If every 1% of ethanol added results in 1% less efficiency then doesn't that mean ethanol has no energy value?

How does E85 work then?  It certainly doesn't have only 15% of the MPG of gasoline.  It reduces MPG in my parent's vehicle by 20% or so.  Much of the time E85 doesn't make sense financially especially when oil and gasoline prices are low.  My parents were running it all the time when gasoline prices skyrocketed in 2008.

I'm not sure ethanol makes sense for a variety of reasons, but I think some of the claims are pretty far out there.  I've never run my car on any gasoline except 10% ethanol added gasoline and it gets pretty close to the EPA numbers.  I have no idea what it would deal on 100% gasoline.
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« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2010, 08:52:11 PM »

We have to stop believing what we are told and think about the statement or claim. It's easy to be tricked.

Let me go back to about the 4th reply (Also the corn used for ethanol is not grown for human consumption. It is mainly grown for livestock feed.) I just can't stop thinking, do we know what livestock are grow for? Pets?? Pets for aliens from Mars? Meat eating monkeys? Meat eating cows?Huh  I think livestock are raised for human consumption like the Outback Special, medium well with a baked potato and big Foster's or a glass of milk (which comes from livestock). Maybe I'm missing something, whatever it is would somebody please explain/sell it to me like a politician would.

Ken
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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2010, 08:58:52 PM »

Very good Ken. Wink
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« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2010, 05:44:26 AM »

Thanks Ken, I thought I was possibly the only one that used My head for something besides a hatrack!  Try using the alcohol infested crap in an airplane.  Does vapor lock mean anything anymore.  I have to repair all of My chainsaws, weed trimmers and antique tractor carbs every summer because of alcohol!  I have a friend that owns a outdoor products shop and His opinion is that the only reason He has been able to remain in business is thanks to the idiots in the Gov mandating alcohol in crapoholgas.  The local power company buys the gas They use in all of their small engines in Alabama here because there are still stations that sell gas with no alcohol.  The power company simply reduced the cost of repairs on the equipment They use daily.  Again thanks Ken You are right but as You know probably not on the green list for Christmas presents.  Regards john L
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kyle4501
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« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2010, 05:53:13 AM »

Ken, well said.

If every 1% of ethanol added results in 1% less efficiency then doesn't that mean ethanol has no energy value?
Basically, after you consider the real total cost - not just the observed short term cost to your pocket, yes. That is how subsidies (from your taxes) skew the picture. And how marketing & political posturing generate perceptions that don't align with reality.

I'm all for short term gov't assistance to offset the cost of new technology so the masses can benefit - but if the technology won't stand on it's own after a few years, maybe we should all spend a little time thinking about who really benefits from the subsidy - I'll give you a hint - it ain't the tax payer!

If you look at the total energy input required to make ethanol from corn versus the energy released when ethanol is burned - you will see just how little 'value' there is in ethanol.
Sugar cane yields much more ethanol for a given energy input. That, combined with the availability of sugar cane, is why it works better in Brazil. However, if gasoline was readily available, they'd use it first.

As for E85, maybe what they're selling here is different, but everyone that I know who has kept good records can show the cost per mile is significantly higher on E85 than on pump gas. If E85 was cheaper so that cost per mile was equal, you would still have to stop more often for fuel - Who wants to do that?

Do you think the change to digital TV was for the benefit of the viewers? The equipment costs more. It had more to do with making more of the airwave spectrum available to rent (think cell phones)

As for subsidies being a good thing - maybe not.
The gov't $49 coupon for a DTV converter box only increased the cost of them by $49 - Come on, if they can make a DVD player (with moving parts!) for less than $49, then surely, it shouldn't cost more than that for a little black box.
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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2010, 06:24:16 AM »

Every time the gov steps in the poor people have to pay.

John
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« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2010, 06:26:25 AM »

We can still get non-ethanol gas here at some stations for off road use only.  There is nothing stopping anyone from pumping the non-ethanol gas into a car other than the sticker that says off road use only.  I doubt the station cares who buys the gas.

I started buying the non-ethanol gas for my small engines last year just to be safe.  A local Boy Scout camp buys non-ethanol fuel for their small engines and in 2008 they paid over $6 a gallon for it!  (To be fair, that was delivered price in bulk, but they have 100s of gallons delivered at a time when regular gasoline and diesel are factored in.)
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« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2010, 10:04:04 AM »

 Fuel taxes are per gallon and Ethanol reduces mileage so we burn more gallons= more taxes.  Hmmm   Jack
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« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2010, 07:01:06 PM »

Didn't mean anything personal "Chopper", sorry if it came out that way, you're post was good and I was just trying give my thoughts on what I know about the issue, wasn't trying to pick you're post apart.

Ray D
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BobBoyce
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« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2010, 02:15:06 AM »

I do alternative energy research, many times in cooperation with labs funded, certified, or operated by the US DoE, DoD, CARB, and EPA.

In 2008, I performed a 6,002 mile over the road study on various grades of pump gasolines available across the USA - using a 2003 Toyota Prius. What I found is that at the various normal freeway speeds, the common 10% ethanol blended regular unleaded yielded 35 - 37 MPG, while under the same driving conditions, non-blended regular unleaded yielded 42-45 MPG. Of course, the results of this study were not the sort of results that anyone pushing for ethanol blending legislation would want to hear.

Both of the government funded Toyota Prius used in this - and other fuel economy studies, were proven to be affected more by the addition of ethanol in the blended fuels, than other automobiles that were tested. This has a lot to do with the balance of power in the hybrid drive system being affected more by the lowered BTU of the fuel. In the Prius, the primary drive system is electric, supplied via a 33KW MG2(MG = Motor/Generator). With less BTUs of fuel energy available - less horsepower is developed by the engine - to supply torque to the Power Split Device. This means that fewer kilowatts of electrical energy are available from the nominal 18KW MG1, to supply electrical energy to meet the demands of the nominal 33KW MG2 - to drive the front axle.

On a personal note... I travel a lot due to my research, and when I travel in my Prius, I will shop around more to look for unblended fuel. The price at the pump may be a little higher sometimes, but the bottom lines that matter to me - fuel economy and range per tank, are much better. Not to mention, the damage that ethanol blended fuels can cause to fuel system components in vehicles that were not designed for even small percentages of ethanol.

Please Note: All of the above are my personal observations based upon the results of fuel studies I have performed over the past several years. I do not speak for the government agencies mentioned, as they have their own methods of selecting and publishing the data that they have collected.

Bob
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« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2010, 04:41:13 AM »

Bob,

Do you still have your Prius? How many miles does it have on it?

John
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BobBoyce
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« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2010, 06:06:03 AM »

Yes I do John. That particular Prius now has over 182K of mostly highway miles on it, and still has the original (nominal 273.6V) traction battery in it. The lower capacity traction battery in the newer (2004+) Prius gets overworked by the step-up inverter used (nominal 201.6V battery to 500V MG2), so they are prone to more frequent failure. It was this battery issue that encouraged me to request that they locate and purchase several 2003 Prius for that initial project. I also had them locate and purchase some tested-good low-mileage traction battery spares from auto salvage yards. Those have not yet been needed, but they are planned to be used in the next generation of electric-only drive testing on the other Prius.

Bob
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« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2010, 06:28:35 AM »

One of my toys is a 1978 Revcon coach, it's a front wheel drive gasser with the olds 403 in it, many of the things about it were transitional, it originally had bia ply tires but the Budd rims accepted radial tires without complaints, because of the classification many of the pollution controls that the government were playing with didn't apply so leaded gas or unleaded gas seemed to work as well as any other, my concern is that the pumps up here seem to have stickers that say, "may contain 10% ethonal or more", of course none of the station attendants know if it does or not, trying to find a non ethonal station is very hard to do, practically impossible in this area.  The massive 403 engine is carborated and a power house, it will actually spin the tires but I sometimes wonder about the effects of ethenal on something like that.
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« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2010, 07:52:04 AM »

Ethanol is more reactive so it attacks rubber (among other things). Ethanol was being used in the late 70's & Oldsmobile may have used better rubber in the fuel system parts with ethanol in mind.

I've often wondered if one of the justifications used to make 10% ethanol a requirement was to increase the attrition rate of cars to get the old ones off the road sooner. . . .
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