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Posted: 4/14/2006 4:22:15 AM EST
I saw on an O'Reilly show that by 2010 Brazil is expected to be energy independant as far as producing auto fuel as in the 70's they directed that all cars had to be able to run on ethanol, made from sugar, which BTW, is Brazils largest crop.

What are the advantages/disadvantages to using ethanlo or methanol in place of dino-gas? IIRC, ethanol produces less BTUs for a given volume so it makes less power/milage compared to gas but at least is renewable....

S.O.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 4:33:34 AM EST
Don't know about the BTUs of ethanol/methanol but Brazil is on the right track with using sugarcane. I believe that sugarcane would produce more ethanol fuel that corn because of the high sugar content of the cane juice. The stalk would produce a bit more methanol that corn also because most of the hybrid cane farmed today is about 9+ feet tall. The stalks could be used to fuel boilers for distilling also.

You can make methanol out of almost any organic plant material. It takes sugar or starches for ethanol.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 4:39:53 AM EST
I am interested in trying to build a still. Found this link...

http://running_on_alcohol.tripod.com/

S.O.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 4:47:27 AM EST

Originally Posted By SorryOciffer:
I am interested in trying to build a still. Found this link...

running_on_alcohol.tripod.com/

S.O.



No, you are not. Trust me on this subject. IM inbound.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:06:33 AM EST
Ethenol, iirc, has a higher octane raiting than most pump gasoline. Alcohol burns really slow, but does give off a lot of energy (when compressed). It was really easy to convert older, carberated motors to alcohol and, if tuned right, make more horse power than if they ran regular gas. I think I read somewhere that one of the problems with burning alcohol is the heat, or actually the lack thereof. They don't get hot enough to burn off the condensation that builds up in the oil pan and passages. Newer motors, with their really low compression ratio (so they can run the cheaper fuels) won't fall out of a tree on alcohol. I don't know any facts, but I suspect Big Oil and our oiler, er.. I mean president has had their feet on the heads of the alcohol developers. When the president and vice president are both heads (directly or indirectly) of oil companies on the side, we shouldn't expect much to go on in the area of alternative fuels.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:23:51 AM EST
Indy cars make about 700+ hp on methanol, but they use high compression and high RPM ~10,000, but no turbo. The reason that the cars use it is that it is less explosive and therefore reduces fires after wrecks. since it is less explosive it takes higher compression to run properly (12:1 or 16:1 i think) Toyota, ford, chevy, mazda, nissan and honda have all made engines for the two series. the main issue will be refining and refitting the cars on the road. It will take more fuel to produce the same amount of power IIRC Methanol has 66% to 75% of the BTUs of gasoline. Methanol is cleaner burning and has a very nice "bark" when combusted and run through an Indycar exhaust.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:27:48 AM EST
Methanol is very corrosive to certain metals that are in fuel system plumbing designed for gasoline. Sprints, midgets, indy cars, and lots of drag cars run methanol. You can't leave it in the system for very long without running the motor. For a street car this would be less of a problem unless you let the car sit a few months.

I think the norm with race cars is to drain out the methanol and put in some gasoline and run the motor to get gas all through the fuel system then the car can sit for awhile with no issues.

rj
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:31:25 AM EST
It also gets 1/4 the mileage (You use 4 times as much/mile).
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:02:01 AM EST

Originally Posted By Nozzleman:
It also gets 1/4 the mileage (You use 4 times as much/mile).



Gasoline:
1 Gal Gasoline (mid grade) = 125,000 Btu's

Ethanol:
1 Gal Ethanol = 76,000 Btu's

Fuel Oil:
1 Gal of #2 Fuel Oil = 139,000 Btu's
1 Gal of #4 Fuel Oil = 145,000 Btu's
1 Gal of #6 Fuel Oil = 150,000 Btu's



Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:05:14 AM EST
I read that the milage differance was in the order of 10-15% if used in cars that were certified as "Flex Fuel" cars.
S.O.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:09:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By SorryOciffer:
I read that the milage differance was in the order of 10-15% if used in cars that were certified as "Flex Fuel" cars.
S.O.




22% for flex fuel, he was talking pure alky!
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:15:16 AM EST
Does anyone know if there is a measurable difference between ethenol and methenol when it comes to fuel economy?

On a side note, I think bio-diesel will take off. It's made using alcohol to some extent (don't know the stats there), but makes more energy and is totally renuable.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:59:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/14/2006 7:02:43 AM EST by SorryOciffer]
Ahhhhh biodiesel.....something I know a little about. Denatured alky is used to titrate (determine how much methanol to use in the mix) Methanol is used to start the chemical reaction between the lye and oil. If you use a condenser you can trap and recover/reuse the methanol. The methanol needs to be 99.5% or better. It has a higher cetane rating (diesel equivilent of octane) has more lubricity and doesn't create the carbon and sulphur deposits.

It is not uncommon for homemade B100 to exceed standards of dino diesel if made carefully with a quality set-up. Many owners report smoother running engines, better milage, more time between overhauls and more power as the increased cetane allows more turbo boost.

S.O.


Originally Posted By lildavid67:
Does anyone know if there is a measurable difference between ethenol and methenol when it comes to fuel economy?

On a side note, I think bio-diesel will take off. It's made using alcohol to some extent (don't know the stats there), but makes more energy and is totally renuable.

Link Posted: 4/14/2006 7:08:38 AM EST

Originally Posted By SorryOciffer:
Ahhhhh biodiesel.....something I know a little about. Denatured alky is used to titrate (determine how much methanol to use in the mix) Methanol is used to start the chemical reaction between the lye and oil. If you use a condenser you can trap and recover/reuse the methanol. The methanol needs to be 99.5% or better. It has a higher cetane rating (diesel equivilent of octane) has more lubricity and doesn't create the carbon and sulphur deposits.

It is not uncommon for homemade B100 to exceed standards of dino diesel if made carefully with a quality set-up. Many owners report smoother running engines, better milage, more time between overhauls and more power as the increased cetane allows more turbo boost.

S.O.


Originally Posted By lildavid67:
Does anyone know if there is a measurable difference between ethenol and methenol when it comes to fuel economy?

On a side note, I think bio-diesel will take off. It's made using alcohol to some extent (don't know the stats there), but makes more energy and is totally renuable.




Yeah, and to get rid of all that glycerene that's left over from the process you just mix it with some nitric acid and shoot at it!

SorryOcifferPangeaSorryOciffer
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 7:33:58 AM EST
They need to make cars that run off vodka.

That way I can take a swig or two at the gas station!
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 7:51:13 AM EST
Questions to answer:

1. How much gas/fuel does Brazil ues per year compaired to the US?
2. What is the price of Brazilian fuel per gallon?
3. What gas mileage does the Brazillian automobile get?
4. How much would sugar gas cost in the USA if we adopted the same?
5. What environmental issues would sugar gas create? Here in FL, our sugar industry has created HUGE environmental problems. What would a nation wide sugar industry create?

If we answer these questions, I would bet that the equivalent cost per gallon would far exceed that of gasoline. Also, I belive we would have an environmental disaster.

It would be nice to not have to deal with Venulenza or the Middle East though.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 7:56:34 AM EST
All of this bio-fuel stuff is well and good, but you will have to convert thousands of acres in America to growing sugarcane, corn or this switch grass inorder to have enough fuel. What happens if there is a widespread drought, massive flooding or a cold snap? Oh I guess no fuel for us. It is much more reliable and safer on the environment to pump the shit out of the ground.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 7:56:49 AM EST
tag
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 8:10:09 AM EST
[Homer]One for you . . . *fuels car* one for me! *glug glug* One for you . . . *fuels car* One for me! *glug glug*[/Homer]
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 8:11:06 AM EST
My expierience with ethanol relates to race cars. The dirt track where a friend of mine races has a class of cars that are allowed to use E85 as fuel. Basicly the rule states that the fuel may not be more than 85% ethanol. The guy pitting next to us showed us his dyno sheet one night, and basicly he had made pulls from 15% to 85% in about 10% increments. They low percentage fuel made about 325 hp. The E85 fuel made about 365hp on a 305 chevy. They said they had increased 4 jet sizes from the first pull to the last to get proper fuel mixture. The way I understand it is ethanol burns cooler and puts out less energy per measured volume. In order to get a perfect air/fuel mixture requires enough of a larger volume of ethonal to overcome this energy difference. Hopefully that makes sence. Of course, I don't know how much of that information would be useful to a street car.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 8:24:45 AM EST

Originally Posted By SorryOciffer:
Ahhhhh biodiesel.....something I know a little about. Denatured alky is used to titrate (determine how much methanol to use in the mix) Methanol is used to start the chemical reaction between the lye and oil. ...


Not quite correct. The sodium hydroxide is the catalyst. What happens is the three fatty acid chains are cleaved from the glycerol backbone, replaced by three methanols. You see, glycerol is a triol, a triple alcohol meaning it has three hydroxyls. Methanol is the simplest single alcpohol, having only one hydroxyl.

All vegetable and animal oils are triple fatty acids made from the esterification of three fatty acid chains onto one glycerol. It it this glycerol that makes these fats high in viscosity, transesterification with three equivalents of methanol reduces the viscosity by breaking these large molecules into three smaller parts.

BTW, you titrate with sodium hydroxide to bring pH to a certain level, then add a measured amount to act as the catalyst. The reaction is a phase-driven reaction with the glycerol settling out as an alcohol phase. Batch processing is well within the ability of the home refiner.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 9:15:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
All of this bio-fuel stuff is well and good, but you will have to convert thousands of acres in America to growing sugarcane, corn or this switch grass inorder to have enough fuel. What happens if there is a widespread drought, massive flooding or a cold snap? Oh I guess no fuel for us. It is much more reliable and safer on the environment to pump the shit out of the ground.



Last I knew, we had MILLIONS of acres. How many acres of farmland is sitting unused? Farmers that would love to have a cash crop can grow corn, sugar, soy, canola, all of which can be used for biodiesel or ethanol. Everyone laments the fall of the pvt farmer but give him a crop to grow for fuel and people say, ahhhhh....why bother.

I am not saying we could power our whole auto population with it but if we cut back 50% of our imports you bet your ass OPEC would take notice. Anything that creates US jobs and scews an enemy is good in my book! What happens if in a war our access to imported oil is cut off or attacked.

S.O.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 9:19:15 AM EST
You are correct. I was in tto much of a hurry to go and drop kids off at the pool to notice what I wrote.
S.O.


Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By SorryOciffer:
Ahhhhh biodiesel.....something I know a little about. Denatured alky is used to titrate (determine how much methanol to use in the mix) Methanol is used to start the chemical reaction between the lye and oil. ...


Not quite correct. The sodium hydroxide is the catalyst. What happens is the three fatty acid chains are cleaved from the glycerol backbone, replaced by three methanols. You see, glycerol is a triol, a triple alcohol meaning it has three hydroxyls. Methanol is the simplest single alcpohol, having only one hydroxyl.

All vegetable and animal oils are triple fatty acids made from the esterification of three fatty acid chains onto one glycerol. It it this glycerol that makes these fats high in viscosity, transesterification with three equivalents of methanol reduces the viscosity by breaking these large molecules into three smaller parts.

BTW, you titrate with sodium hydroxide to bring pH to a certain level, then add a measured amount to act as the catalyst. The reaction is a phase-driven reaction with the glycerol settling out as an alcohol phase. Batch processing is well within the ability of the home refiner.

Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:35:30 AM EST

Originally Posted By SorryOciffer:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
All of this bio-fuel stuff is well and good, but you will have to convert thousands of acres in America to growing sugarcane, corn or this switch grass inorder to have enough fuel. What happens if there is a widespread drought, massive flooding or a cold snap? Oh I guess no fuel for us. It is much more reliable and safer on the environment to pump the shit out of the ground.



Last I knew, we had MILLIONS of acres. How many acres of farmland is sitting unused? Farmers that would love to have a cash crop can grow corn, sugar, soy, canola, all of which can be used for biodiesel or ethanol. Everyone laments the fall of the pvt farmer but give him a crop to grow for fuel and people say, ahhhhh....why bother.

I am not saying we could power our whole auto population with it but if we cut back 50% of our imports you bet your ass OPEC would take notice. Anything that creates US jobs and scews an enemy is good in my book! What happens if in a war our access to imported oil is cut off or attacked.

S.O.



Growing sugar is an environmental nightmare.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:43:32 AM EST
It makes sense for Brazil. They have plenty of sugar cane. It wouldn't help us much.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:49:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By SorryOciffer:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
All of this bio-fuel stuff is well and good, but you will have to convert thousands of acres in America to growing sugarcane, corn or this switch grass inorder to have enough fuel. What happens if there is a widespread drought, massive flooding or a cold snap? Oh I guess no fuel for us. It is much more reliable and safer on the environment to pump the shit out of the ground.



Last I knew, we had MILLIONS of acres. How many acres of farmland is sitting unused? Farmers that would love to have a cash crop can grow corn, sugar, soy, canola, all of which can be used for biodiesel or ethanol. Everyone laments the fall of the pvt farmer but give him a crop to grow for fuel and people say, ahhhhh....why bother.

I am not saying we could power our whole auto population with it but if we cut back 50% of our imports you bet your ass OPEC would take notice. Anything that creates US jobs and scews an enemy is good in my book! What happens if in a war our access to imported oil is cut off or attacked.

S.O.



We couldn't do it on sugar cane. Not enough areas wet enough save the Everglades. And those are protected.

If we look at producing biodiesel, each acre will make about 2 barrels per year if you plant soybeans. That would mean to produce 50% of our annual imports, we would need to farm and additional 3 million square miles in soybeans. Let me remind you the United States is only 3000 miles wide and about 1000 miles wide. We cannot do it on soybeans even if every available square foot were planted. Shooting for 10% of out imports would still make a serious impact on land use., given the fact there is about 1/1000 of that available in dormant cropland.

Algae is out of the question given the water required, even if you use sea water. Evaporation would require massive exchanges of water and disposal of waste brine would kill the project in pumping losses. You have to farm at a higher elevation, pumping the water up and allowing gravity to take the waste brine to the sea. There isn't too much land below sea level...then we have that same area problem. Imagine if 10% of our land area were converted to algae lakes. The average evaporation loss rate is about an inch per day. That means to replace that water alone would need 700 BILLION cubic feet of sea water PER DAY. Then you need to up that to offest salinity increases so the situation is magnified by 10. 7 trillion cubic feet per day. That is a LOT of water.

Of course this discounts the environmental effects of all that evaporation and land loss.
Link Posted: 4/15/2006 8:41:11 AM EST
Well, according to this months Popular Mechanics magazine, that has an article on alternative fuels, we have about 938 million acres of farm land and that an acre of corn can produce about 300 gal of ethanol per growing season. To replace the approx 200 billion gal of gas/diesel we use per year we would have to use approx 71% of already available farm land just to grow fuel. If we aim to replace just 50% of our fuel we would use about 35% of our available farm land. If accurate, it should be done. Hell, we can even add more farm land if need be.

S.O.
Link Posted: 4/15/2006 12:56:36 PM EST
Yes, Methanol contains less BTU's per gallon, but the engine burns more.

Gasoline burns at a Air-Fuel ratio of 12:1, that is, 12 parts, by weight of air to one part of gasoline.

Ethanol ("grain alcohol") burns at 9:1.

Methanol ("wood alchohol") burns at 6:1. FYI- most methanol these days is made by a catalytic process from natural gas.

So, the Methanol burning engine will take 2x as much fuel, so half the milage.

"Gasohol" is only a small percentage of ethanol, so that could be run without resetting the throttle body/computer, rejetting the caruretor, injectors, etc.

But to go to straight ethanol or methanol will take a lot more mods, especiall with today's computer controlled engines... oxygen sensors, temperature, the works. It would all have to be worked out and calibrated for the new fuel. If you just dumped in ethanol or methanol in the tank the engine would not well, or at all. It would be far too lean.

Now, Nitromethane... this is neat stuff. It burns at 1.5:1. You really pour that into your "fuel" dragster. If you get the compression ratio on the high side it will even run without air... as a "monopropellant". Which is what gunpowder and explosives do, supplying their own oxygen.

But back to alky... the real benefit of alky is that it increases the oxygen content of the gasoline-ethanol mix and helps engines produce less pollutants. Or so they say.

What it mainly does is give corn farmers a subsidy.
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