why ethanol sucks

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by beavis, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. beavis

    beavis Well-Known Member

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    This has been a fun little escapade into a lot of political hacking and twisting. Politics is way too involved in it and obviously it touches our political nerves. And when politicians get involved, everything gets twisted. All the information I find positive seems to be from the corn or ethanol papers and the independent stuff I find doesn’t agree on anything the ethanol people have to say and there seem to be a lot of them. The main problem I have with this stuff now is that it is being crammed down our throats under political motivations rather than developed by the free market in due time. This was backed by 54 ethanol manufacturers and Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol lobbying organization, while being opposed by environmentalists, food companies, small engine makers, oil companies and more. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2010-10-13-ethanol-standard_N.htm Brazil did it the right way but it still took them decades. But let us also just use a little common sense. Everyone knows it is not a good thing to use on a boat since it has an affinity for water. So it should not be used, the same way you do not use carbon steel on a boat.

    Ok, let’s backtrack just a little so I can try and see things how you are seeing them from your statements. You defined the EU as “huge”. Land area is not, population it is. Which one are you referring to? And just because other countries are using something doesn’t mean they are correct. Your broad statements about us finally coming around to use it, I can’t figure out your generality since there are roughly 200 countries in the world and we are in the top 10% of using it.

    And swamp skiff, I can’t confirm the taxis were or were not biodiesel. Considering use over there is about 3% of the vehicles on the road and this was a few years ago, I will lean towards probably not. And there is nothing wrong with financial gain. We are not a communist or socialist society yet. Financial gain is why we are the greatest country in the world and why everyone in the world wants to come here.

    A few years ago, I read a very interesting article about the car industries between Europe and the US. It was talking about the way forward for cars on each continent. Europe had chosen to go with the light high speed diesel engines. I ran one of these on the highway in Spain for a long weekend and the thing was a blast. 6 speed BMW C120. The article continued about the US was deciding to move forward with the hybrid/alternative fuel. I want to say that was about 5 years ago when I read the article. Looking at it now, Europe is still plugging away with little diesels all over the road and mixing with biodiesel which has really never been controversial. At least that I have ever read about. We, on the other hand, haven’t really achieved anything yet in comparison by my opinion. We have a few hybrids and screwing around with ethanol but nothing that is taking off.

    A chevy is not a chevy. Ethanol is a higher octane fuel source that requires a different compression ratio when compared to gasoline and also has about 2/3 the heat content. A gallon of gasoline contains roughly 115,000(LHV-lower heating value) -125,000(HHV) btu’s (British thermal unit) and a gallon of ethanol contains about 76,000(LHV)-84,000(HHV) btu’s per gallon. Just about everything has heating values and unless you do a specific sample of your particular fuel, you can assume it will be within those ranges. We’ll use the LHV ,lower heating value, for these purposes.
    http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/energy_conv.html
    So if you have a gallon of regular gas, your engine has access to 115,000 btu’s. If you use a gallon of e10, your engine only has access to 111,100 btu’s, so you have just decreased the available energy to your engine by 3.5% right there. Now they want e15, which now drops the available energy to be used to a little over 5%. This is just by the numbers of energy value available in the fuel which is the minimum loss. Different engines will vary according to their design and thermal efficiency so the losses could be greater but never lower. Considering reciprocating piston engines that burn gasoline are the lowest in thermal efficiency anyway, you are only getting 25% of that chemical energy due to friction losses, heat losses, parasitic losses, gear losses, and other engine deficiencies.

    I am going to throw the drops out for e20 and e30 for use later on. e20 = almost a 7% loss and e30 = just over a 10% loss. All this will translate into loss of power, less fuel economy, and less range because now you will have to carry more fuel to go just as far. Which also means you will be buying gas more frequently putting more money in the “terrorists” pockets. But then again, we have not bought any fuel from Iran since 1979. So which “terrorists” are we buying fuel from?

    Oh another poor quality of ethanol fuel is that it makes your engine very hard to start when it is cold. This I experienced with my little Honda 4stroke 20hp when I had it and now I may know why. Ethanol requires a higher compression ratio similar to that of a diesel. It also burns hotter. Here are some of the modifications to ethanol vehicles used in Brazil. The compression ratio was made higher so you get a more complete burn of your fuel. The amount of fuel going into the combustion zone also has to be increased. Colder spark plugs for the higher burn temps of the ethanol flame. And the installation of an extra small gas tank for regular gas for cold starting. http://wapedia.mobi/en/Pro%C3%A1lcool

    So in terms of the hollow argument of us being dependent on foreign oil considering 60% of what we use is imported, using ethanol at the moment will still promote that. Let’s see for a minute. Maybe if our country was allowed to build a refinery which has not happened in like 40 years, or if we would actually drill for the oil that is off of OUR coasts, or if we could drill for the oil that is sitting in vast reserves in Alaska, or if we could start pulling all the oil shale out of the whole center of our country, we could blow off some of those other countries for a while. Way tooooooooo much NIMBY (not in my backyard). But we as consumers want it all. We drive our cars and boats every day and have to have it. What if they just stopped importing all that foreign oil. How fast do you think people attitudes would change then about where we drill.

    Let’s throw out a few more numbers here for a minute. In 2009 the US used roughly 138 billion gallons of gasoline. http://www.eia.doe.gov/ask/gasoline_faqs.asp
    The US also produced 10.8 billion gallons of ethanol with about 98% being from corn. http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/corn/2009-ethanol-production-exceeds-107-billion-gallons
    So assuming that is mixed with gas that equals roughly 7.2% of what of the gasoline use is. When you compare that we are making 7.2% of the fuel supply of ethanol that is giving us a 3.5% loss in efficiency (e10) while paying the same price, it seems like we are getting the short end of the stick. Now compare it to e15 and it is almost a wash and at e20 it is a wash except we are having to pay more for it.

    Now let’s just look at how Brazil did it. First they use ethanol from sugarcane since the whole country is basically tropical sugar is widely grown. “Technologically, the process of producing ethanol from sugar is simpler than converting corn into ethanol. Converting corn into ethanol requires additional cooking and the application of enzymes, whereas the conversion of sugar requires only a yeast fermentation process. The energy requirement for converting sugar into ethanol is about half that for corn.” http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/pub/sep06/ethanol.htm This is a good article that also talks about the economics of corn vs. sugar ethanol and the US protectionist (54cents tax per gallon of imported ethanol policy from other countries ethanol).http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/04/16/33945/corn-ethanols-downsides-high-food.html) Basically, it states that we can make it profitable by making ethanol from sugar but they make more money just selling the sugar as sugar at the moment. Hawaii could be the exception since it is a major crop there and could modify the plants to produce both ethanol and sugar the way Brazil does. “The Brazilian government provided three important initial drivers for the ethanol industry: guaranteed purchases by the state-owned oil company Petrobas, low-interest loans for agro-industrial ethanol firms, and fixed gasoline and ethanol prices where hydrous ethanol sold for 59% of the government-set gasoline price at the pump. These incentives made ethanol production competitive.” from the above article on Brazil. The USDA article also states there are major economic difference between the US and Brazil, “Brazil is now world’s largest producer of both sugar and ethanol. However, the economics — in terms of production, facility costs and government policies — are not directly comparable to those in the United States. Brazil production costs for ethanol from sugar are much lower than here. It has a much longer growing season than U.S. sugar producing regions and has higher yields per acre because of better climate and investment in more-productive strains of sugar cane.”

    The Brazilian market of ethanol fuel for cars looked like a roller coaster peaking hard in the late 70’s and crashing hard in the 80’s not because of technology but because of economics. In the mid 2000’s is when it was revived by free market technology and drive for innovation. And with the newest innovations from all the big car companies, they are now thriving on it. They also figured out how to balance all things involved like the economics of market prices of fuel vs sugar, so they would not revisit their downfall of the 80’s.

    But despite all of Brazil’s cars using some mix of ethanol fuel, they are still 15-25% less efficient than the same engines run on regular gasoline and still require and extra small regular gas tank for starting in the colder regions of the country.

    Now another one of the big things that ethanol is supposedly greener, cleaner, whatever you want to call it. Again the political spin machines wrapped their hands on this one too. The independent studies I found all seemed to agree on about a 20% decrease in carbon monoxide emissions where the ethanol companies claimed up to 80%. But the side effects of the burning of ethanol is that it increases the amount of nitrogen oxides which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2010/2010-10-13-091.html . It also releases some wonderful things called aldehydes and peroxyacl nitrates which are considered a powerful eye irritants and highly toxic to plants. http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/1997/A/199700109.html Does not seem like a good thing to make another thing that is highly toxic to plants since we have enough of those already. Producing ethanol uses a lot more water too. According to a Wall Street Journal article talking about a Cornell study, it takes 1700 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. I got that out of this article, but did not find the Cornell study (http://tucsoncitizen.com/wryheat/2010/09/10/ethanol-fuel-not-as-green-as-you-may-think/). In terms of the ground level ozone, which will cause more smog in some areas which they believe will increase certain types of cancer. Small increases but still increases. Stanford University did a study that basically said “..Due to its ozone effects, future E85 may be a greater overall public health risk than gasoline.." http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/E85PaperEST0207.pdf
    Also with the increased corn production comes increased fertilizer and pesticide use which is having serious effects on the water for us fishermen.
    “There’s a water pollution issue, as well. The National Academy of Sciences points out that expanding corn-based ethanol production without new environmental protection policies would pose a “considerable” threat to water quality. Corn requires more fertilizers and pesticides than other food or biofuel crops. Pesticide contamination is already highest in the Corn Belt, and nitrogen fertilizer runoff from corn already produces the most serious agricultural impact on the Mississippi River.
    Fertilizer runoff does not just pollute local waters. Each summer, the nitrogen fertilizers in the Mississippi hit the Gulf of Mexico, creating a large dead zone–a region of oxygen-deprived waters unable to support sea life that extends for more than 10,000 square kilometers. The same phenomenon occurs in Chesapeake Bay.
    A recent study by researchers at the University of British Columbia shows that if the United States were to meet its proposed ethanol production goals of 15 billion to 36 billion gallons of corn and cellulosic ethanol by 2022, nitrogen flows to the Gulf of Mexico would increase by 10 percent to 34 percent.” http://www.masterresource.org/2009/12/ethanol-unintended-consequences/
    Here is another short piece from an article talking a study from Virginia Tech about the nitrogen and phosphorus runoffs and the problems the ethanol production is causing in the Chesapeake Bay area.”More cornfields could be trouble, the study warned, because corn generally requires more fertilizer than such crops as soybeans or hay. When it rains, some of this fertilizer washes downstream, and it brings such pollutants as nitrogen and phosphorus, which feed unnatural algae blooms in the bay. These algae consume the oxygen that fish, crabs and other creatures need to breathe, creating the Chesapeake's infamous dead zones.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/16/AR2007071601845_pf.html

    And another. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071010120538.htm

    Let’s look at some more numbers and common sense cuz those are fun. One bushel of corn makes about a 2.8 gallon of ethanol. Remember, there are about 76,000 btu’s in a gallon of ethanol, so 1 bushel makes about 213,000 btu’s of available energy. Well that is about 56 pounds of corn. So, now if we find the energy content of corn, it turns out to be 7500 to 8500 btu’s per pound. So then we figure out using the lower value that a bushel of corn has available roughly 420,000 btu’s. Wow. We just wasted about half the chemical energy in the corn just by turning it in ethanol. 420,000-213,000= 207,000 btu’s out the window. And this is not including all the energy needed to convert the corn to ethanol. What the hell are we doing? I also found out from my reading that you can burn the corn in stove’s the way people burn wood pellets for home heating in the winter. Seems like it would be much better to burn the corn to keep people warm and let us just use gasoline to run our vehicles instead of wasting energy ---- to lose energy ---- by making a less fuel efficient fuel. Absolutely Brilliant. (note:heavy sacrcasm)
    Ok, so another thing I claimed was it was costing us a lot of money for losing power, which I have already shown. Basically the production of ethanol caused the government not to collect 6 billion dollars in taxes because were given as credits as incentives for ethanol. Basically we all as taxpayers are paying for this less efficient fuel. I found a CBO report that I would have to consider fairly neutral so I will just quote the report’s conclusion.
    ” CBO's main conclusions are the following:
    • The incentives that the tax credits provide to producers of biofuels differ among the fuels. After adjustments for the different energy contents of the various biofuels and the petroleum fuel used to produce them, producers of ethanol made from corn receive 73 cents to provide an amount of biofuel with the energy equivalent to that in one gallon of gasoline. On a similar basis, producers of cellulosic ethanol receive $1.62, and producers of biodiesel receive $1.08.
    • The costs to taxpayers of reducing consumption of petroleum fuels differ by biofuel. Such costs depend on the size of the tax credit for each fuel, the changes in federal revenues that result from the difference in the excise taxes collected on sales of gasoline and biofuels, and the amount of biofuels that would have been produced if the credits had not been available. The costs to taxpayers of using a biofuel to reduce gasoline consumption by one gallon are $1.78 for ethanol made from corn and $3.00 for cellulosic ethanol. The cost of reducing an equivalent amount of diesel fuel (that is, a quantity having the same amount of energy as a gallon of gasoline) using biodiesel is $2.55, based on the tax policy in place through last year.
    • Similarly, the costs to taxpayers of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the biofuel tax credits vary by fuel: about $750 per metric ton of CO2e (that is, per metric ton of greenhouse gases measured in terms of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide) for ethanol, about $275 per metric ton of CO2e for cellulosic ethanol, and about $300 per metric ton of CO2e for biodiesel. Those estimates do not reflect any emissions of carbon dioxide that occur when the production of biofuels causes forests or grasslands to be converted to farmland for growing the fuels' feedstocks. If those emissions were taken into account, such changes in land use would raise the cost of reducing emissions and change the relative costs of reducing emissions through the use of different biofuels--in some cases, by a substantial amount. “ http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=11477
    Now, why does it suck in our engines. Well, it is an alcohol that really likes to bond with water. We all know that. But it is also a solvent. Maybe this has something to do with screwing up engines. Normally I use solvent to remove oil and grease and paint. I really would prefer if it would not remove the oil in my cylinders. But let’s see what others are saying. In this article they quote a mechanic who is basically saying the same thing. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25936782/
    The article also describes quite a few other things that are happening because of the ethanol in the fuel too. Here is an interesting article where a bunch of cars in Sweden that just died from fuel injector problems. http://www.thelocal.se/27948/20100723/

    BMW is against using E15, not completely official but it is how a lot of news gets out ,” It really is quite simple, an unnamed source at BMWNA has told us that the maximum allowed for use in a BMW is 10% (E10 the current blend), and that is that. After internal testing, BMW is not condoning the use of E15 at this time on any new or old BMW.” http://www.bimmerfile.com/2010/10/14/exclusive-bmw-says-no-to-e15-gas-blend/
    Geez, Lexus had to recall 215,000 vehicles because of ethanol damage. http://blogs.edmunds.com/greencaradvisor/2009/01/lexus-recalling-214500-cars-for-possible-fuel-line-corrosion-caused-by-ethanol.html

    Now, some manufacturers say your outboard engine, vehicle, lawnmower, or whatever should be fine with running 10% ethanol. But how do you really know you are getting 10% ethanol. Here is the problem. Some gas stations are being dishonest and trying to make a few extra bucks and you and I will pay for it. And if we are on a boat it might be at a time or place when things could get really bad really fast. Maybe in the back waters of Flamingo where you may not ever see another boat. Or maybe out in the ocean on a family outing with an approaching storm. Who knows, but here is why your engine will completely eat dogpoooo. Gas stations selling E85 as regular fuel. Gas stations buying higher than legal blends and ruining engines.
    http://www.ethanolproducer.com/article.jsp?article_id=4684
     
  2. beavis

    beavis Well-Known Member

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    cont'd

    Another thing is splash blending where “we’ll just throw some more ethanol in there to save a few bucks, who cares about percentages”. Pay attention to this article where it says Florida is one of the worst. http://www.pmaa.org/userfiles/file/Splashblending/2008_1027_KC%20Star_Ethanol_Article.pdf
    I found that the big companies are more accurate in their mixing, but some states want the freedom to mix it as they please. This is a double edged sword. Good in terms that we as boaters can still get ethanol free fuel. The bad is that it allows for the abuse of various blend percentages. But another downfall of this is done in the refineries which are generally along our country’s coast. And the ethanol is generally produced in the midwest and central parts of the country. But since ethanol can’t be pumped in a pipeline because of its affinity for water, we waste more energy by having to ship the ethanol to the refineries trying to mix them together in the correct percentages.

    In terms of planes. It will only have an effect on piston engines is planes. Gas turbines will burn this without a problem, but that engine is a whole different animal. They are testing it in a select few tests at the moment. But again, the plane will have to carry more fuel to go the same distance. They also have to worry about phase separation in the fuel, because as they go up in altitude the temperature drops. ANY phase separation could cause the separated water to freeze and clog the engine’s fuel delivery system.

    I could not find the original article I read that discussed gas stations using different blends of ethanol screw customers out of a few extra bucks. But in all the articles I read discussing ethanol, the general the mood and attitude towards it and the government trying to force it on us is not pleasant. We as boat owners are truly dedicated by sticking with our boats while having to add all these different additives and do additional things just to keep our engines in working order and not leave us stranded. I am sure it would take quite a lot of time to develop an outboard engine with the modifications to run on some sort of biofuel. But our government keeps changing what it wants to do to be “greener” so often that manufacturers won’t commit to any sort of investment in it. At the moment we are being left green with sickness every time our engine coughs and how much it may cost for something we did not do. If the government would let the fuel technology work itself out, then the fuel technology could carry us forward where every one develops the engine technology to be cleaner by running the better fuel. Right now, the government is just following the pretty shiny thing and needs to get out of the way. Fine, they can make tighter regulations. But there needs to be a good amount of time until they take effect so the free market can come up with the solutions.
     

  3. aaronshore

    aaronshore Well-Known Member

    Waaaayyyyyy toooooo muuuuucccchhhhhh time on your hands......LOL ;D
     
  4. cvilt

    cvilt I Love microskiff.com!

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    Can I get that in MP3. My attention span is shorter than...I forgot already. LOL ;)
     
  5. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

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    Get used to it - it is here to stay.

    I agree with everything said and because it is mandated with greater mandating to follow you just need to find a way to profit from this mandate.
     
  6. Charlie

    Charlie I Love microskiff.com!

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    MENTAL OVERLOAD!!! :eek:

    X2 on the accepting it thing. It's not going away, so we should just make the most of it!
     
  7. iMacattack

    iMacattack busy, too busy

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    http://www.microskiff.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1241201860/0#0

    http://www.microskiff.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1240873109/0#0
     
  8. TomFL

    TomFL Well-Known Member

    Maybe he's waiting for his ethanol-induced motor problems to be fixed?? ;) ;)

    Good info in there though, and I've been a guinea pig (I think) for some of those stations selling E85 instead of E10 lately.

    -T
     
  9. iMacattack

    iMacattack busy, too busy

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    Arguing "if" we should or should not use e-fuel as a country is a moot point (thank you JRH ) right now. It's hear, deal with it.

    The two things we should be working on now is education of the e-fuel user on how to properly protect their engines. Then work from an organized rational grass roots position to reduce or remove the legislation from our books.

    Cheers
    Capt. Jan
     
  10. JRH

    JRH Well-Known Member

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    moot not mute
     
  11. deerfly

    deerfly Opinicus iracibilus

    great info beav, probably too much for the average tard to digest tho, should have done a video instead.  :)

    I totally disagree with the notion that everyone should just accept ethanol just because it's here. With all the information out there like this I can't for the life of me understand how the public should feel that way. Unless it's created and used relatively close to the corn it comes from, very little about ethanol makes sense and as beavis has shown gets worse the deeper your probe.

    The fact that we're forced to deal with it "because it's here" is just a side effect and should enrage the public even more to oppose it's existence or expansion.

    Something beavis touched on in the part about the total energy in a bushel of corn and how that's wasted in the process of creating ethanol has another twist, which is the energy imbalance of creating that bushel of corn in the first place. Aside from having ethanol rammed down our throats and bearing the expense of preventing and repairing it's ill-effects, the public should be screaming for reform and improvement in our current agricultural goals and processes.

    Like the ethanol issue though, we tend to just accept it because we think we have to eat, which we do of course, but industrial agriculture is less about creating things that we actually eat than most people realize. Ethanol is just industrial ag's lame attempt to recoup some of the energy wasted by agriculture, never mind that doing so wastes even more energy and as beavis has shown results in an inferior and problematic fuel. As has been pointed out, if it wasn't govt subsidized it wouldn't exist in  a free market. Ethanol is just stupid squared and should be fought viciously at every turn.

    In 2004 a very interesting article was published (http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/02/0079915) that summarizes the issues with industrialized agriculture. Very relevant here and worth a read. Here's a few quotes:

    "Agriculture was not so much about food as it was about the accumulation of wealth. It benefited some humans, and those people have been in charge ever since."

    "Iowa's fields require the energy of 4,000 Nagasaki bombs every year."

    "On average, it takes 5.5 gallons of fossil energy to restore a year's worth of lost fertility to an acre of eroded land—in 1997 we burned through more than 400 years' worth of ancient fossilized productivity, most of it from someplace else."

    "Every single calorie we eat is backed by at least a calorie of oil, more like ten."

    "David Pimentel, an expert on food and energy at Cornell University, has estimated that if all of the world ate the way the United States eats, humanity would exhaust all known global fossil-fuel reserves in just over seven years. Pimentel has his detractors. Some have accused him of being off on other calculations by as much as 30 percent. Fine. Make it ten years." (mathematical humor :))

    "Fertilization is equally worrisome. Rainfall and irrigation water inevitably washes the nitrogen from fields to creeks and streams, which flows into rivers, which floods into the ocean. This explains why the Mississippi River, which drains the nation's Corn Belt, is an environmental catastrophe."

    "Agriculture in this country is not about food; it's about commodities that require the outlay of still more energy to become food."

    "A two-pound bag of breakfast cereal burns the energy of a half-gallon of gasoline in its making. All together the food-processing industry in the United States uses about ten calories of fossil-fuel energy for every calorie of food energy it produces."

    "That number does not include the fuel used in transporting the food from the factory to a store near you, or the fuel used by millions of people driving to thousands of super discount stores"

    and the punch line here:  :cool:

    "It appears, however, that the corn cycle is about to come full circle. If a bipartisan coalition of farm-state lawmakers has their way—and it appears they will—we will soon buy gasoline containing twice as much fuel alcohol as it does now. Fuel alcohol already ranks second as a use for processed corn in the United States, just behind corn sweeteners. According to one set of calculations, we spend more calories of fossil-fuel energy making ethanol than we gain from it."
     
  12. iMacattack

    iMacattack busy, too busy

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    Eric, sorry but arguing it's existence on Internet forums is irrelevant. I'm for educating.

    1. Educate the public on how to deal with the problem. Offer tips/tricks to prevent its nasty effects on engine. I'm a bit biased to making this the number one priority, as I have had to deal with its effects on an outboard. Currently this is where my energy is spent.
    2. Educate the public on the concerns with its production. RJ does a good job above on point out several issues.
    3. Educate the public on how to get involved with removing or reducing the legislation associated with e-fuel. Could use your input here, how can the public become more involved with an organized campaign to reduce or remove ethanol from fuel? Do you know of any groups who are doing this today?
     
  13. JRH

    JRH Well-Known Member

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    It's because the public, sans outboard motor owners, doesn't give a sh!t.
    Can't say that I blame them.
    Ethanol in fuel is about #187 on my list of 200 things wrong with the world.
     
  14. deerfly

    deerfly Opinicus iracibilus

    Jan, sorry, but ethanol's existence, mostly in this country is dubious and you know it. I only accept that we have little choice but to accept it to the extent that it already exists today, E10. That battle was lost years ago, but considering the cost and energy required to produce ethanol for what we get out of it, accepting further proliferation and use is silly at best.

    I would never argue your education aspect though, as we have to take remedial steps to minimize the ill-effects bestowed upon us or pay an even higher penalty. It's unfortunate, but it's where we are.

    Jason, in the grand scheme of things ethanol is not that high on my list of worries either, but since the topic came up I decided to throw in my 2 cents.

    Also, since ethanol is largely produced from corn, decided to add the notion that "greener" farming practices should take precedence over further proliferation of ethanol use too, because we're not that good at producing corn when it comes to energy invested, let alone the aftermath of current ag practices.

    Not suggesting we all revert to Amish principles either, but we'd be better served at figuring out ways to expend less fossil fuel energy with our current farming practices, while also improving engine efficiency with gasoline as opposed to wasting more energy to create the source of the ethanol blend that diminishes the efficiency of the gas we're burning. :)

    oh yeah, go republicans!   :cool:
     
  15. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

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    In 1960 the average corn yield per acre was about 60.  In 2009 it was 173!  With the advent of genetically engineered crops there has been documented trial farms producing 350 bushels per acre.  We are busting at the seams with corn.

    The lobbyists for the grain producers are a very powerful machine and corn is still historically very cheap.  American's were disgruntled with farm subsidies so something had to give and it did.  They found other uses for it. 

    I have a friend in Iowa and in his small town there is so much corn that every silo in town is filled and the farmers have no choice but to pile it up.  They pile it up right along the railrod tracks and the pile is about 30' high 50' wide and hundreds of feet long.  This is one small town in the largest corn production area in the world.

    Because the "new" corn yields so much and there is so much being wasted on the sides of the tracks the ethanol producers can get their fuelstock for virtually free.  With corn at roughly $5.80 a bushel and having no excess after all of the supply is scooped up this creates opportunity for the farmer to profit.  The farmer does not care what happens to the corn after he hauls it to the market and collects his check.  If it sits outside and begins to decay it is turned into ethanol because the price is right.  All this boils down to is a subsidy wearing a different jacket.

    If the yield is currently 173 bu/acre and 300 on the way and the "GREEN" and altenative sustainable fuel supply on the cover of every magazine guess where the extra supply will go.  With our insatiable appetite for cheap gas, Americans do not care 1 bit where the price drop comes from.

    For each barrel of oil (42 gal) we yield only 19 gallons of gasoline the rest goes to products such as Ink,
    Crayons, Bubble gum, Dishwashing liquids, Deodorant, Eyeglasses, CDs and DVDs, Tires, Ammonia, and Heart Valves and thousands of other items.

    With more than 50% of each $85 we send overseas to buy the stuff that keeps America rolling we as a nation are not prepared to accept expensive gas.  We are addicted to cheap gas and we will get it at all costs.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention CHINA and their industrial revolution.

    With the current economy here in the US the elected officials are handcuffed to create jobs and the green revolution is upon us - if we like it or not and the 3,000 members on here can not rile the political machine to make any agenda changes and would be a feable attempt at best.

    It is no secret that ethanol yields less BTU's than petrol but the change has come so fast that the manufacturers have not had enough time to develop "new engines" to compensate for the lower caloric output, but give it time.  In the meantime, I agree with Jan and that is to learn as much as we can and spread our findings for the benefit of others.  I as well as others on here have had the pleasure of dealing with the "Ethanol Mess" and have learned from the experience and it has not happend since.

    BTW- gasoline reformulated with MTBE (the additive prior to ethanol) rather than ethanol yields 111,745btu/gal vs 111,836 with E10 ethanol and conventional gasoline for winter driving is 112,500btu/gal.