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Marc J. Rauch

UK's Department for Transport Uses Boogeyman Allusions to Sidetrack E10 Adoption

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We have a bumper crop of corn and soybeans coming in this year. The Chinese may not be purchasing much from the USA so I certainly hope we can make maximum use of our bounty. That should be a national goal. 

Off topic, I would like to know what you think of the prospects for using LNG in aircraft some day. I don't know the energy density comparison offhand but think it would be very useful for shorter flights or for use in specially designed aircraft. 

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1 hour ago, NickW said:

This report states a 3% reduction in fuel economy using E30 compared to E10. So according to this test fuel economy is lowered as ethanol content is increased from 10% to 30%

https://www.jstor.org/stable/26277627?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

If gasoline is rated at 116,000 BTUs, and ethanol is rated at 76,000 BTUs, then E30 would be 104,100 BTUs, and E10 would be 112,000 BTUs.

If we take the "laws of physics" at its word, then E30 should provide nearly 8% fewer miles per gallon than E10, not just 3%. If the LAW of physics is the LAW, how can this be?

Using this progression that the loss of miles per gallon is less than half of what the laws of physics should dictate then the difference in mileage between E0 and E100 should be about 15% not the 33% that a simple 116k vs 76k BTU equation suggests.

In any event, I'm glad you provided this SAE report. Here's the links to studies that I can provide (they go back over 100 years, showing that what I argue is nothing new):

FREE ALCOHOL
Committee on Ways & Means - House of Representatives

59th Congress, 1st Session
Feb-Mar 1906
https://archive.org/details/cu31924094115254

  • “As a power producer, alcohol is about equal to gasoline…There is far more safety in the use of alcohol than in the use of gasoline…a fire produced by alcohol is readily put out by water…(whereas) water only spreads and increases the danger from a gasoline fire. Cleanliness is another attractive feature in the use of alcohol (ethanol). Cylinders and valves do not get clogged by the left-over products of (gasoline) combustion. Odors arising from (ethanol) are scarcely perceptible and not unpleasant.” (page 60)

    “Three Years ago the increase in cost of gasoline compelled us to look for a suitable substitute. I went over to Germany to visit our parent house and study the means which had been adopted to procure a cheap and effective power producer. I found that denatured alcohol (ethanol) was very largely used in internal combustion engines. I had occasion to take part in several shop test made with these alcohol engines… The results we obtained showed that out of an engine of a given size…we got on average 20% more power than out of the same size engine operated on gasoline.” (page 96)

    “Other and more scientific tests were made at the same time. I remember one test…when the exhaust gases were analyzed…the object being to determine…the degree to which atmospheric air would be contaminated…The results showed that an alcohol (powered) engine produced about 20% less of obnoxious constituents than the exhaust gases from a gasoline (powered) engine.” (page 97)

    “I have also examined the interior portions of alcohol (powered) engines that have been in continuous use for three years, and have found them to be in good working order, except such wear as necessarily takes place in all internal combustion engines.” (page 99)

    “Notwithstanding the fact that the heating value of alcohol, or the number of heat units contained (BTU value), is much less than in gasoline, it is found by actual experiment that a gallon of alcohol will develop substantially the same power in an internal combustion engine as a gallon of gasoline. This is owing to the superior efficiency of operation when alcohol is used.” (page 107)

 

COMPARISONS OF GASOLINE AND ALCOHOL TESTS
ON INTERNAL-COMBUSTION ENGINES

Department Of The Interior - United States Geological Survey
1909
http://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/0392/report.pdf

  • “By using alcohol in an alcohol engine with a high degree of compression…the fuel-consumption rate in gallons per horsepower per hour can be reduced to practically the same as the rate of consumption of gasoline for a gasoline engine of the same size and speed.” (page 6)

    “An alcohol engine with the maximum degree of compression for alcohol will have an available horsepower 30 per cent greater than a gasoline engine of the same cylinder size, stroke, and speed..” (page 7)

    “Alcohol has many advantages over gasoline or kerosene as a fuel. The exhaust from an alcohol engine is never clouded with a black or grayish smoke, as is the exhaust of a gasoline or kerosene engine …The odors of denatured alcohol and the exhaust gases from an alcohol engine are also not likely to be as obnoxious as the odor of gasoline and its products of combustion.” (page 36)

 

Fuel Economy and Power Generation of 30% Ethanol (E30)
http://www.sdfu.org/assets/docs/uploads/gle-e30-challenge-white-paper-1-19-17final.pdf

Effects of High-Octane Ethanol Blends
https://bioenergykdf.net/system/files/1/Thomas_Effects of High-Octane Ethanol Blends on Four Legacy Flex-Fuel Vehicles and a Turbocharged GDI Vehicle.pdf

Study Finds Certain Ethanol Blends Can Provide Better Fuel Economy Than Gasoline
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/12/study-finds-cer.html

The Effect of Ethanol-Gasoline Blends - University of Nottingham...
https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/29749/1/546471.pdf

The Effect of Ethanol-Gasoline Blends
http://www.stonis-world.com/docs/SuTCAF.pdf

High performance Wayne State ethanol car wins 1998 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge
https://wayne.edu/newsroom/release/1998/06/04/high-performance-wayne-state-ethanol-car-wins-1998-ethanol-vehicle-challenge-1464

Ethanol Vehicle Challenge
http://avtcseries.org/competitions/ethanol-vehicle-challenge/?section=innovations-highlights

Freedom of choice: E20 ethanol blends take the value crown from gasoline, E10
http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2013/06/20/freedom-of-choice-e20-ethanol-blends-take-the-value-crown-from-gasoline-e10/3/

ACE Optimal Ethanol Blend Level Study
http://www.speedperf6rmanc3.com/content/ACE_Optimal_Ethanol_Blend_Level_Study.pdf

 

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2 hours ago, NickW said:

Lets examine the evidence:

This is a bit dated but daily global production of gasoline is about 18 million barrels (2.6bn litres) which annually is 950bn litres. 

On calorific value you would need to produce 1280bn litres of ethanol to give the equivalent value of Gasoline

https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/articles/37/

1280 bn / 1200 (gross production per acre from sugar cane) = 1067m acres. 

Planting, harvesting, processing and distilling all has an energy cost but lets ignore that. 

The USA's entire stock of agricultural land  (much of which will not be suitable for arable crops) is 1016m acres.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_land

Factoring in input energy you are talking about turning over an area of agricultural land 20-30% larger (taking into account processing energy) than the bank of the USA's ag land to produce ethanol or approx 2x Brazils current agricultural land. 

How many people are going to starve to death or face increased malnutrition to achieve this biofuel revolution? 

 

I'm genuinely interested in the Kelp / seaweed side as the UK has a massive coastline relative to its size. 

This article suggests 50 litres of ethanol of 20 m3 of biomethane per wet tonne of kelp so I'm not certain this is commercially viable. 

https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2013/06/from-the-beach-to-the-pump-is-kelp-a-viable-biofuel.html

An added benefit is the waste would be a good supply of nutrient rich fertiliser. 

"Agricultural land" by definition means that it is suited for some type of arable crop. The U.S. has about 1.4 billion acres of suitable land (cropland and farmland). SEE: "Land Ho..." section at https://www.theautochannel.com/news/2013/06/11/082056-gusher-lies-book-review-and-reply-to-robert-bryce-pt.html.

Only a minority portion of this "agricultural land" is currently being used, and the highest yield ethanol crops for the respective tracts are not yet being used. This also doesn't include the land not considered cropland or farmland that is suitable for growing buffalo gourds and agave.

In the meantime, no one in America or the world is starving because of American use of land to grow "ethanol" corn (there may be starving people but it is not because of America's ethanol program).

AND... we haven't yet factored in the amount of ethanol that could be produced from seaweed, which doesn't use any land.

The last point you raised about the waste product from seaweed/algae being a good supply of nutrient rich fertilizer is exactly correct, and it completes the cycle of how and why the use of the hypoxia areas of the Gulf of Mexico would be so beneficial. This fertilizer could replace the chemical fertilizers being used throughout, or in many places, in the states that feed water into the Mississippi River.

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23 minutes ago, Marc J. Rauch said:

If gasoline is rated at 116,000 BTUs, and ethanol is rated at 76,000 BTUs, then E30 would be 104,100 BTUs, and E10 would be 112,000 BTUs.

If we take the "laws of physics" at its word, then E30 should provide nearly 8% fewer miles per gallon than E10, not just 3%. If the LAW of physics is the LAW, how can this be?

Using this progression that the loss of miles per gallon is less than half of what the laws of physics should dictate then the difference in mileage between E0 and E100 should be about 15% not the 33% that a simple 116k vs 76k BTU equation suggests.

In any event, I'm glad you provided this SAE report. Here's the links to studies that I can provide (they go back over 100 years, showing that what I argue is nothing new):

FREE ALCOHOL
Committee on Ways & Means - House of Representatives

59th Congress, 1st Session
Feb-Mar 1906
https://archive.org/details/cu31924094115254

  • “As a power producer, alcohol is about equal to gasoline…There is far more safety in the use of alcohol than in the use of gasoline…a fire produced by alcohol is readily put out by water…(whereas) water only spreads and increases the danger from a gasoline fire. Cleanliness is another attractive feature in the use of alcohol (ethanol). Cylinders and valves do not get clogged by the left-over products of (gasoline) combustion. Odors arising from (ethanol) are scarcely perceptible and not unpleasant.” (page 60)

    “Three Years ago the increase in cost of gasoline compelled us to look for a suitable substitute. I went over to Germany to visit our parent house and study the means which had been adopted to procure a cheap and effective power producer. I found that denatured alcohol (ethanol) was very largely used in internal combustion engines. I had occasion to take part in several shop test made with these alcohol engines… The results we obtained showed that out of an engine of a given size…we got on average 20% more power than out of the same size engine operated on gasoline.” (page 96)

    “Other and more scientific tests were made at the same time. I remember one test…when the exhaust gases were analyzed…the object being to determine…the degree to which atmospheric air would be contaminated…The results showed that an alcohol (powered) engine produced about 20% less of obnoxious constituents than the exhaust gases from a gasoline (powered) engine.” (page 97)

    “I have also examined the interior portions of alcohol (powered) engines that have been in continuous use for three years, and have found them to be in good working order, except such wear as necessarily takes place in all internal combustion engines.” (page 99)

    “Notwithstanding the fact that the heating value of alcohol, or the number of heat units contained (BTU value), is much less than in gasoline, it is found by actual experiment that a gallon of alcohol will develop substantially the same power in an internal combustion engine as a gallon of gasoline. This is owing to the superior efficiency of operation when alcohol is used.” (page 107)

 

COMPARISONS OF GASOLINE AND ALCOHOL TESTS
ON INTERNAL-COMBUSTION ENGINES

Department Of The Interior - United States Geological Survey
1909
http://pubs.usgs.gov/bul/0392/report.pdf

  • “By using alcohol in an alcohol engine with a high degree of compression…the fuel-consumption rate in gallons per horsepower per hour can be reduced to practically the same as the rate of consumption of gasoline for a gasoline engine of the same size and speed.” (page 6)

    “An alcohol engine with the maximum degree of compression for alcohol will have an available horsepower 30 per cent greater than a gasoline engine of the same cylinder size, stroke, and speed..” (page 7)

    “Alcohol has many advantages over gasoline or kerosene as a fuel. The exhaust from an alcohol engine is never clouded with a black or grayish smoke, as is the exhaust of a gasoline or kerosene engine …The odors of denatured alcohol and the exhaust gases from an alcohol engine are also not likely to be as obnoxious as the odor of gasoline and its products of combustion.” (page 36)

 

Fuel Economy and Power Generation of 30% Ethanol (E30)
http://www.sdfu.org/assets/docs/uploads/gle-e30-challenge-white-paper-1-19-17final.pdf

Effects of High-Octane Ethanol Blends
https://bioenergykdf.net/system/files/1/Thomas_Effects of High-Octane Ethanol Blends on Four Legacy Flex-Fuel Vehicles and a Turbocharged GDI Vehicle.pdf

Study Finds Certain Ethanol Blends Can Provide Better Fuel Economy Than Gasoline
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/12/study-finds-cer.html

The Effect of Ethanol-Gasoline Blends - University of Nottingham...
https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/29749/1/546471.pdf

The Effect of Ethanol-Gasoline Blends
http://www.stonis-world.com/docs/SuTCAF.pdf

High performance Wayne State ethanol car wins 1998 Ethanol Vehicle Challenge
https://wayne.edu/newsroom/release/1998/06/04/high-performance-wayne-state-ethanol-car-wins-1998-ethanol-vehicle-challenge-1464

Ethanol Vehicle Challenge
http://avtcseries.org/competitions/ethanol-vehicle-challenge/?section=innovations-highlights

Freedom of choice: E20 ethanol blends take the value crown from gasoline, E10
http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2013/06/20/freedom-of-choice-e20-ethanol-blends-take-the-value-crown-from-gasoline-e10/3/

ACE Optimal Ethanol Blend Level Study
http://www.speedperf6rmanc3.com/content/ACE_Optimal_Ethanol_Blend_Level_Study.pdf

 

There is no dispute that Ethanol is a cleaner fuel than gasoline and I haven't argued that the fuel economy - calorific value ration is l,absolutely inear. In an earlier post I acknowledged that small additions of ethanol improve fuel economy by boosting the octane rating. 

Thats not the primary issue of concern - the amount of land that would need to be used to displace gasoline in any meaningful quantity is. 

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(edited)

1 hour ago, ronwagn said:

We have a bumper crop of corn and soybeans coming in this year. The Chinese may not be purchasing much from the USA so I certainly hope we can make maximum use of our bounty. That should be a national goal. 

Off topic, I would like to know what you think of the prospects for using LNG in aircraft some day. I don't know the energy density comparison offhand but think it would be very useful for shorter flights or for use in specially designed aircraft. 

I don't have any thoughts on this except to say "why not?"

A quick online search shows that plenty of other people have considered LNG for avaiation use and that they think it can work. For example:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280925005_Liquefied_Natural_Gas_as_the_Next_Aviation_Fuel

https://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/an-airline-fleet-fueled-by-natural-gas/

Edited by Marc J. Rauch
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3 minutes ago, NickW said:

There is no dispute that Ethanol is a cleaner fuel than gasoline and I haven't argued that the fuel economy - calorific value ration is l,absolutely inear. In an earlier post I acknowledged that small additions of ethanol improve fuel economy by boosting the octane rating. 

Thats not the primary issue of concern - the amount of land that would need to be used to displace gasoline in any meaningful quantity is. 

I just responded to the land issue in another rely to you.

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On 9/7/2018 at 9:03 PM, Marc J. Rauch said:

"Agricultural land" by definition means that it is suited for some type of arable crop. The U.S. has about 1.4 billion acres of suitable land (cropland and farmland). SEE: "Land Ho..." section at https://www.theautochannel.com/news/2013/06/11/082056-gusher-lies-book-review-and-reply-to-robert-bryce-pt.html.

Only a minority portion of this "agricultural land" is currently being used, and the highest yield ethanol crops for the respective tracts are not yet being used. This also doesn't include the land not considered cropland or farmland that is suitable for growing buffalo gourds and agave.

In the meantime, no one in America or the world is starving because of American use of land to grow "ethanol" corn (there may be starving people but it is not because of America's ethanol program).

AND... we haven't yet factored in the amount of ethanol that could be produced from seaweed, which doesn't use any land.

The last point you raised about the waste product from seaweed/algae being a good supply of nutrient rich fertilizer is exactly correct, and it completes the cycle of how and why the use of the hypoxia areas of the Gulf of Mexico would be so beneficial. This fertilizer could replace the chemical fertilizers being used throughout, or in many places, in the states that feed water into the Mississippi River.

Because ethanol only currently makes up a small percentage of gasoline. Turn over 1 billion acres to ethanol production instead of food then this will create a real shortage in terms of food because that land is no longer available not to mention the burden on other finite resources - water and fertiliser.

No American will starve - that's for sure because they can out compete people at the bottom of the dung pile (mainly poor Africans and Asians) and  for limited resources 

 

However if Ethanol from seaweed is viable along with its byproduct use as a fertiliser then that looks better. 

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4 hours ago, NickW said:

Because ethanol only currently makes up a small percentage of gasoline. Turn over 1 billion acres to ethanol production instead of food then this will create a real shortage in terms of food because that land is no longer available not to mention the burden on other finite resources - water and fertiliser.

No American will starve - that's for sure because they can out compete people at the bottom of the dung pile (mainly poor Africans and Asians) and  for limited resources 

 

However if Ethanol from seaweed is viable along with its byproduct use as a fertiliser then that looks better. 

Nick, I'm truly happy that you've become so excited by the concept of seaweed ethanol farming. It is THAT exciting. The potential is incredible. But don't get so carried away that you have to resort to other exaggerated anti-ethanol rhetoric.

Let's say that there are one hundred million dozen pairs of denim jeans made every year to meet the worldwide demand and orders from retail outlets. But suddenly, there's a spike in demand and there's orders for two hundred million dozen pairs of denim jeans per year. The result is not that one hundred million dozen people (1.2 billion) have to go without trousers or denim jeans, it just means that more jeans have to be manufactured.

Now let's say that all the jeans manufacturers get together to discuss this urgent shortage. They understand and know that the way out is to manufacture more jeans. The problem, they conclude, is that all the sweat shops in Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, and Vietnam are booked working on the existing one hundred million dozen pairs of jeans, plus all the other garments they have contracted to produce. Does this mean that the orders for 1 hundred million dozen pairs of jeans have to be turned down?

No, what happens is that new sweat shops are created in those countries and/or the orders are sent to sweat shops in other countries, such as the Philippines, Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala, etc.

Okay, so we use this same genius approach to jeans manufacturing to make ethanol. If the demand for ethanol went up 10 times, or 100 times, and the corn farmers of America couldn't meet the demand then crops other than corn would be grown in additional areas of America (probably with crops that have a higher annual yield than corn - of which there are several). In addition, geographic areas of America might also be used that aren't typically used to grow food crops, such as marsh areas for cattails, and arid areas for buffalo gourds and agave. And, some farmers who are having a tough economic time making ends meet growing other crops might switch over to an ethanol crop because there's profit in doing so. Who might some of these farmers be? People in the Midwest and east coast who are growing grapes for wine, for example. We don't need Illinois or Michigan or Oklahoma wine. We don't need Virginia wine. We don't even need New York state wine, although some of the NY vineyards think we do. And if the land farmers couldn't keep up with demand then we would see the rapid development of other methods of ethanol crop production that we know would work, but haven't yet been employed because it's not necessary, such as salt water seaweed farming. Thus, the ethanol crisis would be averted.

On a global scale, let's say that America couldn't support a global 100X increase in demand for ethanol. Well then maybe guys like Marvin (the first person who commented on my original post about the Auto Express magazine story) would be able to help African nations get into the ethanol crop business. You remember Africa, don't you? It's that vast, fairly underdeveloped continent that sits under the European continent.

The downside to making Africa economically successful and putting lots of people to work is that then we're contributing to making hundreds of millions (maybe billions) of dark skinned people financially successful, and they might rise out of poverty and subservience - yes, of course I'm being sarcastic...not sarcastic about wanting to help the "poor Africans" you mentioned, but sarcastic in that doing so has a downside.

Then there's Australia, the U.S. sized island that sits "down under." They have fewer people living there than we have in California. They can grow corn, sorghum, sugar beets, sugar cane, agave, buffalo gourds, Jerusalem artichokes, everything.

And lastly, there's the coastal areas of Australia, and Africa, and New Zealand (which I previously mentioned to you) for ethanol seaweed farms.

There would be NO ethanol shortage. We just have to get past the incredible ignorance related to ethanol so that we can move on with replacing petroleum oil fuels as the primary engine fuel.

On the food vs. fuel issue: This issue is non-existent. It doesn't matter how many people the oil industry pays to make the claim, or how many  people ignorantly repeat it on Internet message boards, the problem does not exist. And America does not need to be the breadbasket or handout king of the world.

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