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Old 12-05-2008, 03:59 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I didn't know it could be made from so many sources. That really makes sense to work towards something that is going to just get better. That's one reason why Tesla chose their laptop batteries, because there would be multiple approaches in industry trying to improve on them. It's nice to have industrial and agricultural pressure coming up with new and better ways to make profitable fuel. Then the alternative fuel world can just sit back and reap the rewards. I think that's what went wrong with the Ovonics approach. They made a great battery can could make a car go 220 miles or so in town, but industry wasn't going to have the explicit goal of having better electric cars, only better electronic devices!

I think I'm now an ethanol convert! I especially like how no major modifications of an engine have to happen to use it. There's a station in Tacoma, which is like 30 miles away. Hopefully they'll make more.

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Old 12-05-2008, 04:36 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
My current understanding is that, in the Midwest, it is made from corn that isn't sold for human consumption anyways.
Doesn't matter since it still affects the price of corn.
I don't want to see ethanol become popular because it will still negatively affect the price of food in countries that don't have enough for everyone to eat.
Until that problem is solved we shouldn't be wasting crops to power our vehicles.

I personally don't particularly care about pollution, but do keep in mind the process of making ethanol produces more pollution than pretty much every alternative fuel option. In most areas it will produce twice the pollution footprint of regular gasoline.

Ethanol from corn is being pushed heavily by those that have a vested interest in it being produced under government subsidies.

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Old 12-07-2008, 09:09 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Ethanol and methanol can be made from anything that is lying around. Read "Energy
Victory" by Robert Zubrin ISBN 978-1-59102-591-7
Methanol can be made from coal (which the US has at least a 300 year supply of at the present time) in a process that dates back to the mid 1700's. Don't start whining about coal and CO2 emissions- scrub the CO2 with algae treatment plants, releasing pure O2 into atmosphere,and by product is biodiesel, food and dietary supplements.
There is no free lunch people, don't trash something that isn't a magic bullet to solve all worlds problems at once.
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Old 12-08-2008, 08:11 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I have no experiance with e-85 except as a race fuel.
We ran a lot more (20%)fuel much more boost and a little more timing.
My (mostly un educated) advice would be to run much higher compression to take advantage of the high octane (107) of e-85. That would give several advantages 1) more power (I know we don't care about that here) 2) easier winter starting 3) better economy.
I have no referances for the above; but I *think* I know what I'm talking about.

We recentley got an ethanol plant here whose feedstock is bagass ( sugarcane waste product)
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:11 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I did talk to a guy a couple nights ago who is running E85 in a modified minivan.

He mentioned that it would run better with higher compression. He actually commented that a modified DIESEL engine would be great, because of the higher compression.

I just got a few items in from the library today, including an end of oil documentry, a moonshine book, and ALCOHOL CAN BE A GAS, by David Blume. That book is HUGE and has tons of alcohol production and vehicle conversion information in it.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:46 AM   #36 (permalink)
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No, I am not stuck in the mud at all about getting off gasoline, I am just trying to take my time to figure out what my best alternatives are.

Thanks for those links, that video was interesting.

A while back, I saw a Honda natural gas car. Very nice, clean, and efficient!

I am still leaning towards biodiesel, with a veggie oil conversion in the future. So far, it seems to be the most realistic fuel in terms of being a non-fossil fuel, can be self produced, obtained locally, and give me long distance.
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:58 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Point taken on that last line.

A lot of what you just said is the sort of thing I have been reading about and talking to people with.

Biodiesel, ethanol, and other fuels all have advantages and disadvantages (particularly with the cold!) and those things have to be weighed and considered.

That's what I am working on with input from you guys!
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Old 12-09-2008, 09:46 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Yet, at the same time, oil companies were having record profits this summer while home mortgages and Wall Street were going wild.


OK - new rule. No poo-pooing of any one fuel or technology.

Put forward your ideas for what might be the best way for me to get around long distance without using fossil fuels. Focus on the positives and advantages of that fuel or technology, and then also mention what the challenges of it may be.

Fossil fuels are becoming more and more scarce, put too much carbon into the air, and usually send our money to far off places.

I'm working hard to keep with something abundant, carbon-neutral or as close to it as reasonable, and keep my money in my community, state, and country.
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Old 12-10-2008, 12:05 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I really tried hard to convert my car to natural gas. I talked to the gas company, made a few dozen calls, and searched for days on the internet. It is a really good way to run a car without many changes. My problem is the best I could do was get a mexican made conversion kit but no way to fill it at home. When I looked around everyone said the mexican kits are pretty solid but not epa approved, though it doesn't matter around here it might in your area. But I would have to drive 100 miles away to fill it. The home filling system was not for sale, only for lease using a professional installer. Somehow they didn't even think the gas company was able to install it for me and would not sell the setup to me. I thought about using a pump from a nitrous filling station but it seemed like it was going to be a huge amount of work to get the whole thing together.

I eventually gave up on the idea. That was a few years ago and things are probably different now. If you manage to get one set up save your contact information for the companies, I will be right behind you getting it done It is not carbon neutral though.

Moonshine for me is a very good setup also. The weather really doesn't get that cold here and I have lots of people here locally that can help me build a still and a free supply of wood. But making moonshine takes time. It is not really hard to make and once you get the hang of it then making it won't take any thought. Just having to mess with it every few days to keep a good supply flowing might get old. I guess that really depends on how much you actually need though and how much room you can dedicate to a still and barrels. Last time I looked there was some sort of tax break for making moonshine but I have no idea if it is still available or how to get it. If you use a wood fire and scraps instead of food crops it would seem to be pretty carbon neutral.

I have no idea what it takes to use old cooking oil or any other diesel setup. I will find out this summer if I have time because I now have a Kubota diesel tractor that I need about 15 gallons a month at most to operate and it would be nice to use bio stuff in it.
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Old 12-11-2008, 11:08 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Doing some more reading and research, it looks like high-compression engines have all sorts of advantages of standard gasoline engines.

It looks like many propane kits are designed to go on DIESEL engines, and straight alcohol runs best at higher compression as well.

This makes me want to lean towards a diesel engine, as it could potentially run bio-diesel, waste vegetable oil, alcohol, propane, or natural gas.

POSSIBLY, it could even be modified to be a true multi-fuel engine, although I have no idea exactly what that would take.

I did just see a 1983 VW Rabbit for sale on Criagslist (1.6l diesel indirect inject engine) but the guy sold it before ever actually giving me any contact info!!!

As far as I know, there is still those two guys selling the two diesel VW Golfs and 3 engines, but that would be a BIG PROJECT!

One guy I talked to commented about modifying a diesel to run on alcohol, but it sounded like a lot of work. After reading about, and understanding the idea a bit more, it doesn't sound so far-fetched.

A truely clean-burning, high fuel economy engine, in a compact car frame? Maybe I should rethink my earlier rant about the X-prize......... (Other than I still don't have the $5000 to enter!!!)

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