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Old 04-29-2009, 07:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Upcoming national legislation

Attached is an email I received from Set America Free regarding two pieces of legislation in front of our elected officials. The laws require auto manufacturers to make available flex fuel vehicles in large numbers by 2015. Please take the time to read the attachment and let your lawmakers know that you support this initiative (assuming that you do). Thanks for helping!

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Old 04-29-2009, 05:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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flex-fuel ?

I'd like to ask a question about flex-fuel,at least E-85.There is a bit of concern about the wisdom of some alternate fuels,and the actual premise for car makers offering them.With respect to E-85,I understand that this fuel requires about 1.3 gallons for every gallon of gasoline to go the same distance.Some of the vehicles which are configured for flex-fuel get,on the order of 13 mpg.With E-85 they would get on the order of 10 mpg.The car maker,for the sake of CAFE standards,is allowed an EPA rating of 135 mpg for E-85,even though the vehicle gets 10.Is this the right signal to send to the car maker during a time when the US economy is hemoraging $100-billion a year do to low fuel economy.Yes,we'd be burning US corn,but at 10-mpg.Is there wisdom there? I'm away from home and do not have access to my references and if I've made a mistake on these numbers I apologize.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Alcohol fuels (ethanol and methanol) can be made from anything, not just corn. One can make ethanol in one's backyard with inexpensive equipment, sugar, water and yeast. Can't say that for gasoline now, can we? It emits less particulate. The US can produce all the fuel it needs internally from many sources; and every country in the world can do the same, thus stopping the monopoly on oil in it's tracks. I use the fuel because I figure every gallon that I use is one less gallon that a soldier, sailor, marine or airman has to risk his/her life to assure the US access to oil. It's an emotional decision, not one based on "fuel economy".
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerohead View Post
With respect to E-85,I understand that this fuel requires about 1.3 gallons for every gallon of gasoline to go the same distance.Some of the vehicles which are configured for flex-fuel get,on the order of 13 mpg.With E-85 they would get on the order of 10 mpg.The car maker,for the sake of CAFE standards,is allowed an EPA rating of 135 mpg for E-85,even though the vehicle gets 10.Is this the right signal to send to the car maker during a time when the US economy is hemoraging $100-billion a year do to low fuel economy.Yes,we'd be burning US corn,but at 10-mpg.Is there wisdom there? I'm away from home and do not have access to my references and if I've made a mistake on these numbers I apologize.
If the motor is MADE and timed specifically to E85 you can get almost the same mileage, my 1998 Buick running 50/50 mix of gas and E85 got slightly better mileage. Some of the SUV folks who normally got 15mpg would get 14mpg on e85.

It all depends, I think the key with ethanol is like Henry Fords idea, people should have a choice in what they burn e85 at least offers a choice though I STRONGLY disagree with how and what it is made from at the moment.

Something else to note it really should not cost the car makers ANYTHING to have a car able to burn both ethanol and gasoline since it is simply a fuel mix change done by the ECU. Although I would say having the mechanics tuned with higher pressures and different timing would make ethanol only cars more efficient.

If hands off methods can be developed to brew E85 (AKA without fossil fuels) and with higher efficiencies I still think ethanol can be viable but only for a percentage of our energy use but really at the moment its more viable for tropical countries where the ambient temperature is just right for making it.

And I don't disagree with us importing low cost ethanol from countries that can produce it much cheaper due to their crops and environmental factors. cough brazil

We need a large array of alternative energy solutions to make ourselves independant, no one solution is the cats meow but together we might be able to get off oil.

Cheers
Ryan
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogbreath View Post
Alcohol fuels (ethanol and methanol) can be made from anything, not just corn. One can make ethanol in one's backyard with inexpensive equipment, sugar, water and yeast. Can't say that for gasoline now, can we? It emits less particulate. The US can produce all the fuel it needs internally from many sources; and every country in the world can do the same, thus stopping the monopoly on oil in it's tracks. I use the fuel because I figure every gallon that I use is one less gallon that a soldier, sailor, marine or airman has to risk his/her life to assure the US access to oil. It's an emotional decision, not one based on "fuel economy".
Emotional discussions do not result in rational legislation

Because we can doesn't mean that we will. I agree with rmay, we need a hands off approach. We might be able to brew our own ethanol from sugar water and yeast - but being able to home brew says nothing about scaling up. Which is why we all can't be driving diesel motors on waste vegetable oil


Quote:
And I don't disagree with us importing low cost ethanol from countries that can produce it much cheaper due to their crops and environmental factors. cough brazil
I completely disagree with importing from Brazil. Brazil already has enough issues with deforestation. Adding the energy hunger of the United States would be adding more fuel to that forest fire :/



It's not that I'm against alcohol based fuels... I am against our current production of such fuels. Currently, less than 2% of biofuel ethanol is produced from products other than corn and our productivity per acre is very low (less than half) compared to the model country (Brazil).

Cellulosic ethanol just isn't ready for commercialization (yet). It's foolish, in the short term (2015), to rely on a technology that hasn't come to fruition yet. I think that's where more focus should be


And just because this thread reminded me... Here's a research paper I read last year with respect to ethanol emissions
Effects of Ethanol (E85) versus Gasoline Vehicles on Cancer and Mortality in the United States - Environmental Science & Technology (ACS Publications)
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I was going to post a thought out reply, but then read Trebuchet's response and he said what I wanted to say.... Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hopefully 'they' will come up with a viable method to make ethanol from unusable biomatter (corn husks, switchgrass, wood chips, etc) that are now thrown out or plowed under. Other wastes (WVO for example) is a good example of using material for transportation that would otherwise just be landfill.

But as said, these are future plans and projections. Ethanol produced in the US still relies on foreign oil.

Corn ethanol just doesn't make much sense as it uses at least or perhaps more energy (i.e. diesel fuel for the tractor, etc.) to produce than it puts out as an automotive fuel. (from various reports)

Only reason it is presently economically viable is because corn ethanol is subsidized. According to the USDA it would take 35% of all US corn production to replace 10% of US gasoline use - not counting the fuel, fertilizer, transportation cost, etc. to bring it to market, which replaces gasoline/automotive use for diesel/agricultural use in a roughly even swap.

In other words, corn ethanol provides zero movement away from foreign oil... and probably does nothing to improve GHG and other emissions.

That aside from the ethics of using food crops as fuel. May change in the future, but we're not there yet.

Save liquid fuels for applications that need them - airplanes, heavy transport, long distance and unique situations that require the energy density of those fuels. Petro for daily, routine automotive use during a 20-30 mile commute is a waste of resources. But as with cellulosic ethanol, aside from a few homemade or the rare surviving factory example, electrics are mostly the 'future' as well.

Home made 'fuel' will be (actually is...) easiest for Electrics - just put a few solar panels on the roof of the garage, and there you are...

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