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#### Electric Eye

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##### Is Ethanol really worth it?
« on: May 09, 2007, 11:47:00 am »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20070509/cm_usatoday/ethanolgoldrushcarriescoststoyourtable;_ylt=AkRbTtOJpK13gQayb9I43SjMWM0F

Has anyone else noticed that we are still dependent on oil even if we crank out ethanol out the yin-yang? It still takes far more energy to produce ethanol than it does for gasoline, and as the article stated "And for what? The purpose of a massive ethanol program is to make America less dependent on oil. That it would do, at least at the margins. But, ironically, it could also make the nation more dependent on oil prices. The more corn replaces oil, the more agricultural prices would rise and fall in tandem with it. Every crisis in the Middle East would generate pain at the grocery store as well as at the pump, and would cause farmers to prosper or suffer, depending on whether they grow crops or raise animals."

Whatever happened to the fuel cell autos and trucks we were supposed to have on the priority list? That technology has been around for at least ten years and so far only Cali has led the way with a few fuel cell stations in operation.

http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/FuelCellToday/FCTFiles/FCTArticleFiles/Article_1110_Infrastructure%20survey%202006.pdf

I guess we need to let China and India and Europe lead the way as usual...

#### Nemesis

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2007, 08:28:42 pm »
Ethanol can be used in fuel cells as well.
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#### Grand Master of Shadows NCC37385

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2007, 09:59:36 am »
It isnt just that ethanol costs more than gasoline to produce, its that it takes almost as much energy to produce ethanol as is contained in ethanol.

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#### Lieutenant_Q

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2007, 10:54:40 am »
Anyone ever fill up on this so-called E-85 stuff?

I've heard that you can expect a significant drop in fuel efficiency.  So, yeah, your saving 10 - 15 cents per gallon at the pump, but you need to fill your tank again in 75% of the miles that you used to.  Is that savings?  Or is it just something to make you feel good?
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

#### Electric Eye

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2007, 12:42:57 pm »
You lose about 1/3 of the mileage that gasoline powered autos get.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/ethanol-10-06/overview/1006_ethanol_ov1_1.htm

Yet look at what pro-ethanol manufacturers want you to believe! Sounds like someone is trying to sugarcoat so they can get more people dependent on ethanol and have their big bucks for corn, and the refiners get their subsidies, as if the profits from Exxon and Valero and others were not enough already so they gouge us even more?

http://www.iowacorn.org/ethanol/ethanol_3b.html

Q: Doesn’t the use of ethanol-blended fuel cause a decrease in fuel mileage?
A: There are so many variables that relate to fuel mileage, such as the season, the weather, how the vehicle may be driven, etc., that it is hard for the average vehicle owner to accurately check fuel mileage. Every vehicle is somewhat different in driveability characteristics, as well. Some carbureted vehicles that run rich may experience an increase in fuel economy. The most current information derived from controlled environmental testing is that on fuel injected vehicles, fuel mileage may decrease by approximately 2%. A vehicle that averages 30 MPG on the highway would average 29.4 MPG using ethanol-blended fuel, a small price to pay for a cleaner environment.

I'll take Consumer Reports word any day of the week over a pro-ethanol report. They sell the E85 here at the H.E.B. grocery store gas stations in Austin, TX and even customers are bitching about the piss poor mileage.

#### Brush Wolf

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2007, 01:45:51 pm »
Anyone ever fill up on this so-called E-85 stuff?

I've heard that you can expect a significant drop in fuel efficiency.  So, yeah, your saving 10 - 15 cents per gallon at the pump, but you need to fill your tank again in 75% of the miles that you used to.  Is that savings?  Or is it just something to make you feel good?

At this point in time using E85 is really a statement just as driving a hybrid is. The best thing about E85 is the multi fuel capability for spark-ignition engines that compression ignition engines have had for a long time. It is much cleaner burning emissions wise compared to gasoline and in a very high compression engine more power is accessible.
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#### Electric Eye

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2007, 10:05:55 am »
I think the Toyota Prius is more than a statement though, it seats four very comfortably and has a hatchback for cargo, and the biggest thing is it gets killer mpg (In other words, 52-55 mpg actual), something very few compacts can brag about. As for horsepower? Any compact's actual horsepower sucks, but with a set of headers and a better than stock exhaust system you can beef it up, a cold-air induction kit does not hurt either.

Now for the midsize car range? Nothing beats the Camry hybrid.

http://www.toyota.com/camry/specs.html

187 H.P. when the 4 banger and the electric motor are running together, and a very respectable 147 when it is not.

Also, 26k is far less expensive than hybrids of old, like when Prius first came out. The first model Prius was more expensive than today's hybrid Camry! It just shows the Japanese were not kidding when they told everyone that within 5 years of the release of the Prius they would have their manufacturing lines of the Prius and future hybrid models becoming more and more efficient.

Last, where else do you get a tax-break on the purchase of a car? Nowhere except for the Hummer, and that just showed the stupidity of our politicians, as people who bought Hummers for "business uses" could recoup 100% of what they paid for it, at our taxpayer expense of course.

#### Brush Wolf

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2007, 02:24:01 pm »
"I think the Toyota Prius is more than a statement"

I still think they are more of a statement and that sales are being driven more because of the tax break than the mileage. Also factor in the end of life disposal cost because of the battery pack and they lose much of their luster.
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#### Electric Eye

• Posts: 484
##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2007, 07:12:13 pm »
http://www.hybridcars.com/faq.html

How often do hybrid batteries need replacing? Is replacement expensive and disposal an environmental problem?
The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the car maker.

Battery toxicity is a concern, althoug today's hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled. There's no definitive word on replacement costs because they are almost never replaced. According to Toyota, since the Prius first went on sale in 2000, they have not replaced a single battery for wear and tear. Hmmmmm, I wish Toyota would give me money back for my gasoline engine when it needs an overhaul. You really think the Japanese (Who have some of the highest number of people per square miles) would really make a toxic hazard with no place to dump it? #### Brush Wolf • Lt. Commander • Posts: 1685 • Gender: ##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it? « Reply #9 on: May 11, 2007, 08:01:41 pm » Maybe a better question is how many years are those batteries good for? They are saying lifetime of the vehicle however, at the same time they are saying eight to ten years yet many cars are in use for much longer than ten years with twenty being fairly easy to attain with good maintenance. I am alright, it is the world that is wrong. #### Nemesis • Captain Kayn • Global Moderator • Commodore • Posts: 12504 ##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it? « Reply #10 on: July 03, 2007, 11:09:35 pm » Link to full article Quote Working at a central lab facility in the San Francisco Bay Area, researchers will create new forms of life that will produce ethanol with unprecedented efficiency. This field of science -- synthetic biology -- will be used to make crops that are extremely tough and productive. Optimized plants will push the limit of fuel production per acre of land. The same laboratory techniques will be used to design organisms that convert plant material into fuel in the most cost-effective manner possible. Even if genetic engineering is not used plants can be conventionally bred for better yields. It has worked on rice, wheat and corn for millenia just to name 3. Do unto others as Frey has done unto you. Seti Team Free Software I believe truth and principle do matter. If you have to sacrifice them to get the results you want, then the results aren't worth it. FoaS_XC : "Take great pains to distinguish a criticism vs. an attack. A person reading a post should never be able to confuse the two." #### Lloyd007 • Commander • Posts: 4150 ##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it? « Reply #11 on: July 04, 2007, 08:36:15 am » My uncle (who is a farmer) thinks ethanol is one of the stupider concepts ever devised but he doesn't mind cause corn is 3 bucks a bushel and climbing. Basically when you see farmers grinning over high prices you run the other way... If we were truly serious about oil and stuff we'd all get diesel engined cars. No tradeoffs, no battery pack worries, more horsepower and 40+ mpg. It's one of the few things from Europe I think we should welcome with open arms but we don't. Today's diesel engines supposedly can start at -40f and with low sulphur and biodiesel they aren't the sooty things of yesteryear. Altho my Ford isn't too bad either, 27mpg for a 5000 mile trip loaded with 1000+ pounds of people and luggage over the Appalachians and Black Hills (yes I know everyone hates Ford but truthfully we've never had any problem with them and imo a lot of their problems can be summed up in two words "Bad Marketing") #### Electric Eye • Lt. Junior Grade • Posts: 484 ##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it? « Reply #12 on: July 05, 2007, 10:57:23 am » I'm glad to hear good things about a Ford, even though I'm a Camryman myself. Now, if one of my neighbors could just quit double parking his 07 Ford Fusion, I'd be happy. No, it's not the fact that it's Ford, it's the fact that while others sleep in the desert and eat crap and get shot at, he is on his holier than though trip, which is a serious no-go in my book. My Camry is worth far more than his Fusion. Although they ALL depreciate, which makes me a sucker like the rest of em. #### Lloyd007 • Commander • Posts: 4150 ##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it? « Reply #13 on: July 05, 2007, 11:51:53 am » Problem I've always had with Japanese cars is none of the ones I've ever sat in or driven have remained comfortable to me for more than 1/2 an hour (altho I admit to not sitting in or driving a lot of makes and models I have sat in my fair share of Camrys and Accords and Altima's and such). Also you couldn't even begin to fit the amount of luggage and souvenirs and other stuff we can fit into almost any Ford vehicle. This last trip was 4 large suitcases and 10 big bags of other stuff and we still rode in comfort for 5000 miles. Heck I sometimes wonder about the sturdiness of Japanese cars as well. Anecdotal story here but my brother got into an accident trying to pull out of a parking lot when some idiot tried to make a right turn from the left turn lane... his car... 2005 brand new for the time Accord... my bro's car... 99 Grand Marquis land yacht. The guy tears off half his car at 15 mph and incurs 6k worth of damage (all the paneling and the 2 doors had to be replaced and I saw the damage from court photos it looked gruesome). Damage to my brother's car... a small hole in the front bumper that would have been costly to repair as everything is these days but is definitely only cosmetic and barely visible so who cares? Heck the car I drive now is a tank the Ford Five Hundred (now renamed back to the Taurus since someone finally wised up a bit) has the safest crash tests of any large sedan for the three years its been in production. The sad thing is they don't even advertise them at the DEALERSHIP! I went in to get my oil changed after the trip and looked around there were NO brochures or spots for brochures for my car! I mean WTF are they thinking people will just magically know Ford makes these . I really wonder what is wrong with Ford marketing these days they seem to be dumber than a bag of rocks. They make cars and in my experience they make very nice cars but you wouldn't know they existed aside from the F-150 which despite the fact that all car magazines and Consumer Reports loathes is still in real world driving so much better than the offerings from Toyota or Honda or Dodge or even Chevy nowadays (again anecdotal but my uncle had some neighbors who got suckered into Toyotas and I'm sorry I know you like them but each and every one of them had massive computer/electrical failures trying to do heavy farm work after only a year while my uncle has never had any problems at all with his newer Ford trucks and old 1984 model Chevy truck (well aside from seat cushions needing replacement after so long) #### Commander Maxillius • You did NOT just shoot that green sh-t at me?!? • Lt. Commander • Posts: 2299 • Gender: ##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it? « Reply #14 on: July 05, 2007, 04:08:08 pm » I'm glad to hear good things about a Ford, even though I'm a Camryman myself. Now, if one of my neighbors could just quit double parking his 07 Ford Fusion, I'd be happy. No, it's not the fact that it's Ford, it's the fact that while others sleep in the desert and eat crap and get shot at, he is on his holier than though trip, which is a serious no-go in my book. My Camry is worth far more than his Fusion. Although they ALL depreciate, which makes me a sucker like the rest of em. And your Camry will continue to be worth more. When you drove it off the lot, your Camry lost$1000 of its value.  That Fusion lost $5000. I was never here, you were never here, this conversation never took place, and you most certainly did not see me. #### Brush Wolf • Lt. Commander • Posts: 1685 • Gender: ##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it? « Reply #15 on: July 05, 2007, 05:26:12 pm » I'm glad to hear good things about a Ford, even though I'm a Camryman myself. Now, if one of my neighbors could just quit double parking his 07 Ford Fusion, I'd be happy. No, it's not the fact that it's Ford, it's the fact that while others sleep in the desert and eat crap and get shot at, he is on his holier than though trip, which is a serious no-go in my book. My Camry is worth far more than his Fusion. Although they ALL depreciate, which makes me a sucker like the rest of em. And your Camry will continue to be worth more. When you drove it off the lot, your Camry lost$1000 of its value.  That Fusion lost \$5000.

Resale value is meaningless if you are like me and drive a car for so long that the next owner is the junk yard. Seven years and still going on my 1990 Pontiac and while she has gotten a bit beat up over the years and is starting to rust I would drive her anywhere the road goes. Not having a payment is the best option to have on a car.
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#### Nemesis

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2007, 07:44:11 pm »

Quote
Cellulosic ethanol can contain up to 16 times more energy than is required to create it! If that doesn't sound ridiculously impressive, consider that gasoline contains only 5 times more energy than was required to create it and corn ethanol is totally lame, containing only 1.3 times the energy required to create it.

Quote
Range fuels will be creating its ethanol from wood chips, which contain a very large amount of energy (think fire.) The plant, which will be completed in 2008, will create over 100 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Think of it as a pilot project. If we can create carbon-neutral fuel from waste economically in 2008, then we're on a good path to dodge peak oil completely. We need to move fast for it to happen. But this is a sign that we might be ready for the challenge.

Do unto others as Frey has done unto you.
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#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2007, 09:57:41 am »
The majority of oil is refined for chemicals needed for industrial manufacture. Until the internal combustion engine came along, Petroleum was just a waste product left over from distillations.

If all vehicles stopped using oil based fuels, they'd have the problem of what to do with Petroleum waste again.

As usual the niave Greens don't actually have nuch of a clue about the real facts about oil. If we have no cars, they reason, we won't need to drill for oil.

VERY BIG WRONG!!

We will still need oil for all the other things we use it for, such as lubricants, plastics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, metlurgicals, etc. We don't drill for oil soley for fuel reasons as this is just a byproduct.

Geoligust estimate, at current consumption, we have enough oil reserves for just over 500 years. And that is before we start poking around under the deep oceans.

The Greens seems to always mistake the the statement that Dubai will run out of oil in the next 50 years, as the World will run out of oil in the next 50 years. Then the propoganda about "How we need to push for alternative power sources and stop using cars", etc. based around this mistaken premise.

I think that because the public could see that they were wrong over this caused the latest CO2 scam. Unfortunately, the figures don't add up here either and the public is skeptical once again.

I'm for some Green issues such as landfill, chemical waste, recycling, polution, etc. but the CO2 thing is a crock, investigate the way the theory contradicts science facts and laws of Physics, history, etc.

Even if all the vehicles were not fossil fuel powered, we'd still need oil for lubricants for the vehicles.

Before oil, we used to depend on Whale oil for lubricants, fuel, chemicals, etc. and look what damage that did to the envioronment!!

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#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2007, 11:11:38 am »
Combustion is combustion, to produce the same amount of energy from a hydrocarbon fuel, the same amount of CO2 must be produced. I have worked out the balanced equations to prove it. (octane vs ethanol) Do a little chemistry research. The drive for ethanol fuels is an effort to protect the future of the parts industry for internal combustion engines (which just happen to wear parts out quite efficiently).

Granted, incomplete combustion of ethanol in worn engines does not produce the same combustion byproducts, but the main enemy CO2 is unaffected.

Candu nuclear technology is the best possible solution with current technology, however the irrational fear of nuclear power makes this very difficult. If you wish to debate the irrationality of this fear then please research why Candu reactors are the best in the world and could never produce a Chernobyl type event.

I suspect this discussion belongs in a different forum, while technical, it can go political and go south very fast. Keep it technical.

#### Just plain old Punisher

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2007, 02:46:39 pm »
Eh, we've had a couple of close calls on nuclear power. Three mile island being one of them. The problem is that the permit process can take up to 10 years, with tens to hundreds of millions in investments before even a watt of electricity is generated.

And the problem of storing and transporting the waste also comes into question. No one wants the waste going through their town, much less being stored near their town.

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#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2007, 10:02:44 pm »
Ethanol can be spiced up with a good shot of Toluene!! It is Toluene that gives gasoline its oomph.

With out Toluene, you just have lighter petrol and that won't power an engine.

Leaded Tetra Ethanol gasoline was between 20 and 24% Toluene, which is why engines put out more power on this than with unleaded. They had to drop the Toluene content (the energy compnent in gasoline) to keep the Octane level high.

And for thise who still confuse Octnae ratings with potentcy of gasoline, it isn't measuring that at all!!The Octane rating just specifies how much the fuel can be compressed before it self ignites (diesels) and causes "Pinking" and "Knock" in the engine. Tetra Ethanol Leaded gasoline allowed higher energy content in the fuel whilst keeping the Octane rating high.

Diesel fuel has a very low Octane rating, obviously, by comparison.

Unleaded originally was 8% Toluene to Inert Xylene and Petrol mix. They gradually brought it up to 12%. generaly, in the UK, unleaded gasoline has about 80% of the energy content as the leaded gasoline it replaced. The result is that vehicles have a poorer MPG rating than they originally did and poorer performance.

Racing Fuel is 86% Toluene mixed with Xylene. That's what race cars and bikes run on.

I used to drag race bikes in the Ultimate Strret Bike class, here in the UK, back in the late 1980's. Unlike other classes such as Top Fuel, etc. we could run all kinds of concoctions.n

OK, Top Fuel is Methanol mixed with Nitric Acid (Nitro Methanol)

Anything mixed with Nitric Acid goes bang very well.... Nitric Acid and Cod Liver Oil = Nitro Glycerene, Nitric Acid and Mercury = Formanite of Mercury (percusion caps on bullets, etc.)

I used to use Nitric Acid cold mixed with Toluene (Nitro Toluene). If the same mixture was mixed at boiling point then I'd have Tri-Nitro Toluene (TNT), which would have made my bike go like a bomb for sure.

So how does an ebgine run on this highly corrosive fuel??

OK we put some in a Suzuki GP100 comuter bike, which has a stock speed of 70 MPH exactly. It made 94 MPH!!

I managed to pull a 1/4 mile in 9..91 seconds on a stcok Suzuki GT550B 3 cylinder 2 stroke and fragment the clutch basket with the monster torque increase whilst doing it!! The Suzki GT550B is not a a light bike at 651 Pounds weight and carrying a 188 Pound rider.

Ethanol would work better if they spiced it up with Toluene and Nitric Acid!!

Having worked with electric propulsion motors I can state the following.

Right a 2 stroke engine is 3 times as powerful than a 4 stroke of the sam capacity. A 1 litre 2 stroke enegine has the same power output as a 3 liter 4 strioke engine.

2 strokes reburn their own exhaust gases for extra power (Klaaden Principle), 4 strokes dump unburnt fuel out of the exhaust pipe.2 Strokes are actually cleaner, N2O wise, than 4 strkes!! Ironically, 2 stroke don't need a catalytic converter as they only produce traces of N2O and not the huge farts of the gas out of the tail pipe.

Right, now an electric motor produces 5 times more power than a 2 stroke motorr of the same mass!!

It is only the lack of development of the fuel ceel that is holding back the electirc car and motrcycle. The mass of batteries and their limited range plus long charging times has what has been holding up the electric car, not oil companies, whose lubricants will still be required.

As for nuclear power.... if they plough the money into Fusion research or Sub attomic Impulse or Zero Point research, we'd have more progress.

Iceland uses Geo Thermal power and has since the 1970's.

Solar power is a bit feeble, from my experiences. The amount of power per square inch is abismal atthe moment, but is a vast improvement over what it was 15 years ago.

I can see solar power creeping into the home in subtle ways. For instance, occasionally used household appliances could be battery powered and charged up by a solar panel outside.

Take a Kettle, for instance. This is used maybe a few times a day. The stand it sits on could contain a battery and this could be under constant charging from a external solar panel. The same could be said of Torches (we already have those solar garden lights), Dust Busters, DIY Cordless Drills, Radios, Food Mixers, Cell Phone, etc.

A lot of occasional use low powered devices aound the home, could be charged up by solar power.

I use solar powered fans around the home and also have been using solar panels to charge up spare motorcycle batteries. A few friends have started doing the same.

In theory I could hook up tis Laptop to a 12 Volt £10 solar panel and charge up the battery on this for free, instead of paying for the power through the mains adapter.

Now if the world wakes up to this idea, well then....

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!

#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2007, 11:15:29 pm »
Eh, we've had a couple of close calls on nuclear power. Three mile island being one of them. The problem is that the permit process can take up to 10 years, with tens to hundreds of millions in investments before even a watt of electricity is generated.

And the problem of storing and transporting the waste also comes into question. No one wants the waste going through their town, much less being stored near their town.

Three mile Island was certainly not a Candu reactor. Canada has no problem disposing of nuclear waste. We can even burn in it our fast-breeder reactors that we do not sell internationally.

Damn greenpeace stopped shipments of bomb grade plutonium to Canada for safe disposal. That was dumb. Canada is the safest place in the world for disposal of nuclear waste and bomb grade fissile materials. Though I suspect that Greenpeace only objected to the transportation of the materials.

I am making this post using energy generated by an early Candu running since the 80's not a single incident except one where a wacked out manager spiked the juice dispenser with heavy water... (WTF?).

Point Lepreau is even going to be refurbiushed to allow it to run safely for another 25 years. It CANNOT meltdown, it is impossible. It does not produce bomb grade waste... the ony drawback is the rquirement for heavy water cooling, but that is well worth the gains.

I would be proud to have a Candu in my backyard, or even a fast breeder to dispose of messes made by other countries.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 11:33:04 pm by Bonk »

#### Dash Jones

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2007, 11:22:27 pm »
Where would I get small portable solar panels if I want to do something similar as what you are doing with the solar panels?
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Now where in the Bible does it say if someone does something stupid you should shoot them in the face?"

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#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2007, 11:25:50 pm »
And for thise who still confuse Octnae ratings with potentcy of gasoline, it isn't measuring that at all!!The Octane rating just specifies how much the fuel can be compressed before it self ignites

Nope. Octane ratings are a measure of the quality of gasoline. (the reason European gasoline can be used in small aircraft, as eu gasoline is of higher quality).

Octane (CH3CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH2CH3 - that's n-octane, there are iso-octanes as well) is the primary constituent of gasoline and the more of it the better. Trace toluenes and other aromatics may enhance combustion in some engines, however is guaranteed to produce more combustion byproducts (other than CO2 and H2O that are pollutants that contribute to smog and ill health - especially if you ride a bike in the city).

A little methanol (about 150 mL) from time to time is good to flush out any water that has condensed in the tank or lines and to prevent freezing of said water in very cold conditions.

I'm a chemist (well, former chemist) with 15 years experience in industry, government, university and public sector labs. I know my solvents.

Now, I'll take a look at the rest of your post. (I'm not trying to be confrontational here, I just like a good techie discussion! )

#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2007, 11:34:38 pm »
Where would I get small portable solar panels if I want to do something similar as what you are doing with the solar panels?

I would go to Canadian Tire or Princess Auto, both have good deals on solar panels and power systems.

#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2007, 12:14:00 am »
I bought my solar panels from a Maplins chain store. Sort of like Radio Shakc but a lot bigger. A electronics superstore that provides for home and industry.

They cost me £9.99 each.

Power output is 16 Volts @ 1/11th of an ampere. They're intended to trickle charge boat and car batteries. MIne are on the inside of the garage window, which just happens to face the midday sun square on, and held on wit suction cups (provided). The panels look just like the mirror thing that a barber holds behind you to show you the back of your head.

I used to mix my own fuel for drag racing, bying the Nitro Toluene in a special safety flask from the PJ1 oil company, if I remember right.

Anyhow, the container flask , which would not look out of place in a Bond film, had the best safety warning I've ever seen on anything in my life....

WARNING!! NITRO TOLUENE!! FATAL IF SWALLOWED!! IN EVENT OF INGESTION NOTIFY CORONER!!

We used to mix it with leaded gasoline to suit, using cups fixed to brrom handles, wear protective goggles and gloves. On and always out doors and up wind of the stuff!!

The exhaust fumes were also pretty foul from the drag bike too!! I wouldn;t say that the taste it left in the mouth was bad, but it used to last for days afterwards and nothing would take it away.

The fact remains that the energy content of unleaded fuel is 80% lower than the leaded it replaced, when one lokks at the Calorific values. Performance of classic vehicles is down and fuel consumption is up. MOst of my classic bikes are 15 to 25 MPH slower than they were.

Also unleaded increases cylinder and ring wear on older non-Nickaseal coated bores. The wear rate is 5 times higher than that of an engine run on unleaded, due to the increased acidity of the fuel. I use Tin pellets on one bike to try to drop the acid content, but if I've just filled up, they have no effect.

The lead in te feul was also to drop the acidity of the fuel. The additives they put in recently have dropped it a bit more since teh early days, but unleaded does wear out engines a hell of a lot quicker than leaded ever did.

It is a cmmon fact known to mechanocs everywhere.

The addives are another pain in the butt to mechanics as the residue leaves "fish paste" in the fuel systems.

I might try some Ethanol in one of my bikes for a comparison test. 2 strokes will happily run on fuels that 4 strokes would just refuse to start on. I've seen a 2 stroke bike run on Methalated Spirits and Mazola Oil. Also Parafin and 2 stroke oil. I ran a 2 stroke 350cc bike and sidecar on pure Diesel for a few hundred miles and it ran batter. I returned it to Petrol just out of paranoia.

Converting a 4 stroke to another fuel type requires cylinder head alterations, valve duration adjustments and a whole host of fettling. I've a friend who converts petrol bikes to run on Methanol for Grass Track Racing.  He explained some of the science to me years ago. It yakes a lot of redesign and machining of the cylinder heads for the new fuel to run well.

General Motors reckon that by 202 cars will be either powered bya Direct Injected 2 stroke engine or somethng else. The N2O emissions problems that 4 stroke engines suffer will eventually kill them off.

Here's another ironic fact that was in an industry magazine a few months ago.... If you fit a catalytic converter onto a 4 stroke engine to reduce its N2O emmissions a few percent, you trebble its CO2 emissions!!

Roll on cheap fuel cell technology!!

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!

#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2007, 12:28:54 am »
OK Panzer, I just read the read of your post and yes, aromatic rich fuels may be good for racing engines designed for them, however I would strongly advise against putting millions of such engines on the roads, as it would aggravate smog, acid rain and make cycling or jogging in the city near impossible without a respirator. Toluene and xylenes are present in gasoline as they co-distill in the tower at the refinery. Better fractional distillation takes more time energy and equipment, thus the higher price of higher grade gasolines.

Aside: n-octane is odourless, iso-octane has a faint minty smell (and nearly pure works great in a zippo lighter!), toluene and xylene are responsible the majority of the smell of gasoline, each with a similar but distinct odour... at one point I could even distinguish ortho, meta and para xylene by smell... solvent exposure was one reason I left chemistry...

As for fuel cells, well, again - combustion is combustion is combustion... CO2 is the enemy, and fuel cells still produce it even if not through traditional combustion but by catalysed oxidation (which is equivalent to combustion for all intents and purposes), though they would burn cleaner than internal combustion engines.

I still maintain (and have for the last 20 years) that flywheels for storage and power supplied by Candu nuclear reactors is a solution that could be implemented today, with existing technology, would solve many problems and work great, yet it does not happen.

Is ethanol worth it? No.

Ethanol is a great government approved narcotic for the masses and an excellent antiseptic and multipurpose solvent, but it is not a solution to the problem of anthropogenic CO2. In fact ethanol is much worse than gasoline for anthropogenic CO2 because not only is the same amount of CO2 generated in combustion for the same amount of energy, but huge amounts of CO2 are generated in the fermentation process (perhaps even more than the CO2 produced by the combustion of the produced ethanol itself?). Ethanol, therefore is much worse for the environment than gasoline and also has the undesireable effect of raising the price of food.

P.S. Panzergranate, how did you find us here at Dynaverse.net? You fit right in! I enjoy reading all of your technical posts.

#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2007, 03:17:54 pm »
The fact that 98% of the world's CO2 comes from the oceans seems to have escaped some people. Perhaps if we increased the polution there we could bring down the global CO2 emmisions.

The Sun's past energy output hike, over the past decade and a but, is what is driving climate change. The effects on the Ionisphere has been aparent to radio operators for years and is inccreasing, hence the move towards digital television and radio, to cope with the "skip"  and "lift" interference. This used to be in 11 year cycles, now it is continuous.

Another problem with the Sun's increased activity is the increased untraviolet radiation we receive here on the Earth. Noticed how we have to use higher and higher factor sun blockers over the years.

The 1% CO2 the total human race produces has no effect on the climate. It is a good "King Canute" cover scam to keep our eyes off of the ball.

Climatologists and Cosmologists have been trying to point out that CO2 isn;t the problem.

As for the smog thing with Toluene.... It took the best part of a week to loose the taste of the exhaust fumes from my drag bike when I follwed a mte riding it on a test ride on lacal roads.

Electric poweris the way forward but is held up by battery and power generating technology.

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!

#### Nemesis

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2007, 08:36:39 pm »
Combustion is combustion, to produce the same amount of energy from a hydrocarbon fuel, the same amount of CO2 must be produced. I have worked out the balanced equations to prove it. (octane vs ethanol) Do a little chemistry research. The drive for ethanol fuels is an effort to protect the future of the parts industry for internal combustion engines (which just happen to wear parts out quite efficiently).

Granted, incomplete combustion of ethanol in worn engines does not produce the same combustion byproducts, but the main enemy CO2 is unaffected.

The plant which produced the ethanol removes CO2 from the atmosphere in the production then we return it in the combustion.  The net change in CO2 is zero.
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#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2007, 10:50:34 pm »
Nemesis,

Fermentation by yeast releases CO2, as the yeast respire while consuming the grain. Growing corn may fix carbon, but fermentation releases huge amounts of it. A typical large whisky distillery here in Canada can produce over 10 tons of CO2 per day through fermentation alone. (Now scale that up to fuel production levels...) Then when you burn the ethanol there is additional CO2 released of course. Ethanol as a fuel is most certainly a net source of atmospheric CO2. It is not neutral.

Panzer,

The oceans are a carbon sink, not a source. (e.g. Great Barrier Reef) As well as the aqueous carbonic acid - carbon dioxide equilibria, yada yada yada...

I will not discuss this any further here, as it is too much a matter of religion and politics for most while science is ignored. I had decided some time ago not to care anymore anyway despite the knowledge I have. I have no kids and never will.

There is no sense fighting or worrying about something you cannot change. As I get older, more and more I realise that we are here for a good time, not a long time, and there is no sense being miserable fighting an unwinnable battle. The future of humanity is at stake, but what do I care I'll be dead in 20-30 years anyway.

So... lets go find some good radio and electronics or software threads for neat discussions, I like those. I don't know much about radio but I find it fascinating. My father was into ham radio for a while and still has a lot of gear around. I know electronics and radio as far as mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance are concerned but not really so much for actual radio use, which I find most interesting to read about.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 11:07:57 pm by Bonk »

#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2007, 09:12:06 am »
Climatologists and Biologists will disagree with this.

The fact is that most life lives in the ocean. Life stated there and that's where the greatest diversity is. The wildlife documentaries and Biologist keep expounding this fact.

When the Sun is at an energy output high, Plankton thrive (they produce CO2), things eat them and thrive (more CO2) and so on all the way up the food chain. That's way the oceans make most of the CO2. It is a biological fact.

Some CO2 is absorbed by Crustaciians in their shells and later as Limestone. However, not that much. If CO2 was absorbed by the oceans, animate life couldn't exist in it.

Another fact is that CO2 levels were 4 times higher during the 1940's then they are now. We suffered the coldest winters of the 20th century during the 1940's!!

Having reviewed climate changes in written history (the last Global Warming event started in 900 AD, peaked at +6 Degrees Celsius between 1200 and 1400 AD and dropped to eventually cause 150 year Mini-Ice Age during the 1600 to mid 1800s. Back then it was the Sun that drove it, not us.

It does amaze me that  they are making such a fuss about Greenland returning to the state the Vikings found it in back in the 1,000's, with forests, vegetaion,  teeming with game and ready for agriculture.

Having worked with both internal combustion engines and propulsion electric motors, the future is with electric power. On the torque per weight comparison, a twin field suirrel wound electric motor produces more torque and accelerates far quicker than any internal combustion engine. All that has ever held up the electric vehicle industry is batteries and electrical storage.

A friend is building an electric motorcycle. He's replaced the crankshaft with the brushless electric motor (electric vehicles still need flywheels, clutches  and gearboxes) and is aiming to build a 60 to 70 MPH 20 mile range bike. Only the weight of the batteries limit range and performance. It will be fuel cell ready, whenever they appear cheaply on the market. It's just a fun project at the moment.

However, in the meantime, ignoring the CO2 myth, there is a need to find less smog producing fuels just for cleaner air.

Here's an interesting medical fact.... The average healthy adult human being emits the same levels of CO2 in a year as a family car left running continuously for a year.

If you take regular exercise (jogging, weights, etc.) you can double your CO2 emissions.

Because of how the human digestion system works, eating high fibre and roughage foods with cause increased exhalation of CO2. Strangley enough, Vegans and Vegetarians have higher CO2 exhalations than normal eating omnivorous humans. They are also the types that yell the loudest about reducing Carbon Footprints.

OK so a simple way of reducing your Carbon Footprint is as follows.:-

Be lazy!!

Avoid exercise!!

Eat junk food!!

Drink Beer!!

Play games on a Solar Powered Laptop!!

At this very monent, I'm effortlessly reducing my Carbon Footprint as I type this!!

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!

#### FCM_SFHQ_XC

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2007, 11:44:12 am »
True that most of the CO2 comes from the oceans, however Earth had a delicate balance between CO2 generation and absorption(i.e. Forests grew as CO2 increased which in turn stabilized the CO2 /Oxygen balance. Now even the slightest addition or subtraction of this balance will cause it to go out of whack. While industrial grow would have been compensated with trees growing(as there is more CO2 for them to breath), however since we've prevented the Earth from taking its natural course toward balancing the additional CO2, CO2 levels rise.
Now while I am personally still uncertain if the rise in temps is Human caused global warming or just natural warming, any chance we can get to reduce bad emissions(not just CO2, but ALL lethal and poisonous gases produced is a good thing. Ethanol is just a highly-imperfected method to attain this, and I seriously doubt Ethanol will take over full popularity before other fuels become more cost effective.
Now, while I do think Ethanol is better overall then say Gasoline/Oil(as its more renewable then Gas/Oil), I do think we should be putting more of our money into Hydrogen research as it produces pure water when burned, and also wont have the controversy of high CO2 level productions.

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#### The Postman

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2007, 04:13:51 pm »
panzer, lead was put in gas as a lubricant for valves and valve seats. When the lead was removed from gas is when stellite became so popular for valves and valve seats.

Also Diesel fuel has a Cetane rating instead of octane and it is a measure of the unit energy contained in 1 unit volume.

And yes, Bonk is right, CO2 will be the byproduct of combustion of ANY carbon based fuel no matter what the source was.

#### Nemesis

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2007, 09:17:39 pm »
Nemesis,

Fermentation by yeast releases CO2, as the yeast respire while consuming the grain. Growing corn may fix carbon, but fermentation releases huge amounts of it. A typical large whisky distillery here in Canada can produce over 10 tons of CO2 per day through fermentation alone. (Now scale that up to fuel production levels...) Then when you burn the ethanol there is additional CO2 released of course. Ethanol as a fuel is most certainly a net source of atmospheric CO2. It is not neutral.

Where does the carbon and oxygen that is released as CO2 come from?  The Oxygen from the air and the carbon from the plant material.  Where did the plant get the carbon in the 1st place?  From the air, it extracted carbon from the CO2 and released the oxygen.  The fermentation merely completes the cycle and is still carbon neutral, extracting from the air then returning it.

Do unto others as Frey has done unto you.
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I believe truth and principle do matter. If you have to sacrifice them to get the results you want, then the results aren't worth it.
FoaS_XC : "Take great pains to distinguish a criticism vs. an attack. A person reading a post should never be able to confuse the two."

#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2007, 09:40:16 pm »

The usual way, whilst trawling shipyard sites for suitable models to include in our LAN games here in the UK.

I just happened onto Dynaverse, felt ant home and moved in.

As a qualified engineer I'm trained to question everything, study problems carefully, and expect Sod's Law to throw in many Red Herrings when it come down to discovering the real causes of any problem....

As Enstien once stated, "The Obvious in never always appparent!!"

If the figures don't add up or make snse, then the theory regarding the causes of a problem is in question.

The secret of fixing anything is that if the problem system was working correctly, how would you sabotage it to be in the state it is in now. You then explore all of these options and one will be the poblem. Of course, one needs to understand how the system works in the first place.

Note: It does not work on women as even God hasn't quite figured out what's wrong with them. However, it was the last time he trusted Microsoft to programme a brain's operating system!!

Being someone who rebulds engines and fixes his own bikes, I experienced forst hand, the damage the early unleaded did to engines.

Since then, it has improved a lot. It is stiil lacking in the performnace that leaded fule gave and MPG figures are lower on vehicles designed for leaded fuel.

The main problem currently with leaded fule, if you ask any mechanic are increased piston ring and cylinder wear on unplated bores.

"Pin Burn" on 2 stroke pistons using Brass ring locator pins. The gasoline disolves them in 10,000 miles.

Poor economy when compared to leaded.

20% drop in engine performnace and output.

The "Fish Paste" sludge that gradually clogs up carbs and fuel systems caused by all the additives now in the fuel.

Apart from that, it runs the engine adequately.

The other thing.... when unleaded first came in, all garages in the UK received Health and Sagety warnings about the increased risk of cancer from direct skin contact with the fuel. Plus the increased flamabilty of the fuel.

The 1980's unleaded was akin to AVGAS when it came to accidental fires. I have first hand experience of a mate accidentally setting first to another mate's bike simply by testing a spark plug half and hour after a few drops of unleaded had been spilt on the engine cases. I was in MY garage at the time!!

I'm hoping that it will continue to improve, as it still has a long way to go!!

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!

#### Bonk

• Commodore
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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #35 on: September 20, 2007, 11:40:58 pm »
I'm glad you found us Panzer. I get the feeling you're an old SFB player too.

I know I said I would not post further on this subject, however I cannot stand scientific misinformation. I gotta get over that, what other people believe is not my problem... that said, take a look at these links:

http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/chemweek/CO2/CO2.html
(Note that the solubility of gases increases as the temperature decreases, so the solubility figure there would be greater for water at typical ocean temperatures.. though colligative effects are also a factor) Take a close look at the equilibra presented there as well.

Quote
If CO2 was absorbed by the oceans, animate life couldn't exist in it.

Horrifically wrong. Not to be ornery, or discredit you, I just like accuracy of information and would prefer if our readers were not misinformed by what they read here.

Also, every single carbon cycle I have ever seen since grade school shows the ocean as a carbon sink.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle
http://www.whrc.org/carbon/index.htm
(note the graph of long term data, there is no peak in the 1940s, there is a steady increase)

Quote
Another fact is that CO2 levels were 4 times higher during the 1940's then they are now.

Not a fact. Again, horrifically wrong. (again, nothing personal).

It never fails to amaze me how much misinformation and propaganda surrounds this issue and who it is coming from. Why are people unable to believe chemists (not biologists) who have studied this stuff as their life's work?

I have no agenda here, simply scientific accuracy. As I implied, I could not care less if the entire world went to hell in a handbasket tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM GMT. I just have a love of scientific knowledge and its accuracy and integrity.

I still maintain that use of ethanol as a fuel in not carbon neutral. I do not have the patience to prove it but I am sure that I can.

Does anybody here understand infra-red spectrophotometry and its implications in this subject? Does anybody here have experience with Fourier transform infra-red spectrophotometry instrument maintenance, data analysis and atmospheric interference and the techniques to get around it? How about gas phase IR spec of synthesised gases such as germane and their purity and the interference that CO2 would represent? I do. This knowledge is very relevant. I have no idea where politicians and environmentalists get off.

Want to know about chemistry? Ask a chemist. What to know about physics? Ask a physicst. (Biology? That's pretty much useless - yay! lets make up and memorise names of structures we do not understand! - a short definition of biology).

Why would you believe a politician or an environmentalist, or a businessman? Why? Why? Why? Are pure scientists like chemists and physicists so unbelievable? Perhaps people just cannot understand us?

Anthropogenic CO2 is significant, and will have an effect.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 11:54:51 pm by Bonk »

#### marstone

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2007, 01:31:05 am »
Have to support Bonk on this topic.  Everything I have read and studied supports him.  Ocean absorbs a huge amount of CO2.  Plankton turns CO2 into O2 just like trees (they are plants after all).  The carbon cycle gets messed up when you take carbon that has been bound and kept out of the cycle and bring it back into it.  (e.g. burning oil, coal.)
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#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2007, 10:48:37 am »
Thanks marstone.

Has anyone else here used the solubility of carbon dioxide in aqueous solutions to adjust pH in the synthesis of organometallic compounds? I have. (with both dry ice and exhaled carbon dioxide)

Now this one I woke up this morning thinking about:
Quote
Here's an interesting medical fact.... The average healthy adult human being emits the same levels of CO2 in a year as a family car left running continuously for a year.

I can't let that go, there is no way that is a "fact". This whole "truthiness" concept has got to go.

Lets work it out. While the lung capacity of a large and healthy human might reach as high as 6L, larger than a performance automobile engine displacement, the average tidal volume of human respiration is in the range of 0.5L. (at "idle")

So lets be conservative and assume a small and efficient car engine with a displacement of 2.0L and an idle speed of 800 RPM. (e.g. a VW Golf, an extremely fuel efficient car)

And a typical human at idle: 0.5L and 30 "RPM".

Since the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in exhaled human breath is certain to be less than that of automobile exhaust, the volume and frequency would have to be equal or greater than that of a car engine...

Do you know anyone who has a tidal lung volume of 2L at rest and a respiration frequency of 800 breaths per minute? That's 13 breaths per second... that's 76 milliseconds per breath... now that is hyperventilation! The resulting respiratory alkalosis would almost certainly be fatal, should such a person be able to remain conscious. This alone should indicate that the human body cannot produce that much carbon dioxide.

I should not need to go any further to prove that "fact" is horrifically false. But let's go the extra mile...

OK, to the nitty gritty:

Lets assume a conservative fuel consumption at idle of approximately one liter per hour. (~16 mL/min)
For the sake of this calculation lets assume gasoline is 100% n-octane.
The density of octane is: 0.7028 g/mL (STP)
The mass of one liter of octane is therefore: 702.8 g
The molecular weight of octane: 114.23 g/mol
The number of moles of n-octane in one liter: 6.15

Assuming complete combustion (which of course is not true at idle):
2 C8H18 + 25 O2 -> 18 H2O + 16 CO2
therefore burning 6 moles of octane (lets ignore the 0.15 - making this estimate even more conservative) will produce 48 moles of CO2.

The molecular weight of CO2 is (12+16+16=44g/mol)
so the mass of those 48 moles of CO2 is 2.112 Kg

So, lets make this estimate even more conservative by assuming less than 50% complete combustion at idle so the idling car engine produces roughly 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide per hour.

Now on to the human:
Exhaled breath is roughly 5% CO2 by mass.
0.5L (the average tidal volume) of air has a mass or approximately 0.636 g
0.05 * 0.636 = 0.0318g
Normal rate of breathing = 15 cycles per minute = 900 cycles per hour
which corresponds to an hourly total respiratory CO2 output of a human at rest of 28.62 g

Car at idle = 1000 g CO2 per hour (very conservative)
Human at idle = 30 g CO2 per hour

Ratio: 1000/30 = 33

So an idling car puts out approximately 33 times more CO2 than a human at rest.

Where are you getting these "facts" Panzer?

To equal the output of an automobile a human would have to breathe at 495 breaths per minute, that's 8.25 breaths per second, or 121 milliseconds per breath. I'm pretty sure that would be fatal under any conditions.

All that said, automobile exhaust is by no means the largest source of anthropogenic CO2, coal and oil fired power plants and cement production would represent a much larger portion of the carbon dioxide that we produce.

You really have to watch these medical "facts". Medicine is not a science, it is an art and will be for quite some time to come. Most medical doctors have no real science background, the majority have biology undergrads, and as discussed, biology is not a science. It irks the hell out of me how biologists and medical researchers are destroying the name of science (example). Worse, the general public does not realise that biologists and doctors are NOT scientists, so we pure scientists get lumped in with these charlatans.

I just might find the motivation to do a detailed carbon analysis of ethanol as a fuel and expect to have a similar result as this analysis.

P.S. My apologies to any doctors or biologists present, it's nothing personal, it's just how I feel.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2007, 11:15:24 am by Bonk »

#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2007, 11:28:50 am »
OK...   PART I - An analysis of the combustion of ethanol and octane:

From an old post of mine on slashdot (I don't care so much anymore):

Quote
Ethanol, burned to produce an equal amount of energy to a specific amount of octane is going to produce an equal amount of carbon dioxide. The whole motivation to use ethanol as fuel is completely misguided. (Or a not so clever ploy.)

Heats of combustion of Ethanol vs n-Octane from my 1989 CRC Handbook (in kilogram calories per gram molecular weight):
Ethanol: 326.68 (~327 kcal/mol ~= 1367 kJ/mol)
n-Octane: 1302.7 (~1303 kcal/mol ~= 5450 kJ/mol)

Complete combustion reactions:
Ethanol: C2H5OH + 3 O2 = 2 CO2 + 3 H2O (-1367 kJ/mol)
Octane: 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 = 18 H2O + 16 CO2 (-5450 kJ/mol)

...equalised by moles of CO2:
Ethanol: 8 C2H5OH + 24 O2 = 24 H2O + 16 CO2 (-10.9 MJ)
Octane: 2 C8H18 + 25 O2 = 18 H2O + 16 CO2 (-10.9 MJ)

So, you can see that to produce equal amounts of energy by combustion of either fuel, one must produce equal amounts of carbon dioxide.

In fact, ethanol from corn will produce more carbon dioxide overall, as the carbon dioxide produced by fermentation of corn to produce ethanol will more than offset the benefits of its relatively clean combustion.

Burning ethanol does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a convenient way for the petrochemical industry to prolong its inevitable death. A number of petro stations in Canada have been selling gasoline with up to 15% by volume ethanol for decades now (Sunoco in particular).

Granted, gasoline is of course not pure n-Octane, and contains lots of other crap. Its mostly the toluenes and related aromatics that give gasoline its smell, pure octanes have very little aroma, slightly minty if anything.

Combustion of gasoline is less likely to be complete, so burning ethanol is going to be cleaner in terms of emissions and will produce fewer toxic byproducts of combustion, but will do NOTHING WHATSOEVER to help global warming. I find it amusing how easily the public and businesses are fooled.

Now, what does make some sense to me is to produce biodiesel from rapeseed (canola) or hempseed (marijuana), in terms of ease of production and sustainability, but again, burning these fuels for energy is not going to help global warming, the same amount of CO2 will be produced.

The answer obviously is CANDU nuclear reactors and electric/flywheel vehicles, but this would destroy the profits of many powerful corporations, and so will not happen under democratic capitalism. The market indices must never decrease, regardless of the cost, even if that cost is the future of humanity. We are on a path to self destruction and violent revolution is the only way out, but I fear that will never happen.

The price of corn has nothing to do with it, feeding the poor has nothing to do with it, its all about protecting the financial interests of those in control. The future of man be damned.

Sleep well.

Coming soon... (if I find the motivation):

Part II - An analysis of carbon fixation by corn.
Part III - An analysis of carbon dioxide output of yeast in fermentation processes.

#### Bonk

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #39 on: September 21, 2007, 11:47:59 am »
Part II(a) - An analysis of carbon fixation by corn.

OK, I already have a pretty much definitive, logically strong and non-chemical counter argument to Nemesis' point about corn fixing carbon during growth offsetting fermentation.

If the land being used to grow corn for ethanol was left alone it would support vegetation that would fix carbon at similar (or greater) rates, and would not be then fermented to produce ethanol and its subsequent combustion. Even if said land was used for normal agriculture the resultling release of carbon dioxide would be far less through human consumption of the produced food products. Ignoring the possibility that the land could be used for non-consumable agricultural products...

That said, I will still consider a detailed analysis of the carbon fixation of growing corn. (Damn carbohydrate chemistry... always a pain.)

#### marstone

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2007, 01:51:29 pm »
Now for the fixation of carbon in the corn to the amount released, I would have to agree that it would be neutral or near neutral in total.  Reason being that a lot of the carbon fixed by the corn would also be in the stalk which would take longer to decompose and release the carbon in it.  The fermentation of the Corn, would release part of the carbon with more of it being fixed in the alcohol produced.  The remainder would be in the corn kernels that would be used as animal feed.  Thus being part of the normal carbon cycle it would be at or near neutral, IMHO.   But the release of the carbon would be faster then normal as the material is being converted and burned.

Bonk, I would say keep posting.  It is interesting to read.  Problem is that so much is put out as fact that is not, and then it is repeated so much that it becomes the truth to the public (who don't have time to research it themselves, or just believe the sources they hear it from).  To many times the facts are partial as the people repeating them take the parts that prove their point and ignore the parts that don't prove it.  Then they say that science has proved it and there is no debate on it anymore.  Sort of the whole global warming thing.  Is it man or just part of the normal cycle of nature?  So keep posting Bonk, nice to read posts from someone who you can tell is analytical and studied.
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#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2007, 05:13:44 pm »
I looked up the fact again and I misquoted it, it stated that a human exhales more CO2 in a year than the family car will in the same period of time. Humans run continuously, cars run sporadicatlly.

The US gevernemnt lifeted their ban on 2 strokes 5 years ago after an in depth science investigation. When the bad was introduced in 1977, it was a knee jerk response to appease envioronmentalists, mot based on any science.

They tested all intermal combustion engines and found out the a 4 stroke engine emits 48% N2O per volume of fuel produced. A 2 stroke produces 2% N2) per volume of fuel burnt.

Because 2 strokes lean burn a more than 3 time the temperatures of a lean burn 4 stokre engine, several other noxious gases are not emitted either.

Back in the 1970's and 1980's any 2 stroke bike owner will remember having to dismantle the exhaust and scrape out a mini coal mind of hard carbon deposits. It used to clog up the exhaust ports, exhuast system, etc.

This was one of the main maintainance hastles of 2 strokes back then and many riders prefered to put up with the lower peformance heavy and bad handling 4 strokes than have to spend hours every few months removing solid carbon from the engine and pipes.

Another thing was seizure due to over heating and lacquering of the rings and bore duirng long high s[eed journeys.

Then synthetic 2 stroke oil replaced the SAE 30 crap, and this became a thing of the past. I've never had to decoke any of my classic 2 strokes in years. They just don't produce the carbon anymore, which is what the report found out as well.

Now computer technology has made Direct Injection 2 strokes, experimented with by the Czech CZ company in 1936, possible. A DI 2 stroke uses no oil in the fuel and the crank runs in the sump. There is no crank induction. The first DI 2T scooter was launched 2 years ago in Italy and does more than 200 UK MPG.

Nissan launched a 2L DI 2T sports car, which has the lowest engine emmsions of any car so far. It s also has the world's most 2 Litre engine so far. remember that a 2 stroke puts produces 2.5 to 3 times the power of a 4 stroke.

Catalytic converters, intended to prevent smog, increase a 4 stroke engine's CO2 emissions and reduces engine effieciency. Car manufactureres are increasing engine size to overcome the power drain by increasing sizes of catalytic cnverters.

The days of the 4 stroke are numbered as GM reckon that by 2020 car will be powered by either DI 2T, electric or something else. They predict that the power drain of the emissions countermeasure attached to 4 stokes will eventually balance out the power produced.

However, though the modern 2 stroke is cleaner than the 4 stroke, the Diesel was, by far the most poluting, in the tests carried out.

A few years ago, a friend in the US, smuggled in a 2000 model Czech JAWA TS 350 2 stroke motorcycle in Johnny Cash "One piece ate a time" style and at great expence to add to his Czech bike collection. A few months after rebuilding it and having it licenced for road use under a pre 1977's bike's chassis number, te 2 stroke ban was listed and he moaned to me that he could now buy one at the local bike dealership for about one third of the expnse!! In fact one of his mate dis just that just to rub it in!!

Out of all the 15 bikes I own, the most poluting is the ROTAX 4 stroke single. It requires engine oil changes evey 3,000 miles, a 2 stroke needs this about once in 15,000 niles or more. The thing is that I have to dispose of a couple of gallons of dirty gear oil every year.

Now gear oil does decompose, very slowly, as it is ancient biomatter. Bacteria does start to break it down, which is why old gear oil smells like a rancid baby's nappy. Our normal way of recycling it is to paint the fence with it or lubricate things. I drain every drop out of oil bottles into oil squirt cans.

The thing is that 4 stroke produce a hell of a lot of waste oil, whch is a pain to figure out what to do with.

I'm still for electric power thrugh fuel cell. Mixing Hydrogen and Oxygen to produce water and electricity appeals to me somehow. The other idea of using a DI 2T running on Hydrogen, which is more feasible than with a 4 stoke engine, is another thing I'd like to play with one day.

At the momentI have a garage chocked full of gel pack batteries, slowly being charged up by solar panels. I'm conducting an experiment to guage the avarage time, in days, it takes to charge up a gel pack batteries. I then run up a 250 Watt 24 Volt chinese propulsion motor and see how long it takes to run out o power. Engineering needs numbers to work with.

I'm also in the middle of patenting the only true precisely controlled variable valve timing system using a special novel morphing camshaft. Any existing 4 sroke engine can be converted to the system with a new or modified cyclinder head. We've managed to convert a 1970's HONDA C70 to run the system, increase its top speed and push its 180 UK MPG past the 200 UK MPG mark.

Can't disclose anything yet as still in patenting.    A friend and myself have been working on this for a few years now. We have the automotive industry's Holy Grail!! :

Anyone who works and understands 4 stroke engines and their major handicaps, will understand how marvelous it would be to have precise control over valve lift, duration and timing. Up until now this has been the theoretical idealised dream 4 stroke engine. Not any more!!

Making thigs Corporate Lawyer proof is so complicated and expensive and probally pointless anyway. The Chinese will just pirate it anyhow (badly).

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#### The Postman

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2007, 06:47:42 pm »

The thing is that 4 stroke produce a hell of a lot of waste oil, whch is a pain to figure out what to do with.

Not a problem, it all goes in my fuel tank.

#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2007, 07:10:49 pm »
If yo put gearbox oil into a 2 stroke's fuel tank you end up destoying the Journak bearings through carbon soot and additiives in the gear oil.

Gear oil in fuel is to 2 strokes whet Asbestos dust is to humans,  one brief exposure always proves fatal.

I've opened up 2 stroke engines for inspection and you can tell that, for one instance somewhere in its life, that some idiot put gear oil into the mixture oiltank or gasoline mix. The Journal  with turn like they have fine sand in them. The crank cases are always covered in carbon soot as well.

Luckily, replacing the Journals is an hour at the most job on a 2 stroke and not the major fatality that it usually is on a 4 stroke. I've run a JAWA 2 stroke 350cc sidecar outfit with the right hand Journal completely devoid of ballbearing for 3 years until the engine decided that I ought to do something about it and blew out the seal.

Dirty oil in the gas tank not only ruins the engine, it also polutes the atmosphere with smog. On the plus side, the exhaust system will stop rusting away and last for dacades!!

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!

#### marstone

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #44 on: September 21, 2007, 09:57:38 pm »
I had read years ago of a head for a diesel that used electronic valves.  The engine has no cam, lifters, rods, etc.  So all the little HP drag of those were removed so the engine was more efficient.  Also the valve timing could be adjusted by the computer.  But haven't seen anything about it for along time now.
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#### The Postman

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2007, 06:55:59 am »
If yo put gearbox oil into a 2 stroke's fuel tank you end up destoying the Journak bearings through carbon soot and additiives in the gear oil.

Gear oil in fuel is to 2 strokes whet Asbestos dust is to humans,  one brief exposure always proves fatal.

I've opened up 2 stroke engines for inspection and you can tell that, for one instance somewhere in its life, that some idiot put gear oil into the mixture oiltank or gasoline mix. The Journal  with turn like they have fine sand in them. The crank cases are always covered in carbon soot as well.

Luckily, replacing the Journals is an hour at the most job on a 2 stroke and not the major fatality that it usually is on a 4 stroke. I've run a JAWA 2 stroke 350cc sidecar outfit with the right hand Journal completely devoid of ballbearing for 3 years until the engine decided that I ought to do something about it and blew out the seal.

Dirty oil in the gas tank not only ruins the engine, it also polutes the atmosphere with smog. On the plus side, the exhaust system will stop rusting away and last for dacades!!

#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2007, 02:13:10 pm »
It still not a good idea to put dirty used oil into the gas tank of any engine.

Just the muck being fed through the fuel system is bad enough, and then there's the crap coming out of the exhaust pipe.

I suppose you bother to filter it or do you just like to clean out the fuel system from time to time??

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#### Nemesis

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2007, 02:24:01 pm »
Part II(a) - An analysis of carbon fixation by corn.

OK, I already have a pretty much definitive, logically strong and non-chemical counter argument to Nemesis' point about corn fixing carbon during growth offsetting fermentation.

If the land being used to grow corn for ethanol was left alone it would support vegetation that would fix carbon at similar (or greater) rates, and would not be then fermented to produce ethanol and its subsequent combustion. Even if said land was used for normal agriculture the resultling release of carbon dioxide would be far less through human consumption of the produced food products. Ignoring the possibility that the land could be used for non-consumable agricultural products...

That said, I will still consider a detailed analysis of the carbon fixation of growing corn. (Damn carbohydrate chemistry... always a pain.)

You have a logic error.

If the land is left alone the plants fix the carbon.  Then they either die and decay, releasing the carbon back as CO2 OR they get eaten and digested, again releasing the carbon as CO2.   Ultimately all the carbon returns to the air, just as if used for fuel or human consumption.   The length of time for that return can be months to centuries depending on the environmental conditions and the plants life cycle (grass returns the carbon quickly, redwoods rather slowly in human terms).

To keep the amount of CO2 in the air from being increased by the burning of fossil fuels you need to remove the carbon on a long term basis (long term being in the geological sense of millions of years) such as by returning it back to the oil fields from which it came.  You would need to be mulching fields of plant life and pumping the resulting mess back into the oil fields from whence the carbon originally came.
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#### Panzergranate

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##### Re: Is Ethanol really worth it?
« Reply #48 on: September 22, 2007, 02:57:46 pm »
There is the long term CO2 release by volcanoes. At the moment Mount Etna is cancelling out all of Europe's CO2 neutral plans!! Nature is always bigger and stronger than humankind's feeble efforts!!

The Carbon Cycle is anything but fragile or deleicate. Saying that the 1% contribution that the whole humna race makes to the Carbon Cycle is like expecting the way 1% of an electorate vote will decide a nationwide election. Fortunately Nature holds the 99% majority in the CO2 vote.

The world's internal combustion engines contribute 0.0002% of the world's CO2 at present and even this is dropping.

CO2 is a Red Herring to distract everyone from asking awkward questions about the obvious increase in Solar UV levels. Anyone else realised that we have been having to use stronger and stronger sunscreens for just over a decade now??

We all know how governments don't tell us things "For our own protection", etc.

The Klingons have many ways to fry a cat. I prefer to use an L7 Fast Battlecruiser!!