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Author Topic: Ethanol  (Read 8658 times)

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Duckweed, the Miracle Biofuel Plant Part 3
« on: October 30, 2013, 10:11:50 pm »
Duckweed is the plant that may save mankind by enabling our species to live symbiotically, instead of parasitically, with the biosphere.

In Part 2 of this article I covered the great potential that duckweed has as the raw material for making everything that the fossil fuel, chemical and pharmaceutical industries uses fossil fuels (hydrocarbons) for now.

But you and I, because we don't have chemical or pharmaceutical laboratories handy, need to concentrate on obtaining ethanol for heating our houses, water, food, running an emergency generator, any internal combustion engine lawn tools (although I recommend you go full electric when they wear out and transition to geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling, electric hand and lawn tools as well as getting solar panels to power your house and cooking appliances) and, most of all, E100 fuel for your car.

Going from gasoline, propane or natural gas to ethyl alcohol is not a simple energy trade; it's an improvement.

Propane and natural gas burn cleaner than gasoline but, as long as they are fossil fuel derived, harm the environment so we should do all we can to stop using them.

Why does burning gasoline result in all that smoke and burning ethanol is so clean?

Without getting into chemistry formulas, what happens with ethanol is that the oxygen is evenly distributed throughout the molecule. Consequently, when it burns in air (which provides the rest of the oxygen needed), all of the ethanol converts to water and carbon dioxide.

Gasoline, however, because it is a hydrocarbon, has just carbon and hydrgen atoms (no oxygen). When it burns (combines with the oxygen in the air) it does not fully react to produce water and carbon dioxide. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, gasoline is a catch all term for a witches brew of hydrocarbons that are distilled from a barrel of crude oil in cracking towers in a refinery that produces the greases, heavy oil, lighter oil lubricants, heating oils, kerosene and whatever is left in the form of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

A note here of clarification: The term "organic" here has nothing to do with food not grown with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. In chemistry, the field of "organic" chemistry generally deals with certain types of carbon compounds so don't let that word "organic" throw you here.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – “Hydrocarbon compounds that have low boiling points, usually less than 100ºC, and therefore evaporate readily. Some are gases at room temperature. Propane, benzene, and other components of gasoline are all volatile organic compounds.” - Art, 1993
The VOCs are nasty, carcinogenic waste products like benzene (causes bone cancer - that is why early automobiles stopped using it as fuel) and several others (the frackers are pumping them into the ground in the USA as we speak which will result in poisoned aquifers in many areas).

Back in the late 19th century, Rockefeller's refineries in Pennsylvania flush these waste products down the rivers at night. Rockefeller convinced Henry Ford to use that waste product (gasoline) in his cars instead of ethanol as had been recommended by Thomas Edison Laboratories working with the U.S. Navy in 1906.

Ethanol was such strong competition for gasoline (U.S. farmers made their own to run their farm machines and cars) that it wasn't until Prohibition that Rockefeller cornered the automobile fuel market. Rockefeller had given over 4 million dollars (an enormous amount of money back then) to a Ladies Temperance Movement to get the anti-hooch craze going in U.S. Congress. If you think it was because he didn't want people drinking, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is history.

John D. Rockefeller was that fine fellow that said, "Competition is a sin". He also said THIS:"Try to turn every disaster into an opportunity. "

Attributed in The Rockefellers (1976) by Peter Collier and David Horowitz

"Measured in today's dollars, Rockefeller is the richest person in the history of mankind."


Considering the mindset of this fine fellow and his descendants in the fossil fuel industry, it is not far fetched to believe than when an opportunity wasn't 'presenting itself' due some competitive nuisance (like ethanol), they would contrive a "disaster" for said competition that they could then turn into an "OPPORTUNITY" (I.E. PROFIT).

It seems that we can see where the modern, conscience free expression, "Never waste a crisis" originated. I don't think Karl Rove and the Bush family invented the idea of deliberately creating a crisis in order to obtain a profit or stifle competition, do you?  >:(

But all that misery and pollution is environmental damage that has been done. We can't change the past but we can stop being ignorant on how it shapes the future for better or, in case of gasoline, for worse.

So returning to the comparison of burning gasoline versus ethanol, we see a bunch soot generated when gasoline burns. In the video the burning is done in open bowls but don't let anybody try to convince you that inside an engine combustion chamber, this soot which creates extra friction and reduces your engine's life is not happening. It is.  :o

Gasoline, because it is a fossil fuel and not a uniform substance of basically identical molecules like we see in ethanol, has sulfur contamination and may even have heavy metals in it too, depending on the quality of the crude oil.

As the quality of the crude gets worse (see tar sands and high sulfur Venezuelan heavy crude oil) the content of the VOCs at the end of distillation that produce the gasoline are more polluting. So this problem with gasoline will get even worse as crude oil gets more scarce or we start getting gasoline from a horrendously polluting process now being used by Exxon in a recently built refinery that gasifies coal and turns it into gasoline (along with a lot of mercury contamination in the coal). ??? >:(

When the various different hydrocarbon compounds with sulfur and other contaminants that make gasoline are burned, since the oxygen is not distributed evenly, you get a lot of carbon monoxide (incomplete combustion), some carbon dioxide and water (from complete combustion) and some nitrogen and sulfur (and other contaminants) compounds. The soot you see is carbon molecules curling up into partial bucky ball type shapes that resist further chemical reaction and act as abrasives in your car, massively increase engine waste heat and are irritants in your lungs.

Radiative properties of soot particles

The U.S. Government tested ethanol (up to E85 only not the excellent E100 fuel used in Brazil) and found less pollution and no engine problems. They did claim the pollution "balanced out" between the two because ethanol had more nitrates but remember that an internal combustion engine is lubricated with oil from fossil fuels. Part of this is always in the combustion chamber so you will never get a truly clean burn as long as the oil is hydrocarbon based.

Also, had they tested E100, they would have found much less pollution as well as less engine wear. They didn't want to go there like Brazil has done over a decade ago. In fact the air quality in cities in Brazil has made giant strides in pollution reduction. But, of course, you haven't read that in our pro-fossil fuel media.

As to the propaganda myths that have been perpetrated by the fossil fuel industry about ethanol, Let's clear the air. They are simply a pack of lies. The fuel that really harmful for your car and for the environment is gasoline, not ethanol. Ethanol is a a 100% source of sustainable, renewable energy. Don't be fooled by the Orwellian anti-ethanol fossil fuel propaganda.

Duckweed, the Miracle Biofuel Plant Part 4

« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 12:00:36 pm by AGelbert »
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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