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Author Topic: Ethanol  (Read 6859 times)

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Re: Ethanol
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2015, 08:25:54 pm »
Can We Really Do This?  ???

Of course we can. There is enough excess ethanol capacity to get started now and the technology to make E100 engines is readily available.

As of June 10, 2015 (Renewable Fuels Association):

   212 operating EtOH Plants -  15.401   bill gals capacity

          New Plants under const -  0.100       "

Total Capacity:                            15.501   billion gallons

Estimated usage 2015                13.180   billion gallons (STEO, 6/9/15, EIA)

Estimated Excess capacity:        2.321   billion gallons

Just the current idle/new capacity is enough to fuel >1,000,000 vehicles (15,000 miles/yr @25mpg, 600 gallons/vehicle). By the time that capacity is used up, the processes to make ethanol using cellulose and algae for ~$1.50/gallon will be available enabling us easily to get to the 36 billion gallon federal requirement by 2022.

To achieve oil independence we need to replace 66 billion gallons of gasoline. We already have capacity to make 15 billion gallons of ethanol, so just 51 billion gallons more is required.

Is there enough waste cellulose to do this? Yes. The DOE published an update of their billion ton annual cellulose availability paper in August 2011. Using the DOE's very conservative yield of 85 gallons of ethanol per ton of cellulose, we could make 85 billion gallons of ethanol without hurting food production or exports.

Ethanol is a carbon neutral liquid motor fuel.
That is, the CO2 produced by burning it goes right back in to growing more cellulose the next year.

No new carbon needs to be brought up from underground. The waste cellulose the DOE talks about in the above paper all biodegrades to CO2 anyway. We might as well pick it up and make ethanol out of it.

Dr. Bruce Dale and his associates at Michigan State University confirmed this study in Environmental Science and Technology, October 2010, with their article Biofuels Done Right: Land Efficient Animal Feeds Enable Large Environment and Energy Benefits. They show beyond any doubt that the U.S. can make over 100 billion gallons/yr of ethanol without "decreasing domestic food production or agricultural exports."

The cost to a retail franchisee to modify an existing storage tank to accept ethanol is quite site specific, but would be between $25,000 and $30,000 including a new blender pump with card reader.

It should be noted  that ethanol is  already ubiquitous at the wholesale level. Where ever there is a gasoline terminal, there is ethanol either in barges, tankcars, or tanktrucks.

An ethanol blender pump is a filling station fuel pump that allows consumers to select the desired blend of gasoline and ethanol from E0 (straight gasoline) up to E100 (i.e., Dresser Waynes's Ovation iX).

The ethanol producer could sell E100 direct to the retail franchisee bypassing the price setting mechanisms of the oil companies.

 For the 12,000 pump infrastructure -- every 2 miles in the 100 largest cities, 25 miles apart on highways-- the total cost would be less than 
$500 million, a pittance compared to other technologies.

Actually, we already have over 2,000 E100 capable stations since the existing E85 stations can just switch to E100 with no futher investment.

 Going with higher level intermediate blends such as E20 and E30 is going to cost as much as going to E100 so why not go all the way to E100?

 Is there precedent for such a change in automotive fuel? Yes, there is -- the change from leaded to unleaded fuel in the 1970's as catalytic converters came on the scene. There was a lot of dispute about whether this could be done. Yet when the mandate stayed in place, we switched in quite a short period of time.

The mandating of at least 50% of new vehicles to be E100 capable by the end of 2016 is a much easier and lower cost venture than the switch to unleaded fuel.

Brazil made themselves independent of imported oil by using flex/fuel engines capable of burning E100. In fact, all retail motor fuel stations in Brazil must offer E100. If Brazil can do this, so can we.

A Shell station in Sao Paulo. Brazil showing  2 grades of gasoline and E100.

This is a political decision to make, not a technical one.   


AGelbert NOTE:
Ethanol as a fuel is far superior to gasoline. I have learned that ethanol's octane rating is higher than that of non-leaded gasoline. More thermodynamically important, however, ethanol combusts completely because it has one consistent chemical structure and carries it's own oxygen to aid the process.

In addition, ethanol has extremely low waste heat because, unlike gasoline, it doesn't produce carbon deposits from incomplete combustion on the cylinder walls that increase friction and decrease engine life. Unlike an engine running on gasoline, you can touch the block, or the manifold, of an engine running on ethanol with your hand AND KEEP IT THERE without getting burned. This has huge savings implications for engine design that the fossil fuel industry has done it's best to keep from internal combustion engine designers and manufacturers (more on that below).

"High energy density" calculations  are based on EXTERNAL thermodynamic combustion processes. It is true that gasoline will boil water in an open flame faster than ethanol will. That doesn't have beans to do with automobiles.

But when INTERNAL combustion is involved, ethanol produces more useful work than gasoline. That has EVERYTHING to do with automobiles.

But there is more the fossil fuel industry does not want most people to know. Due to the fact that ethanol burns so cleanly and has such low waste heat, a high compression internal combustion engine specifically designed for ethanol would be about 30% lighter (i.e. a lot cheaper) because the metal alloys involved would not have to be engineered to withstand the engine stressing waste heat that gasoline generates. Of course, said internal combustion engine (ICE) could not be approved for running gasoline. Gasoline would trash an engine designed specifically to run on ethanol in short order. The fossil fuel industry would not like that at all.  ;)

A lighter ICE running ethanol would then get even more mechanical energy out of each gallon because less engine weight would need to be moved along with the car and occupants.

The only way gasoline's higher energy density than ethanol would make it a superior fuel is if cars were run by EXTERNAL combustion processes like a steam engine.

The Fossil Fuel Industry knows all that. That is why they continuously try to demonize and talk down ethanol biofuel with mendacity and dissembling about "low ERoEI", "water in the fuel" and "corrosion".

I, and many others, have exposed all that fossil fuel industry self serving propaganda. We need fossil fuels like a hole in the head.
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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