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Old 02-22-2007, 02:08 PM   #21
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On the subject of how much energy it takes to produce, blah blah blah... Well, that all depends on which scientist did the study. I have read so many reports/studies on the subject that all have different outcomes simply due to the technology used. True, corn may not be the best / most efficient solution. The ethanol plant that is to be built in my county is being setup as to not be restricted to corn based production only. True they will have grinders for the corn, but the process itself is universal as stated earlier. The company funding the plant will be purchasing a few thousand acres of land for either switch grass fields or willow tree groves due to their high growth rates. These alternative biomass sources will not require the care that corn does.

And it is very true that ethanol does not have the BTU output that gasoline does. That is simply a statement of fact.
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:10 PM   #22
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To get back to kidturbo'* point, the only way to effectively use E85 is with higher compression and changes to the timing and fueling. While he made these sound like simple changes, they are generally much more cost prohibitive than he described. If you're running a boosted car you can drop a few pulley sizes, but you can't ignore the extra heat you're generating, or the fact that you are getting ever closer to the limits of the supercharger'* efficiency. If you are really going for maximum performance you want to change hard parts inside the motor that will change the static compression ratio, not just the dynamic compression ratio. At the very least you want to pull the cylinder heads and have them milled down for a few extra points of compression.

Secondly, it isn't the easiest thing in the world to get setup with a tuning package to change fuel and spark advance. You need to have a laptop computer, the tuning software (and the knowledge to use that software), and probably bigger fuel injectors. If you're trying to convert to E85 starting with zero knowledge or experience, these are a lot of "barriers to entry" in the custom tuning arena.

I'm not saying all this because I hate the idea of E85. I still have mixed feelings about it, actually. And if you review any of my previous posts on the subject you'll find my main concern is the parts that will need to be changed and the tuning required to make the car run properly. I just think kidturbo makes the process sound far too simple. In reality you'll need to change hard engine parts and be able to do your own custom tuning (or pay someone to do it for you... people who can do this are few and far between). These are all significant roadblocks, and should be taken seriously. I think it'* dangerous to make it sound like a conversion is simple without doing some serious research and testing on the topic. We don't want inexperienced people jumping into this without knowing exactly what is involved.
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Old 02-22-2007, 02:53 PM   #23
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So as long as it'* understood that you may not get the same performance from ethanol as you do from gasoline on an engine that was set up to run gasoline originally, without some significant modifications. However, if you need to reference any data on automobiles that already do this, A.K.A. flex fuel vehicles, you can note that they claim they produce more power on the ethanol, with less mileage. A flex fuel vehicle runs gasoline or E85. It does not care which. It doesn't switch any of it'* internal components that I could imagine. The difference in that would be fueling and ignition timing. Possibly cam timing as well, but I suppose that would depend on the vehicle.

I think what kidturbo is saying is that you can make more power with ethanol, when set up than you can with gas. Maybe this is apples to oranges, but top fuel cars run 85% nitromathane, 15% methano, give or take. Maybe it'* due to regulations, but I'd imagine they run the methanol over gasoline for a reason?

Additionally, if you want to have a crazy setup and you run ethanol with a positive displacement blower. I would imagine you can achieve the same effect of water/methanol injection by placing a very small fuel injector in the throttle body that basically feeds off of the regular fuel system. That'* just something that came to my mind.

Not trying to be arguementative, but hoping we can get all of the facts in a row and make an educated decision on all of this. Sorry if I sound like an ***.
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Old 02-22-2007, 03:14 PM   #24
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It'* not that you can't make good power with ethanol, it'* just that an engine designed for exclusive use of gasoline may not be the best starting point.

Case in point, the Champ Cars have switched from Methanol to Ethanol for the 2007 season. Ethanol makes more power per volume with better gas mileage than Methanol in this case.

Cheers,
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:20 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willwren
I couldn't have said it better myself. And let'* keep sharp on dispelling the myth that higher octane is more 'powerful'. It isn't. It'* harder to ignite.
While this is normally true, VP racing fuels assures me that oxygenated race fuels while harder to detonate actually make more power than lower octane street fuels. I tend to believe this as my car always runs better with vp109 even with the timing set the same as my street tune.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:42 PM   #26
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and i have to say one thing in here.

May car LOVED the 93 Gas in OH while i was out there.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:57 PM   #27
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I can't help myself from responding to this thread, so I'll apologize in advance.

As stated plainly before, ethanol is a Red Herring in the energy source discussion. Like other "alternative fuels" (e.g. Hydrogen, biodiesel, etc) none of them appear naturally in large enough quantities to be useful in supporting a major element of our modern civilized infrastructure (e,g, transportation and electrical power production).

As such, all of these fuels must be manufactured by some means. Until such time as someone figures out how to suspend the Second Law of Thermodynamics (and makes perpetual motion machinery possible; which is another thread) it will always take more energy to produce these fuels than they can possibly yield when used.

There may be a few niche examples, like making biodiesel from waste french frying oil, or ethanol from food processing wastes, that get close to coming out ahead, but none of these miniscule sources could ever begin to displace our current consumption of energy.

You can't burn food as fuel and come out ahead; even if you distill it into a nice tax-supported liquid. I suppose next someone will want to switch their cars to burning wood (as the Germans did in WWII) to reduce oil dependence?

If we can get our minds right and build a nuclear power plant in every county in the U.*., then we might have enough cheap energy to cook switchgrass into ethanol, convert coal into diesel, and keep our lights on when the sun is down and our solar panels go dead or the wind stops and our wind power takes the day off.

When I was in about the 5th grade I submitted a science project showing an electric motor driving a generator that powered the electric motor plus an electric light bulb. I got a low grade on that assignment and couldn't understand why until I learned better.

By my observation, an uncomfortably important segment of our population is still submitting the same ideas and cannot (or will not) learn any better.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:01 PM   #28
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Walter, I love you. Will you marry me?

That reply is one of the most witty informative and ACCURATE posts on the subject I've ever seen. Well done.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:04 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willwren
Walter, I love you. Will you marry me?

That reply is one of the most witty informative and ACCURATE posts on the subject I've ever seen. Well done.


I am nonplussed.
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:06 PM   #30
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Regardless of energy dependance situations, I still like the thought of using it as a fuel to get a little more giddyup out of my future garage queen based off of an experiment with a turbo mustang I linked to in a thread similar to this one... It'* not the answer to our problems, but it doesn't hurt to use it for some fun.
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