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  1. Guest


    Very interesting to read and listen to the NEC presentations. Much to learn about the aspects of the ethanol fuel. I have a better understanding of the complexity to work within petrol and automotive manufacturers to improve fuel supply for decreased emissions. The nature of oil refining to optimize equipment and processes to produce a wide array of products is the primary concern. The fuel industry is oil as well as a large part of the energy industry and to that extent the success of new fuel will only work if the oil industry agrees to the change and can manage to maintain its' margins and utilize the entire product stream cost effectively. The refiner has computer programs that simulate cost and product outputs with variables and constraints of those variable to achieve max ROI. The software reminds me of GW in that the warning of being able to front load the constraints or assumptions and achieve any outcome if dishonest. This need of petrol is indeed all important as this is the nature of oil energy production. The industry needs flexibility to achieve good results per cost of production. Also, to balance supply demand of product line. Toluene is a reformer product or from cracker (catalysis) of natural oil distillation stream. It's equivalent to ethanol for RVP and octane, but to date more expensive. As we know thisvpetrol product is carcinogenic, but that comment was never broached. Auto manufacturers are desiring higher octane fuel per the easier path to achieve future CAFE standards. Their state of art internal combustion engine can not optimize E85 fuel, but testing of current production vehicles and the proof of them boosting engine efficiency 2% with ethanol blends is a good thing. The fuel industry is reviewing 100 RON octane as superior fuel for auto needs. The potential improvements include -30% carbon emissions, easy path to 54 mpg, and increase use of ethanol additive. The most important and valued fuel component for efficiency is octane. It may sound easy to achieve this such as blender pump sitting at the gas station, but nothing could be further from the truth. Think in terms of upheaval within the refinery outputs, blending standards, equipment compatibility, fuel availability, changeover, etc. It will take years; over a decade if the industry gets to work immediately. The flex vehicle is a tough future path per stringent EPA certifications and besides the vehicle can not be optimized for a wide fuel blend. The owner sees little benefit to make the purchase and manufacturers are losing incentives for the production. Nevertheless, the fuel producers have a big incentive to improve per the fuel cell and battery car technology breathing down their neck. The group talked of blending to octane and not per ethanol content. This would give a local ethanol process plant ability to utilize E40 blend with natural gas to meet spec. No refinery needed. Also, terminal blender would utilize much ethanol in summer and switch to more toluene in winter to utilize the oil product line. The topic of utilizing all the refinery product line and the difficulty that would present to them is ethanol took 40% of the gasoline market. Diesel fuel production would not meet demand. Interestingly a participant brought up the Cummings E85 truck engine as the solution to not enough diesel fuel. All of this complication that ethanol industry has to live with and the status of being not an alternative fuel but of a additive, reminds me of Dan's arguments of not going down that path. Ethanol is an assistant to make gasoline less harmful. While a worthwhile endeavor, especially short term, the future of ethanol would be forever be attached at the hip. All of the constraints of ethanol are per the business, complexity, and emissions of oil. The competition will have a the upper hand per the fossil fuel image and emissions. In my opinion the best future of ethanol would be an optimized E85 or E100 engine such as Cummings developed. That is the break away path. The heavy duty truck market per diesel pollution is prime target as their emission above the light duty vehicles. This technology will eventually work its way into the car market if trucks provide the proof and benefits. We should be competing with diesel fuel instead of blending with gasoline.
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