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Why is ethanol a better fuel?

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. . .  Meanwhile, proponents of battery car, will quickly dismiss the infrastructure cost of improving the grid as merely as a skip and jump away.  While improving the grid is a worthy venture, they want to utilize the improvement for light duty transportation, wherein in reality the conventional vehicle technology is already rapidly improving. Meaning, the grid has enough challenge to improve itself and the rate of improvement best left to improve traditional grid needs. 

 

 

A few years ago, when production EV's and PHEV's were making their public debut, a large fraction of buyers were complimenting their vehicle with solar panel installations. I cannot find the stats, but I recall more than 30% of Plug-in purchasers included a solar installation in 2013. With the mainstreaming of these vehicles, the latest data indicate that that ratio has declined to 14%. Offers surface, from time to time, regarding package deals of solar products with the purchase of a plug-in vehicle. Those offers should be sustained to more effectively decentralize the grid and supplement its local capacity.

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Developing alternative feed stocks- As you know the evaluation and testing continues within R&D work.Same for process improvements. The horizon does indeed look bright for biofuel, but the fuel market is saturated with low cost petrol and natural gas supplies, at present. The U.S. is concerned with the financial health of this sector and most politicians see little need in advancing 2rd generation fuels at this time. If gasoline would be $1/gallon higher, you would witness an avalanche of incentives to maximize ethanol production. The battery car suffers equally.

 

GW fears have abated as technology and solutions appear to be able to minimize the concern. There are capable technologies present and waiting for the green flag. One of the largest is Miscanthus feed stock for ethanol. Present day rating of this fuel is negative carbon. Wow! You burn more fuel to improve GW. The grid will never catch up to that rating. The plant has amazing abilities to improve soil carbon and grow feed stock material for cellulosic fuel. So, it would appear farmers will utilize the plantings to rest farm soil and improve fertility for later use.

 

All of the ethanol processing plants are poised to greatly reduce carbon emissions. So, much technology can be utilized by these process centers to achieve negative carbon fuel ratings. Consider the CHP technology, alone, could boost the return on ethanol energy from 3 to one to 427 to one. How, about if the industry adapted anaerobic digester equipment to improve water treatment, gas supplies, and fertilizer production? How about the practice of local farmers dumping off cattle or cow excrement to be treated with the equipment and returning home with the more environmentally friendly fertilizer from the process. Or they could return with wet distillery grains that works to reduce ethanol's carbon rating.

 

Process pants have yet to utilize much solar or wind power within the process. Much of the wind power probably available on site with some investment. Biomass, can easily displace natural gas for an additional 30% improvement in carbon rating. Pure CO2 is a valuable co-product that mainly goes underutilized. Analyst believe this gas stream will supply yet another energy and feed resource per algae farming. Technology is advancing to utilize catalytic cracking of the gas to plastic feed stock. This is gaining much attention as the pure CO2 feed stock will not contaminate the catalysis and make it an economical process.

 

While the battery car has a bright future within extremely light duty metro transportation market, the heavier duty, higher torque market, with maximum range is out of reach. This is a natural market for low carbon ethanol fuel. Maybe one day the fuel cell could add value, but for the foreseeable future ethanol should be the primary driver. Especially, if GW were ever accredited to a threat status, nothing beats cellulosic Miscanthus ethanol. We do know with the tabulation of U.S. biomass alone is enough for the entire fuel market. Factor in the international market, it would be much easier task. Remember all the talk that civilization would implode once we ran out of fossil fuel? What a joke that was!    

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Green house gas emissions-

 

The analysis of where carbon energy is utilized within ethanol production and possible improvements to impact thel fuel rating. The future looks to push even grain (corn) ethanol to negative carbon. Know that the process plant is where all the energy is consumed. That fertilizer and farm use of petrol products is minimal as compared. The CHP process can really improve the numbers. Heat recuperation or reuse is easy to do within a process that has so much low grade heat needs. Boimass boiler will improve the carbon rating 30% alone. The anaerobic digester is becoming standard fare and may play into local farm process of animal wastes. Primary distillation is giving away to osmosis membrane technology (I think?). Wet distillery grains are getting popular, localized plant direct sales and distribution is getting more popular, and thermal waste heat energy parks. Spiritwood station coal plant is one such power plant that makes for a cheap and low carbon heat source for ethanol. With CHP process the coal power plant efficiency jumps to 69%. This will effectively cut emissions by one half as compared to traditional coal power plant at 33%. Ethanol process is but one of customers for heat.

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Also, as the grid becomes less carbon intense, that will improve ethanol carbon rating, as well. Meaning, some think the progression of wind and solar energy upon the grid will empower the battery car and leave the competition in the dust. Not so, especially, if wind power and solar is generated at the farm and/or process plant. So, ethanol is a potent path to utilize renewable energy. Just in a liquid more easy to use and store form. Especially, when one considers the fuel should drop well into negative carbon rating when the pure CO2 fermentation co-product is utilized to plastic feed stock, food, or fuel as expected. Grid power could never go into negative rating status as compared.


Ethanol fuel and equipment that burns the fuel are highly sustainable and recyclable. It's the natural biological process that dovetails so well with nature. It's the readily available and recyclable iron, steel, and aluminum metals. Compare that with unsustainable battery power (unsustainable because of rare earth metal needs) and their dependence upon technologies that generate so much electronic waste. Our landfills already brimming with electronic trash. Putting our energy sector upon high reliance of foreign rare earth minerals is a horrible vulnerable condition, worse than import oil reliance. You do notice these energy sources receive no penalty for these "changes" as compared to the infamous land use change penalties applied to ethanol? How much penalty to apply to energy forms that need military power to protect rare earth mines? How about the single source manufacturers and processors?


The electronic and battery cars produce toxic trash that is expensive or impossible to recycle. It's corrosive to healthy clean environment. As compared, the ICE contains easy to recycle steel and aluminum. A simple low cost vehicle may be the least damaging of all for the environment. Simple lead acid battery and easy to recycle components. I do believe when my daughter needed a car for college, the decision back some years to recycle a cheap Tempo was the most environmentally decision to be made. This was even before my Representative starting crowing about cash for clunkers and how good that would be. The old car was clean and classic vintage. It was destined to scrap yard, but for $1,000 bill to rebuild. The car always bettered 25 mpg, ran E85 like a champ, and continued on for an additional 100,000 miles. So, what are the life cycle emissions of this? Better than a new battery car I would guess. If you think so, tell me how environmentally friendly the decision to purchase the $8,000 Elio car would be? The car is assembled from mostly off the self hardware that achieves close to 80 mpg with traditional ICE technology. The car should be 100% easy to recycle and the car will replace the most polluting class of vehicle (old worn out ones). The vehicle could burn mid level ethanol in present form. If ever we had an ethanol optimized engine for the vehicle and cellulose Miscanthus fueled, well, the vehicle wold achieve environmental rating far and above anything available within the foreseeable marketplace. Not bad for a $8,000 vehicle. The vehicle would dramatically save the consumer money on top of environmental benefit.


 


How easy to fix the Elio, such a simple car. Last night, my local news had a segment on stranded motorist. The tow companies are extremely busy and not with old worn out cars, but the new ones. These cars have complicated systems, with much electronics and highly computerized. They have high power demands and often wreak havoc with battery life. These cars often have two batteries. One that is less visible and often forgotten. Come to find out these cars take much more battery power and shorten battery lifespans. They have complex systems that are hard to trouble shoot and repair. The car will use power even if parked. Few know how to fix them.    


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Some may question the recyling of lead acid and think the lithium battery is a superior environmental choice. The claim is commonly made of lithium being better for the enviroment. Compare that statement to the scientific research steady attempting to reclaim lithium. Read the challenges to dispossal services. This link, a short tidbit of good info to the lead acid debate for environment and value concerns.

 

https://www.hmndgroup.com/advantages-of-lead-acid/

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Ever wonder why the U.S. has an epidemic of mental health concerns. Some claim it's a corrupt health field that are, basically salesmen for big pharma products. I'm sure the U.S. owns that market, nonetheless more and more are struggling with mental health. Read this '00 link on lead pollution, "The Secret History of Lead".

 https://www.thenation.com/authors/jamie-lincoln-kitman/

 

Wow,  sobering stats and to think the cost to humanity just to prevent ethanol fuel from entering the market. I do know that the leaded paint bogyman was blown way out of proportion, because the other felons didn't want to attract attention. Government and business decided to finger leaded paint for all concerns. Present day we find lead just about everywhere and the sum total may be weighing hard on our mental health. I read that incineration for the deceased may be regulated out of business.  Come to find out our bodies have a life time deposit of heavy metals and toxins that shouldn't be vented to atmosphere. They are talking of burial only and best solution is to just smear corpse in fungi spores with natural earth burial. The fungi are one of the few organisms that can decompose heavy metals.

 

Did you notice the lack of turmeric spice? Come to find out a health proponent's book had discovered the depth and breath of lead in this spice. For once the FDA quickly took action and found that the spice is riddled with lead and most of it coming from India. They claim the growing fields contaminated from leaded fuel use as so goes the rest of the planet. They still sell leaded gasoline. Why on earth should informed citizens fear ethanol as the petrol industry attempts to sway our thinking?

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I read MIT has calculated and ascertained that vintage LL100 fueled aircraft are polluting our skies and inflicting a $billion to $billion and one half loss of GNP per lower IQ of residents.  

 

http://news.mit.edu/2016/unfriendly-skies-piston-engine-aircraft-pose-significant-health-threat-0826

 

Well, people aren't falling over dead, so no emergency. That's how our regulators and gov'ts work the safety issue. For example It's of no concern to the regulators of fire retardants if they make your home airspace toxic. Their mission is fire safety. They get graded and patted on the back for improving fire safety per retardants within all household materials. Same for food. They are only motivated to kill germs and could care less if their actions destroy nutrition or health benefits of good food.

 

I read the FAA regs are crushing any attempts to improve health benefits of toxic engine exhaust. From an Engineering viewpoint I know they determine the unknown as potentially dangerous. That they have a lot of data and knowledge of old systems. So, they will not budge without a flotilla of "free" gov't money utilized to study the change. You can't be to safe. Flying enthusiasts just recycle old planes as the FAA has cut off any attempt to cost effectively improve the industry as a bevy of lawyers dare them to risk change. What have we invented in this country? What kind of economic, regulatory, and legal nuttiness have we invented?

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Have you read the UM DeCicco’s report? You know with his ABC analysis; ethanol is more polluting than plain gasoline. It is confusing report with confounding info that claims we mustn't automatically claim that ethanol is carbon neutral. That at every stage of production we need to calculate the carbon in and carbon out. He claims that merely calculating the carbon emissions is not good enough as the life cycle calcs focus on. What the heck is he talking about?

 

I read the report 2x and can only figure out that he is damming agriculture and making simplistic assumptions. Such as any distortion upon farming decisions is a result of the RFS. Also, that the farm would plant and grow vegetation without ethanol. So, he calculates that only the carbon above and beyond normal farm operations need be attributed to ethanol. Meaning the natural carbon cycle of vegetation continues even without ethanol, so the corn plant benefit must detract that value before reducing carbon for ethanol. It's pretty stupid thinking. The usual nomenclature of assumptions making an ass out of you and me. We could all come up with a dozen or so schemes to calculate the benefits of ethanol or the demerits of gasoline. This guy is throwing is precious PHD creds behind his vaulted sophisticated stats and analysis, but the any common sense farmer will scratch their head and thick of BS.  

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I was reading a report on RCCI diesel engine technology. This is a variant of the HCCI technology, but with the additional flexibility to blend two fuels to improve operation parameters. The E85 diesel fuel blend achieved more power and least emissions as compared to gasoline blends. It was a large improvement. Also, I will add that having a rock solid fuel chemistry has got to improve the operating control as well.

 

Also, the experiment illustrates a very good ethanol engine technology, that was mentioned on this posting, to operate the diesel engine primarily on ethanol and the diesel merely as ignition fuel. Ethanol combustion within the high compression diesel engine has been tested by Cummings E85 engine. Acceptable tail pipe emissions was achieved with the plain low cost catalytic converter system.  So, given how expensive plain diesel emission equipment is, this engine should be less expensive. Also, given the Cummings experience, the engine needn't be nearly as big for the same power, another cost savings.

 

The direct injection engine does suffer with high PM emissions. Diesel fuel especially. With the RCCI approach the ethanol is port injected and allowed more time to evaporate and mix with air before combustion. This is good practice to minimize PMs.

 

The diesel cycle does offer a bump up in efficiency gain as compared to spark ignition. Also, the RCCI combustion another bump up. This technology and engine would offer motoring public a path forward to use low cost E100 fuel and surpass the mileage of the gasoline vehicle and do so while greatly decreasing tailpipe emissions. With the addition of hybrid technology, this class of vehicle could surpass the benefits of grid powered vehicles.    

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