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Old 13th November 2007, 17:17   #16
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Recent IEA data for Brazil indicates that ethanol use substituted 230 billion litres of gasoline between 1975 and 2004. Costing no more than cars with conventional engines, more than 80% of the new cars purchased in Brazil (an estimated 1.3 million in 2006) can run on either 100% ethanol or a gasoline-anhydrous ethanol blend.
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Old 26th May 2009, 10:40   #17
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Default Ethanol- A big Scam?

The Great Ethanol Scam - BusinessWeek
The above article states that Ethanol is being overhyped by certain lobbyis, and actually its not really beneficial in the context of environment.
However the worst part is that ethanol destroys engines.
Any techies care to comment.
Indian govt is slowly moving towards a 10% Ethanol in fuel model, and the USA is planning to mandate 15%.

It would be great if we could keep the discussion totally automotive(w.r.t engine damage and likes) and not steer it towards food price hike blah blah!

From an automotive standpoint, the article claims Ethanol does the following
1. More Smog(Pollution in America Speak)
2. Energy loser and not gain
3. Lower FE
4. Fuel pump damage because E85 blended petrol damages the plastic parts.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 26th May 2009 at 10:42.
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Old 26th May 2009, 10:47   #18
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With unmodified engines, yes, Ethanol is less efficient and provides less mileage. However, it has a high octane number. Engines modified to run high compression ratios with E10/E15 petrol will provide more power and more mileage per liter than with regular petrol.

Compression ratios as high as 14:1 is used in engines modified for petrol with high ethanol content.

Re: your 4th point, E85 is 85% ethanol. This would require different fuel system parts to content with the fuel, which is now only 15% the fuel it is originally designed for.
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:26   #19
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I dont know about combustion mechanics of ethanol.
But yes, environmentally, ethanol will affect this earth.

Here is how: the whole world right now is totally reliant on fossil fuels for energy needs.
Coal, Oil and Gas.

Do we have any idea how much time and energy it took to produce these resources from their basic organic waste raw material? It tool millions of years - and energy equivalent of the lifetime of all the organic matter that got converted (lets take a tree that got fossilized, and converted to coal - the energy (solar) that tree consumed during its lifetime)

Right now these resources are just in cold storage - we are pulling them out, processing and burning them off. Fine we are introducing CO2 and stuff. But if we see the whole begin-to-end cycle: This cycle spans millions of years.

But if we shift from these fossil fuels to ethanol, what we are trying to do is to replicate this cycle in the span of a year/decade.
You plant some tree, take out its sap/part, process it to form ethanol, refine it for industrial usage and burn.

Its gonna pollute the same. Its gonna contribute the same to the global warming. Its gonna take up the resources (land, water, nutrients, energy) the same.
But what is gonna happen differently is that we are going to use up more resource TODAY only, an burn this fuel TODAY itself, and pollute the environment also TODAY.

Whereas in case of fossil fuels, resources were taken in millions of years ago. Its only the burning and pollution that is happening today. Gives our earth less chances to assimilate the change without any untoward "reactions".

Another aspect is social aspect.
Bio fuel dependence will make bio fuel a more lucrative crop. Thus, less farmers will be producing food grain stuff. What do you think that would lead to?
There is already an acute shortage of foodgrain, especially in the regions where there is a large population to support.

Last edited by alpha1 : 26th May 2009 at 11:28.
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:43   #20
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
The Great Ethanol Scam - BusinessWeek

It would be great if we could keep the discussion totally automotive(w.r.t engine damage and likes) and not steer it towards food price hike blah blah!
alpha1?? Did nt you read this??
Can we stick to the automotive discussion of this thread only.

Personally, the fuel shortage is more of a control theory. Its just like the SUN running out and darkness looming everywhere.

Back to automotive discussions please!!
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Old 26th May 2009, 11:58   #21
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1) I dont think 5% (current) and 10% (proposed) ethanol blend will require any serious modification of current generation motor cars.
2) We dont produce enough ethanol to sustain even the current 5% blend.
3) a 5% blend if fully implemented will lead to a 3-4% reduction on crude oil import bill
4) Brazil is running ethanol blend vehicles( 20% to 25%) since 1977, there are about 3miliion vehicle running on 100% hydrated ethanol (source: wikipedia)
5) with our expertise in agri-research, i dont think it will be difficult to produce cane or other ethanol sources on waste land without affecting food crops.

Having said all this there is no reason to experiment with higher ethanol blend if the auto-manufacturer is not assuring that their vehicles can handle such blends.

Last edited by enzo10 : 26th May 2009 at 12:17.
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Old 26th May 2009, 12:28   #22
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im sure ethanol is a cheaper option for the indian govt. NOTHING escapes scams in this country. everything is pest ridden!
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Old 26th May 2009, 12:35   #23
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Context of discussion in USA and India / Brazil is entirely different.
In India and Brazil the blending is mandatory whereas in USA blended fuel is sold as an option of 10% or 15% blend.

As the thread is to discuss automotive aspects Brazil is running 20% blend since 1977 and India 5% since 5 years so this is quite proven. The only negative is that plastic parts and seals etc. may dissolve in ethanol but for last 5 years we have seen that petrol vehicle on our roads have no such problems and since manufacturers are aware of this blending newer models need to be designed keeping this in mind.

So the whole question is are auto manufacturers using some plastics which are soluble in Ethanol or not.

About environmental aspects ( not point of this thread) In India and Brazil ethanol is mnufactured from molasses which is a waste product and no land earmarked for food crop is displaced for growing fuels. In USA corn is being used and to grow more corn and soyabean ( for bio-Diesel) food production is affected.

So taking US debate to India is point less , using molasses and agricultural waste for ethanol production actually boost farmer income and it is lot better then dumping waste in to rivers or burning up the bio-mass ( you need to pass through the the burning fields in north after harvesting to check what I am saying)

PS : Oil lobby is too strong so you need to take claims on increased emissions etc with a buckets of salt.

Last edited by amitk26 : 26th May 2009 at 12:44.
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Old 26th May 2009, 13:10   #24
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Originally Posted by vasudeva View Post

Cellulosic feedstocks could be used to produce ethanol with very low greenhouse gases (GHG), since they can be converted to ethanol using lignin (i.e. the non-cellulose part of the plant) and excess cellulose instead of fossil fuels as the main process fuel. This new approach would nearly eliminate the need for fossil energy inputs into the conversion process.
This is already done at almost all sugar mills in India ( burning 'Kahli' ). Sugar mills produce raw feedstock ( molasses) for ethanol production which is actually a byproduct. So while in USA ethanol has negative consequences of displacing food crops, In India it is positive of using up a waste product.
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