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Old 05-30-2008, 09:41 PM   #1
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Acetylene

Whatever happened to acetylene as a viable engine fuel alternative. I guess because acetylene isn't a petroleum industry derived fuel it got put to the wayside.

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Old 05-31-2008, 04:53 AM   #2
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According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetylene :
"The principal raw materials for acetylene manufacture are calcium carbonate (limestone) and coal."

Might as well just make the coal into gasoline. The technology for that is pretty old but nobody has bothered, either because it's not cost-effective or because of a vast oil industry conspiracy (you choose which sounds more plausible to you).
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:20 AM   #3
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I know a little bit because I have an oxy/acetylene torch outfit.

Its expensive and must be stored saturated into a "carrier" material. Since it diffuses out of the carrier material as a gas, this slows things down and might make a high demand application difficult.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:33 AM   #4
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Not to mention how unstable it is KA BOOM!
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:37 AM   #5
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Not to mention how unstable it is KA BOOM!
If you could get the right gas mix into a balloon it's do the same thing.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetylene :"The principal raw materials for acetylene manufacture are calcium carbonate (limestone) and coal."
The principal raw materials for acetylene manufacture are calcium carbonate (limestone) and coke (straw, lawngrass, construction waste, etc)

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Old 06-03-2008, 02:25 AM   #7
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Might as well just make the coal into gasoline. The technology for that is pretty old but nobody has bothered, either because it's not cost-effective or because of a vast oil industry conspiracy (you choose which sounds more plausible to you).
I would say that there are at least a couple reasons why we don't see coal made into gasoline. And cost-effectiveness is NOT one of them. After all, $130 a barrel crude oil has a nice little way of making all those alternative energy schemes which had NOT been cost effective in the past suddenly look like a bargain. But there are a couple of issues here. And one could be looked at as a vast 'Big Oil' conspiracy. Specifically, it is going to take LOTS of cash to get coal --> gasoline plants on line and producing. Oil companies have the cash to do this. But we all know how focused THEY are on short-term vs long-term profitability. SO, we can't count on their help. Why should THEY help us? They have us right where they want us. Of course, it doesn't look like anyone else is willing to step up to the plate on this one (or SO many other alternative energy schemes), either. And without funding, it just isn't going to happen.

The other problem when it comes to coal --> gasoline is environmental. From what I have heard, gasoline made from coal is a WONDERFUL product. It is MUCH more pure, and burns MUCH more cleanly than ordinary, petroleum-derived gasoline. BUT, it is VERY dirty to make. For instance, coal contains ALL kinds of heavy metals which will require disposal. And the process is guaranteed to release HUGE amounts of carbon dioxide. These factors alone mean LOTS of problems trying to build plants. Until they can be solved, this isn't going to happen.

From an environmental point of view, thermal depolymerization is a better idea. This process converts various types of waste into crude oil, with MUCH fewer emissions. It also helps to deal with the problem of ever decreasing landfill space. Not to mention that there is just something REALLY appealing about turning trash or sewage sludge from a million toilets into high grade crude. There is currently a pilot plant that generates about 500 barrels of oil per day from turkey waste. And I recall that besides odor problems at the plant (which have been corrected), a MAJOR complaint was that the plant had to pay the equivalent of $20 per barrel of oil for the turkey slaughterhouse waste that they used to make the crude. This brought the price of the oil produced to $80 per barrel - a BARGAIN in this day and age. Of course, scaling up the plant and using less desirable feedstocks (ie garbage, sewage sludge, tires, etc) would drastially reduce even this. But then again, there is that nasty little funding problem when it comes to doing this.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:43 AM   #8
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There was a program such as that suggested around here, and they hit a firestorm of NIMBYism and "OMG YOU CAN'T BURN RUBBISH!!!!11111" crap. The plan was beautiful, divert 50% of a decent sized city's waste from a landfill, generate 1MW and produce natural gas and "oil", and co-gen heat for a few hundred homes... but some so called environmentalists told everybody it was evil.
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