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Old 08-31-2006, 06:36 PM   #1
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Why ethanol?

It seems like nothing more than a big kick back to farmers from all accounts. Sure, we trade some petroleum distilates, natural gas, and coal for the equivalent amount of gasoline, but in terms of energy, from all accounts the energy we gain by growing the corn is offset by the energy needed to refine and distribute. Then I stumbled on this.

Ironically enough, a vw 1.9L TDI engine was retrofitted with spark plugs and port FI. I'm guessing the turbo and EGR system were the unmodified with different A/F maps. In any event, BTE was greater than the stock 1.9L TDI over a greater rpm range on both methanol and ethanol. On methanol NOx, CO, and HC emissions were low enough to rank it as an LEV in CA, with the only problem being lack of boost at low engine speed, which could be addressed by adding an electric supercharger. Kinda funny that one of the most efficient/cleanest engines out there was based on vw's diesel design.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:43 PM   #2
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Diesel is the Future

Diesel is definitely the future. I can't wait for the technology to filter-down from the big rigs into the daily driver.

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Old 08-31-2006, 08:48 PM   #3
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I think the EV will edge out the diesel in the US, but that's just me. Heck, more little start up EV makers then diesel models for sale,
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:05 PM   #4
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Ethanol, specifically from corn, is supported by lobbyists like Monsanto, Exxon-Mobil, BP, and others. Therefore it gets tax dollars.

Never mind the EROEI from corn is less than 1, the fact that corn strips the soil of nutrients and helps it rapidly erode, or the pitiful amount of fuel per acre of crop compared to other sources.

Ethanol from sugarcane has an EROEI > 2, usually around 4-6. There are some places in the southern U.S. where it can be grown. However, our government instead tariffs sugarcane and its derivative products from other countries to discourage its use.

Turns out that corn has high profit margins. Take both industry and government both hell bent on maximizing consumer spending, and it's no surprise that Joe Taxpayer gets to pick up their tab, at gunpoint no less(eg. what happens if you refuse to pay your taxes? Men with guns are sent to your door. $200 billion/year in corporate subsidies.).
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Old 08-31-2006, 09:13 PM   #5
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It's no big deal to keep batteries thermally managed. I know EV drivers who retain 99% of their range in below 0 degree weather when using lead acid batteries. A simple 70-100W battery heater with proper insulation does the trick.

IIRC, Ovonic NiMH batteries can operate in temperatures as low as -40 C without suffering any loss in capacity or power. LiIon batteries can generally go down to -20 C.
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Old 09-01-2006, 04:56 AM   #6
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The news this morning was talking about how ethanol may not be all it's hyped up to be. DOH! What have we been screaming since this board was up?

Everytime I hear a news story about something FE related, I imagine (fantasize?) how awesome it would be for them to say "during an interview with members from the GasSavers website..."
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Toecutter
Turns out that corn has high profit margins. Take both industry and government both hell bent on maximizing consumer spending, and it's no surprise that Joe Taxpayer gets to pick up their tab, at gunpoint no less(eg. what happens if you refuse to pay your taxes? Men with guns are sent to your door. $200 billion/year in corporate subsidies.).
It's about gas/fuel taxes. Somebody actually proposed a bill to tax hybrids more because they used less gas.

Industry/govt are pretty much one in the same. The taxpayers are always there waiting patiently to be fleeced again....the govt and big business just need to explain to them why they need to be...and to make them think it's for their own good.
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:35 AM   #8
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Random musings:

We don't have an "energy crisis" in America, we only have a liquid fuels crisis. America has plenty of wind, solar, nuclear and coal resources. All it takes is the political will to develop and use them.

Ethanol and fuel cells are just a distraction created by politicians who want to seem like they're doing something to "alleviate the gas crunch". In actuality, there are much better legislative ways to do reduce liquid fuel usage:

New taxes on vehicle horsepower, engine displacement, and/or vehicle mass.
Increased gasoline taxes
Diesels
Fischer-Troph coal to oil synthesis
Mandated FE standards.

All of the above would reduce the liquid fuels crisis within a few years, but the issue soon will be moot. HEVs and PHEVs, and EVs are going to change everything.

EV's were practical even when using lead acid batteries and brush-and-commutator DC motors. AC inverters and motors, regenerative braking and lithium batteries are about to revolutionize the auto industry. All of the automakers need to get on board, lest Toyota corner the whole market.
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Old 09-01-2006, 07:16 AM   #9
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Talkin' bout the big D

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Originally Posted by SVOboy
I think the EV will edge out the diesel in the US, but that's just me. Heck, more little start up EV makers then diesel models for sale,
The reason that D hasn't taken hold "yet" is that people are just now realizing the EPA regs that will make them supah low on the emissions scale, with ULSD and the new catalysts (granted, these scrubbers and emissions converters will be expensive at first, but they've been working on these for the last 5 years and will be required in new models after Jan 1, 2007 -- so expect them to hit the mass market and become more cost-effective). EV tech is definitely the future, but IMHO, not the immediate future. In-between, whilst we work on the technology, take a small, torquey diesel engine and power a hybrid, and/or a stand-alone model with more displacement for the people "afraid" of hybrids. This way, both technologies evolve and we can phase into SVO (boyeeee)

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Old 09-01-2006, 09:00 AM   #10
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Heard that a lot of boaters with 6 gallon tanks and rubber hoses with the bulb priming pump built into the hose are seeing a lot of black gas come out the hose from the "new" gas disolving the hose from the inside.
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