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ALTERNATE ENERGY: Ethanol: It’s Just Plain Corny

Biofuels Engine Design, Business News/Analysis, Infrastructure, Opinions, R & D Focus, Sustainability, Vehicle/Engine
June 26, 2017

by James Bobreski (Finger Lakes Times)  … Ethanol is the alcohol in our beer that we enjoy at a ball game, a party or after a long day at work. In this author’s opinion that’s where it belongs. Using food products as a source of energy other than intended for our personal combustion is simply not a good idea.

Comment by Fletch:  You are incorrect on so many things, let me count the ways.

#1) The Federal corn ethanol subsidy and import tariff ended back in 2011. Corn ethanol producers receive no Federal tax money today.

#2) Believe it or not, we used more fertilizer in 1980 before ethanol than after!
http://www.earth-policy.org/images/uploads/graphs_tables/highlights43_top_3.PNG

As such it is illogical to blame fertilizer problems on ethanol production since they would exist with or without ethanol. There is hope with a very quickly growing movement in agriculture that uses cover crops and soil health to sequester soil nutrients and even naturally grow their own.

#3) Most corn is not irrigated and believe it or not, we used more irrigation water in 1980 before ethanol than after!
https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/charts/usgswaterwithdrawalpng/usgswaterwithdrawal_450px.jpeg

#4) We grew more corn in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s than we do today with 1932 the greatest at >113 million acres. That compares to 2015 the year the ethanol mandate maxed out of 88 million acres of corn.

#5) Corn is not a vegetable, but a grain. Most of all corn is grown as livestock feed, only a small percentage is for direct human consumption and I would argue that high fructose corn syrup is closer to a poison than food but that is another topic.

Corn ethanol is merely a value added product of feed production which uses a waste stream from it, the carbohydrates, which cattle can not digest and normally waste on the ground in their manure. Corn ethanol leaves the feed(i.e. the proteins, fats, and minerals) alone, actually enhanced to be healthier, more digestible, and more productive. Humans can eat the distillers grain too.

#6) Ethanol plants use less than three gallons to make one gallon of ethanol with the newer plants at 2.33 gallons and that number is still going down.

Gasoline water use is many times that number is going up especially with fracking and tar sands.

#7) Since corn ethanol uses a waste product of feed production, it is super cheap to make hence the reason we are exporting ethanol to Brazil who uses sugar cane which is not value added but must be specifically grown for that purpose.

E85prices.com shows that ethanol is most often >30% cheaper than E0 so it takes less energy to make and deliver a gallon of ethanol to the consumer than it does gasoline.

#8) In our current inefficient low compression engines, ethanol will deliver less mileage but with more power. If you consider the extra horsepower with an apples to apples comparison, then our flex fuel fleet gets 3% better mileage called the gasoline equivalent ratio.

See bottom of page 7 top of 8 from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
http://web.archive.org/web/20170121004456/https://www1.eere.energy.gov/bioenergy/pdfs/analysis_saab2007.pdf

#9) In high compression ethanol optimized engines the efficiency is greater than any fuel on earth!
See these few examples of such engines:
FROM RICARDO:
The new federal CAFE standards are calling for a doubling of fuel mileage performance, which, Vint says, is going to send OEM’s looking for high octane numbers to improve efficiency and ethanol is the best source. Ricardo, an engineering firm with over 100 years in the business of engine design, has developed an extreme boosted direct injection engine (EBDI) to optimize ethanol blends. The 3.2 V6 gasoline engine rivals the power and torque of a much larger GMC Sierra 6.6 diesel, he said, and it delivers 3.5 percent better fuel economy than the diesel.
FROM CUMMINS ETHOS ENGINE:
According to Cummins, it delivers the power (up to 250 hp) and peak torque (up to 450 lb. ft.) of gasoline and diesel engines nearly twice its displacement…
…Using corn derived E-85, the high thermal efficiency and power-to-weight ratio of this engine results in 50 to 58 percent lower well-to-wheels CO2 emissions compared with the gasoline engine baseline. Using second-generation, lingo-cellulosic derived E-85, the power train’s efficiency features deliver 75 to 80 percent lower well-to-wheels CO2 emissions, depending on the drive cycle.
FROM SCANIA:
Scania has a number of products available for running on bioethanol – e.g. buses, trucks and waste collectors. Scania is the only vehicle manufacturer to date that has successfully produced bioethanol applications for heavy transport. Our engines adapted for bioethanol fuel have the same energy efficiency as a standard diesel engine and fulfill the Euro 5/ EEV emission level.
FROM THE EPA:
An important step toward increasing alcohol fuel demand, then, may lie in providing economical engine technology options that utilize such fuels more efficiently, to compensate for the lower fuel energy density. The FFVs produced today, however, use fairly typical gasoline engines, which, because they must retain dual-fuel capability, are not able to take full advantage of the favorable combustion characteristics of alcohols. Engines optimized for alcohol fuel use, on the other hand, may yield efficiencies that exceed that of state-of-the-art diesel engines—or, about one third higher than that of FFV engines. In earlier engine research at EPA with neat methanol and ethanol [1], for example, over 40% brake thermal efficiency was achieved over a relatively broad range of loads and speeds, with peak levels reaching over 42%.
FROM EPA & FORD ON FORD’S ETHANOL OPTIMIZED ECOBOOST SYSTEM:
Compared to production gasoline engines:
Fuel efficiency is ~15 – 20% improved for various drive cycles.
Full load performance is significantly improved, and comparable to production diesel engines.
THE INDY 500:
In 2005, the IRL used 100 percent methanol in their tanks. The fuel worked well and was more efficient than straight gasoline, but IRL officials believed there was room for improvement. In 2006, they moved to a 10 percent blend of ethanol and methanol, which was then changed to 100 percent ethanol for the 2007 season…
…The switch to ethanol also allowed the racers to carry less fuel and make fewer pit stops, thereby increasing efficiency even more. “When the cars ran on methanol tanks had to hold 30 gallons to accommodate the fuel requirements of the cars,” Vervynckt says. “After getting the engines to perform at their full potential, there was a significant gain in mileage. Indy cars now have 22-gallon tanks. When a driver pulls in to change out his tires, he can fill up. Teams were able to match their tire and fuel stops exactly, instead of stopping for tires only, or fuel only.”

#10) Here is a Ford F-150 4X4 example on cost per mile to drive. Let us see which fuel is the cheapest to run. Prices on e85prices.com today are:

E85 $1.81/gallon
E0 $2.64/gallon

The Ford F150 4X4 EPA rated at 17mpg for E0 and 13mpg for E85

E85 = $1.81/gal divide by 13 mpg = $.139/mile
E0 = $2.64/gal divide by 17 mpg = $.155/mile

E85 is a cheaper per mile and is safer in a crash (the reason the Indy 500 switched to alcohol), has more horsepower, and exposes you and your family to a fraction of the carcinogens and toxins as seen in the above Oak Ridge link.

Note also with E85 more of your money goes to American workers and American businesses who pay American taxes and put it in American banks to buy goods and services that you or your fellow Americans produce.
With E0, more of your money goes to Arab sheiks who put it in Swiss bank accounts and pay little if any in tax.

#11) Ethanol on most chemical compatibility charts you will find is equal to at worst, but most often less corrosive on rubbers, plastics and metals than what gasoline and BTEX(benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene) are on them.

If you have any doubts, check out this one:

https://www.coleparmer.com/Chemical-Resistance

Or here for a second opinion:

http://www.graco.com/content/dam/graco/ipd/literature/misc/chemical-compatibility-guide/Graco_ChemCompGuideEN-B.pdf

Or here if you need a third opinion:

http://legacy.shurflo.com/pdf/industry/CCChart.pdf

#12) If ethanol caused ozone, then ozone levels should have increased with the exploding use of ethanol. Instead ozone levels crashed:

https://www.epa.gov/air-trends/ozone-trends

#13) Anhydrous means without water. Anhydrous ethanol means 200 proof or 100% ethanol. Hydrous ethanol like they use in flex fuel cars in Brazil is 192 proof or 96% ethanol and 4% water. It is the best conventional distillation does.

They used to sell a lot of little cans of alcohol called HEET and DRY GAS to fix the water problems that used to exist in winter with the use of straight gasoline back before E10.

If ethanol truly ever caused problems with water, every single winter on the first cold day there would be thousands upon thousands of stalled cars throughout the upper US and especially Canada with frozen fuel lines. It is the exact opposite today, we do not freeze fuel lines and don’t need HEET or DRYGAS because we already have alcohol in our gasoline.

…Mercury Marine says, “After the transition period from E0, E10 may actually be a superior marine fuel as it tends to keep low levels of water moving through the fuel system, keeping the system ‘dry.'”

…Mercury Marine, which recently hosted a Webinar on ethanol myths, noted that ethanol does not “grab water molecules out of the air.” It is hydrophilic, which means ethanol holds water. With regular gasoline (E0) as well at E10, the primary cause of water collecting in tanks is condensation on tank walls. But unlike E0, which can absorb almost no moisture, E10 can hold up to half of one percent of water by volume, and the water molecules will dissolve in the fuel. The “solubilized” water will bypass the water separator and burn harmlessly through the engine…

According to a paper published by the Society of Automotive Engineers, at 68 degrees F, alcohol with as much as 45% water will mix with gasoline and not separate. With 4%, alcohol will form a stable mix with gas down to about minus 22 degree F.*

*A.C. Castro, C.H. Koster, and E.K. Franleck, Flexible Ethanol Otto Engine Management System 942400(Warrendale, PA:Society of Automotive Engineers International, 1994)

#14) I will make a new post if I missed anything. Take a look Jim, you have to try to research and be certain before you make claims.  READ MORE

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gas prices natural gas vehicles Navy Nebraska neem negative carbon emissions neodymium Nepal net energy balance Netherlands Nevada New Brunswick Newfoundland new fuel approval New Guinea New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New South Wales New York New Zealand next generation biofuels next generation vehicles NHRA drag racing Nicaragua nickel Niger Nigeria nipa sap nitrate leaching nitrates nitrogen Nitrogen fertiliser nitrogen starvation nitrous oxide (N2O) Niue NO2 noodles nopal North Africa North America North Carolina North Dakota northern catalpa Northern Ireland Northern Territory North Korea Northwest Territories Norway Nova Scotia NOx (nitrogen oxides) noxious weeds NTSB nuclear Nunavut nutraceuticals nutrient credit trading nutrient management nutrients nutrition nut shells oak oat hulls oats oat straw Obligated Parties/Point of Obligation (PoO) ocean-based energy Oceania octane octane price/value octanol Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of Management and Budget (OMB) offtake agreements Ohio oil oil embargo oil exploration oil monopoly oil price parity oil prices oil production oil refineries oil replacement Oils oil sands oil seed oil seed crops oil speculators oil spill oil subsidies oil taxes Oklahoma olefins olive cake olive oil olive pits olives olive water Oman Omega-3s on-farm algae production on-farm biodiesel on-farm ethanol production on-farm natural gas production on-farm processing one pound waiver onion waste online courses Ontario OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) open fuel standard open pond opportunity zones optimized flex fuel vehicles orange peel orchard grass orchard prunings Oregon organic solar cells OSHA Overseas Private Investment Corporation overview overview/survey course oxygen oxygenate ozone Pakistan Palau palm palm biomass palm fatty acid distillate palm fiber palm fronds palm kernel palm kernel oil palm kernel shell palm oil palm oil mill effluent (POME) palm oil prices palm waste 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pomegranates pongamia pongamia pinnata poplar poppy population control Portable refinery Portugal poster sessions potamogeton potassium potato poultry litter power-to-x/gas/liquid prairie grasses pre-processing precision farming/agriculture precursors/biointermediates premium gasoline Pretreatment pretreatment equipment price price of water prickly pear Prince Edward Island process flow diagram producer tax credit Production tax credit productivity project insurance propagating Propane/Biopropane/Renewable Propane propanol property insurance propylene protectionism protein protests public comments public health policy Puerto Rico pulp Pulp/Paper Mill pump retrofit kit pumps pungam Punnai tree pyrolysis Q-RIN QAP Qatar quality assurance Quality Assurance Plans (QAPs) quality improvement quantum dots Quebec Queensland quote of the week r R33 rabbits race radiata pine Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing railroad rainforest rain tree RAND rare earth metal RD20 RD30 RD99 RD100 reclaimed mine lands recycled oil recycled plastics recycling red algae redcedar Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation refineries reforestation Reformate regenerative braking regenerative farming regulation regulations Regulations-Federal Regulations-State Regulatory Enhancement Growth Support (REGS) Reid vapor pressure (RVP) remediation remediation rice straw Renewable Chemical renewable chemical producer tax incentive renewable chemical production tax credit renewable d Renewable Diesel/Green Diesel/Paraffinic Diesel Renewable Diesel/Green Diesel price Renewable Diesel Production renewable diesel pumps renewable diesel tax credit renewable diesel terminal Renewable Energy Renewable Energy Directive (RED and RED II) Renewable Energy Standard Renewable Energy to Fuels through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) renewable fuel renewable fuel oil (RFO) Renewable Fuels Directive (EU) Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) revisions/repeal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS and RFS2) renewable gasoline blendstock renewable marine diesel Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) price Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) pumps Renewable Portfolio Standards Renewable Power Standard Renewable Synthesized Iso-Paraffinic Fuels (SIP) Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) renewable volume obligation (RVO) RenovaBio replacement molecules Repowering Assistance Program repurpose research and development research facility resiliency resource depletion retail retrofit return on investment R Factor RFI (Request for Information) RFS "reset" RHD100 Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) Rhode Island Ricardo rice rice bran oil rice hulls rice husks rice price rice straw RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) RIMPAC RINs (Renewable Identification Numbers) RINs markets RINs price risk management RJ-4 RJ-6 RME (rape methyl ester) RME180 RNA (Ribonucleic acid) roadmap rocket fuel Romania RON (Research Octane Number) rotation crops royalties RTP (rapid thermal processing) rubber rumen ruminants rural development Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative Russia Russian olive rutabaga Rwanda ry rye Rye grass s saccharification Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) safety safflower sago pond weed SAIC SAK Salicornia salt-tolerant saltbush saltcedar sal tree salt water Sanctions Santa Monica sardine oil Saskatchewan Saudi Arabia sawdust scale up Scandinavia scholarships/fellowships Science Advisory Board (SAB) Science Policy Scotland scum sea level rise seashore mallow seawater Seaweed/Macroalgae seaweed cultivation Section 526 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seed-to-wheel seed husks Senegal Serbia sesame sewage Seychelles shale shale gas shale oil shark oil sheep shipping shipping containers shipworm Sierra Leone silica Silphie/cup plant/Indian cup silver silver maple simarouba Singapore sisal SK slash Slovakia Slovakia/Slovak Republic Slovenia 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(substantially similar) succinic acid sucrose Sudan sugar sugar-to-biodiesel sugar-to-farnesane sugar-to-jetfuel Sugar Beets/Energy Beets sugarcane sugarcane prices sugarcane straw Sugar kelp sugar palm sugar platform sugar prices sugars sugars-to-fats sugar standards sulfur Sumatra sunflower supercritical fluid supercritical hydrolysis supply agreements supply chain Supreme Court surahart Suriname sustai Sustainability Swaziland Sweden sweetgum sweet potatoes Sweet sorghum swine waste Switchgrass Switzerland sycamore syngas syngas fermentation synthetic biology synthetic diesel synthetic gasoline synthetic liquified gas (SLG) synthetic methane Syria Tailoring Rule Taiwan Tajikistan tall fescue tall oil tallow tallow tree Tamarix tank-to-wheel tank cars tankers tanker trucks Tanzania tariffs taro tar sands Tasmania tax benefit tax credit taxes tax incentives tax parity tax policy tea teach-the-teacher teacher teacher resources teacher training technical course Technical Readiness Levels techno-economic analysis technology transfer tech transfer telephone utility poles Tennessee termites terpenes terrestrial carbon testing Texas textbook Thailand theft therapeutics thermal deoxygenation thermocatalytic conversion thermochemical conversion thermochemical liquefaction Tier 3 Tier 4 tilapia tillage Timor-Leste tires tobacco tobacco tree Togo Tokyo toluene Tonga tool Toronto torrefaction Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) trade trade dispute/discrimination trade group trade organization Trade Policy trade secrets training trains transesterification transgenics transition Transportation Fuels Policy Transportation Fuels Policy--Municipal Transportation Fuels Policy--State Transportation Policy Treasury Department trees Trinidad and Tobago triticale trucks tubers tung tunicate Tunisia Turkey UCOME (Used Cooking Oil Methyl Ester) Uganda UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine UL (Underwriters Laboratory) ULSD (ultra low sulfur diesel) Ultra Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (ULSFO) underground 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