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GaryP

Meijer to Sell Ethanol Blend

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Meijer Inc. and General Motors Corp. will announce today, with Gov. Jennifer Granholm, plans to make the ethanol-gasoline blend E85 available at Meijer filling stations.

http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID...ESS01/604180331

Cool!

This is great news. A lot of people own flex fuel vehicles and don't even know it.

The quicker we can end our foreign oil dependence the better. News items like this are always a step in the right direction.

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This is great news. A lot of people own flex fuel vehicles and don't even know it.

The quicker we can end our foreign oil dependence the better. News items like this are always a step in the right direction.

Unless we're making the ethanol using a non-oil based energy source, we've done nothing to end our dependence. There's also data that claims that fuel efficiency drops by 15%-20% with ethanol. At this point in time, ethanol is no panacea.

That being said, it is a cleaner fuel for the environment and our country is at least getting serious about alternative fuels.

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Unless we're making the ethanol using a non-oil based energy source, we've done nothing to end our dependence. There's also data that claims that fuel efficiency drops by 15%-20% with ethanol. At this point in time, ethanol is no panacea.

That being said, it is a cleaner fuel for the environment and our country is at least getting serious about alternative fuels.

Its actually more efficient than "regular" gasoline. It has an octane rating of OVER 100 which with the proper engines can make your mpg much higher :blush:

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Its actually more efficient than "regular" gasoline. It has an octane rating of OVER 100 which with the proper engines can make your mpg much higher :blush:

No, that is incorrect. Octane has nothing to do with energy content of fuel. Gasoline has a tendency to pre-detonate due to just the compression in a cylinder, especially a hot cylinder. This isn't good if the detonation occurs before the piston reaches the top of the cylinder as it tends to force the piston in the wrong direction. They add put additives in gasoline to to "slow down" the ability of gasoline pre-detonate which is measured by an octane rating. Ethanol boosts octane because it burns slower than gasoline.

The earlier post is correct in that mileage does go down with ethanol simply because there isn't as much energy available in it compared to an equivalent amount of gasoline. Its big benefit however is that you don't have to import it, it is renewable, and it doesn't add to the net CO2 in the atmosphere. All are very good reasons to continue to use it.

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I'm an accounting major, not a scientist, can someone tell me, Ethanol is in it's infancy stages as a fuel, will they be able to refine it to the point where it will just as efficient as the current fuels?

and can I take my little go cart like Cavelier, and fill it up with ethanol?

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I'm an accounting major, not a scientist, can someone tell me, Ethanol is in it's infancy stages as a fuel, will they be able to refine it to the point where it will just as efficient as the current fuels?

and can I take my little go cart like Cavelier, and fill it up with ethanol?

Your Cavelier is limited to 10% ethanol. Anything more will damage the vehicle.

Ethanol has been around since the 1970s when the first oil shocks occured. In the late 70s many stations sold a 10% blend of gasoline and ethanol called gasahol. It was the beginnings of an alternative fuel industry. Unfortunately gasoline got incredibly cheap in the 1980s and the ethanol industry collapsed in the USA and now we are starting again. Brazil in comparison stuck with it and today they have cars, ironically made by GM & Ford that can burn 100% ethanol, 100% gasoline or any combination in between. Most stations sell 100% ethanol, and because of their ethanol industry which grew from the 1970s, they are avoiding having to import close to a billion barrels of oil/year now.

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No, that is incorrect. Octane has nothing to do with energy content of fuel. Gasoline has a tendency to pre-detonate due to just the compression in a cylinder, especially a hot cylinder. This isn't good if the detonation occurs before the piston reaches the top of the cylinder as it tends to force the piston in the wrong direction. They add put additives in gasoline to to "slow down" the ability of gasoline pre-detonate which is measured by an octane rating. Ethanol boosts octane because it burns slower than gasoline.

The earlier post is correct in that mileage does go down with ethanol simply because there isn't as much energy available in it compared to an equivalent amount of gasoline. Its big benefit however is that you don't have to import it, it is renewable, and it doesn't add to the net CO2 in the atmosphere. All are very good reasons to continue to use it.

I suppose "efficient" was the wrong word however "power" is the right word. With the proper engine, horsepower of a purely E85 engine could very well be much higher than a regular or FFV vehicle's engine.

You are right about the efficient factor it takes about 1.56 gallons of E85 to go as far as 1 gallon of gasoline.

sry :(

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Your Cavelier is limited to 10% ethanol. Anything more will damage the vehicle.

Ethanol has been around since the 1970s when the first oil shocks occured.

that is untrue, when the first internal combustion engine was invented in 1872 there was no gasonline, they burned Ethyl alcohol, which is another name for ethanol

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I heard somewhere that the amount of energy it takes to manufacture ethanol (growing and harvesting the corn, transporting to the refinery, actually refining it, then distributing it) is greater than the amount jof energy derived when burning it in your engine. Does anyone know if this is true?

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i dont know if this is true, but im pretty sure that it takes electricity to make ethanol, which is why it wont be used to heat homes or make electricity, at least thats what i read on a website about ethanol a while ago

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i think michigan needs to be the leader of the pack here as being the leader of alternate fuels could regain michigan's auto strength but with high-tech jobs.

as ethanol is more of a stop-gap solution, the innovations needed to develop ethanol efficiently could spill over into other energy technologies.

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My car is not E85 compatible :( , but it does get better than 30mpg highway :)

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I drove by an E85 station in Greenville Monday. First of all, who knew there was an e85 station in Greenville of all places, and second, gas was $2.55 which beats the hell out of the $2.93 I just paid.

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I drove by an E85 station in Greenville Monday. First of all, who knew there was an e85 station in Greenville of all places, and second, gas was $2.55 which beats the hell out of the $2.93 I just paid.

however its not as efficient i.e. youll run out of gas much sooner

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I heard somewhere that the amount of energy it takes to manufacture ethanol (growing and harvesting the corn, transporting to the refinery, actually refining it, then distributing it) is greater than the amount jof energy derived when burning it in your engine. Does anyone know if this is true?

I hear this a lot of places too...but it simply is not true. It is based on a 2002 study done by Dr. Pimental of Cornell. Numerous studies and articles have shown that his study is flawed in its approach, is based on exaggerated usage of agricultural fertilizers and irrigation water, is based on outdated data (1970's ethanol production data and early 90's agricultural data), and does not give credit for the animal feed that is also produced as part of the ethanol making process. I think the reason people are still hearing this is that the oil industry is keeping it alive. I think the fact that they found one study by a PhD gives them some cover, even if they know how flawed the study is. For his one study, I can show you at least a half a dozen that show that the energy in ethanol is 50-70% greater than it takes to make it. See this link if you are interested in more info http://www.ethanol.org/documents/NetEnergy...eissuebrief.pdf

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Corn is also far from the best crop to use in ethanol production. It's just that we grow a lot of it in the US. I'd like to skip the whole flexible fuel vehicle thing though and go straight to an E85 car. FFVs can't take full advantage of E85 because they also have to accept normal gasoline.

-nb

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Corn is also far from the best crop to use in ethanol production. It's just that we grow a lot of it in the US. I'd like to skip the whole flexible fuel vehicle thing though and go straight to an E85 car. FFVs can't take full advantage of E85 because they also have to accept normal gasoline.

-nb

Agreed but as powerful as OPEC and the oil companies are now. Its going to take a lot of time to dislodge them to make alternative fuels of any kind the norm. That doesn't included nasty oil lobyists slowing things to a crawl at the government level ethier. We need grassroots with enough suport and backing to speak louder than the oil companies and pressure government around the world to pass laws to rush alternative fuels into the mainstream.

But that's just the tip of the iceburg. When burning alternative fuels we still have the problem of the shear number of cars on the road. Each vehicle will produce less polution than their gas guzzling counterparts. But add the cumulative effect together we're still puffing loads of pollution in to the air. Also we would still be dealing with traffic congestions and out of control urban sprawl. So I think that switching to alternative fuels is just a temperary fix. We need federal, state, and local initiatives to reduce people's dependance on the automobile, not just oil, by focusing on building effective mass transit options and a rethink on city planning.

If my home town had a mass transit options better than just sparatic city bus service, say a solid LRT network or even a good BRT network. Than I'd gladly use it rather than driving.

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Its not 100% relevant, but I saw this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSBykAngDpY

on Youtube, and its really relevant today.

That video is disturbing for me. Reminds me of the consipracy to rid trolleys for busses. Hey 'they' did conspire before, why wouldn't they do it again?

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Corn is also far from the best crop to use in ethanol production. It's just that we grow a lot of it in the US. I'd like to skip the whole flexible fuel vehicle thing though and go straight to an E85 car. FFVs can't take full advantage of E85 because they also have to accept normal gasoline.

-nb

I agree that corn is far from the best crop to use in ethanol production in THEORY. However, in the US, right now it is the best crop to use. This can be evidenced by the fact that all the ethanol plants going up right now use corn as a feedstuff.

Brazil uses sugarcane, which is a more efficient process there. It is because of their climate, being closer to the equator they can raise sugarcane much more efficiently than the US can. On the other hand, they are not nearly as efficient at rasing corn, in fact it is a pretty minor crop there (the big one being soybeans).

In theory, using high biomass crops (like the oft mentioned switchgrass) for a feedstuff to make ethanol uses the least amount of energy for the amount of ethanol that is in the feedstuff. The problem is that we have not figured out how to efficiently get the sugars out of these crops to make the ethanol. There is a lot of research being done right now trying to develop enzymes, fungi, etc. to break down these crops into ethanol. If (according to some, when) this happens we will see a huge jump forward in the efficiency of the ethanol making process.

Your point about the flex fueled vehicles is also very true. While ethanol does not have as many BTU's as gasoline (it will get less MPG) it does have many other properties that a vehicle tuned for it could take advantage of. The biggest one is it is much higher octane than gasoline. This means it ignites less easily, and a higher compression can be used in the engine, leading to better performance and fuel economy. Despite less BTU's per gallon, a car tuned for and fueled by ethanol can outperform a car tuned for and fueled by gasoline. Reference the fact that all indy cars will be burning ethanol next year (switching over from methanol)

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