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I don't want to re-ignite the ethanol debate.....but

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by incitatus, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. "One of the primary concerns associated with alcohol in fuel is that it can be aggressive to the elastomer's, seals, and diaphragms used in fuel systems, causing them to fail unless the entire fuel system from tank to engine was originally designed for ethanol. The presence of alcohol not only affects fuel tank linings, but also components within the carburettor or fuel injection system"

    "Alcohol is used not just to increase the amount of bio-component in gasoline, it also contributes to the octane performance of the finished product. Combining water with fuels that contain alcohol will tend to remove the alcohol into the water phase. The removal of alcohol in this way decreases the octane availability in the remaining fuel and potentially takes it below the octane requirements of the engine"

    "No doubt you will be aware that there is a lot of pressure on reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout all areas of the energy sector. For this reason, many governments have issued either legislation or targets to include bio-components ito ground fuels"

    What is interesting about these quotes is that they are from a publication I have just received called 'Tech Talk' which is published by Shell Aviation. It seems the fuel companies themselves are not that keen on ethanol, but are being backed into a corner for purely political reasons. The bottom line of the article was 'dont use it in your aero engine, you'll break it'......so I for one ain't gonna use it my bike either.

    EDIT - They were talking about just 1% ethanol by the way!
  2. Ethanol should go in me, not my bike!

    Elastomers can be changed - new ones with various physical characteristics are still being developed.
    My line of work is apply and supply certain ranges of pumps to weird and wonderful transfer applications:

    The Petroproof tech, is only a recent advancement.
    An alcohol compatible diaphragm & seal elastomer is probably already available for fuel pumps to move ethanol laced petrol.

    Of course, it's economic viability, and adaptation to older engines, out-moded engines etc. means perhaps it's a good idea to stick to normal unleaded for a lot of vehicles on our roads.

    I'd only put normal unleaded in the bike.
  3. In Brazil the fuel there has a very high ethanol content and the Commodores Holden exports there have to have every plastic component in the fuel system replaced with special treated metal parts. Quite a lot of bits to be changed over if the Govt. wants us to use high-ethanol fuel. I'd only use it in my car or bike if I'd had all those chnaged and had it tuned for it. I tried the United Fuels 94RON ethanol fuel in my old Mazda and it killed it, needed to get the carb rebuilt.
  4. A few years ago, I think Ethanol fuel was introduced into New Zealand, and it caused havoc in one month, with cars being disabled, catching fire (leaks + hot exhaust) and no end of trouble.

    I am not a chemical engineer, and have been accused of having dementia when it comes to my memory.

    Any way to check this out?
  5. then there was this i saw the other day.

    The IndyCar Series, which has been recognized for its technical leadership in automobile racing, is now the motorsports leader in renewable and environmentally responsible fuel produced in America.

    The IndyCar Series’ groundbreaking use 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in its Honda Indy V-8 engines will have an impact on motorists for years. Ethanol, which can be manufactured from a variety of homegrown grains, is biodegradable, renewable and ecologically friendly. No wonder it is at the forefront of discussions about oil dependence and America’s economy.

    The long-term message is clear: If 650-horsepower IndyCar Series cars that cover the length of a football field in 1 second can run safely and effectively on 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol, so can your vehicle (either 90 percent gasoline/10 percent ethanol blend or an E85 vehicle) with reduced emissions as an add-on benefit.

    Indy car going green OR a push by Honda to track test technology for it's road cars?
  6. And the two are connected how? I don't know of any car/bike I own that was designed from the ground up for ethanol?
  7. Did a google search on the New Zealand problem, and the findings were that the 40% toluene content was the main factor.

    Ethanol had nothing to do with it, so I have blown my initial question out of the water.

    It was 1996, and was the introduction of unleaded premium.

    1720 people had their claims paid out by the oil companies.
  8. Not to derail a scholary debate, but just to consider another angle...

    If every second car that travels in the CBD and environs areas with just the driver, was replaced by a 250cc scooter instead, what would the results be in terms of traffic flow, wear and tear on roads, parking, pollution and the like?? If, according to a Sydney report last night, just 1% of all homes having water tanks would obviate the need for a desalination plant altogether, what would be the result of such a seismic shift in our transport patterns?
  10. Actually Paul, that is not as far fetched as it may first seem. In Central London they have introduced very large fees for bringing in a vehicle during business hours. Buses, taxis, scooters and small bikes are exempt, and numbers have apparently risen meteorically........
  11. Can anyone explain to me exactly WHY we are being told that we need to use ethanol "for the good of the environment"?
    Yes, I know it is renewable, but that is not the same thing. Unless ethanol is actually contributing to lowered greenhouse and particulate emissions (and maybe it is - I dunno), then it is not actually any more environmentally friendly than fossil fuel is it?
    (Definitely don't buy the line that it's production cycle is more fuel efficient!)
    I'm pretty sure I smell shenanigans...
  12. Because the sugar growers are huge contributers to the Liberal party, and the Prime Miniature is over a barrel with his daks down.
  13. I'm sure quite a few people here have seen footage of Indy pit crew that have been set on fire by ethanol. Or more accurately, seen Indy pit crew running around madly flapping their arms and rolling on the ground to put out the invisible flames. Not exactly a safe substance.

    Oh, I'm not 100% sure, but I think 100% Ethanol fuel makes your eyes water and burns your nose. Last time I was at the 'Nats there was a black blown Kingswood and after it went past all the exhaust caused that to happen to me. I think it was running on Ethanol. But it might have been Methanol. I'm not sure.
  14. No, that's only what they are saying to the people of QLD, where the sugar farmers are.
    In fact, Dick Honan, good friend of Johnny H and ethanol supplier the the Australian oil industry by Prime Ministerial decree, makes HIS ethanol out of WHEAT.
    But of course, nobody mentions that...
    I'll happily use ethanol in at least some of my vehicles, but only if someone can give me at least one genuine reason, that doesn't involve else someone getting rich.
  15. It would be interesting to see a TRUE enviromental impact comparison between all fuels.
    Take Ethanol from say Sugar cane grown in the ground.
    land use/degredation
    Water use
    Distilation impacts (heating costs, emisions, other industrial wastes)
    Burning of the by product (begas i think it's called)
    Filtering costs

    It's like the Toyota Prius, take in the life time enviromental impact and the 'green' electric cars are not as green as they seem
  16. If anyone can find it, there's an article on the nickel smelt that's the main one for making nickel for the Prius' batteries. Very interesting read.
  17. Those arguments are probably true for now. But the next question is 'so what next?' Even leaving aside climate change completely, oil is a very finite resource, we're past peak production and on the downhill slope, and demand is going up at a rapid rate. Oil is going to get very expensive, very fast - even more so if the cost of CO2 pollution gets factored in. So alternatives are crucial. Sure, they're in their infancy at the moment and may not even offer net benefits. But they're a start in a direction we will all have to go in anyway.
  18. Natural gas will see Australia through for several hunderd years.
    The thing I love about ethanol zealots os the fact they ignore it ends up polluting about the same amount as fossil fuels (with refining etc), and the amount of energy to extract and refine teh alcohol is pretty significant.

    Regards, Andrew.
  19. I just filled a full tank of United 95 ethanol enhanced petrol in my Gemini. Will it kill it?

  20. Hmmm... while I agree with the principle of end to end testing of the "green credentials" of any vehicle I don't think the example set up with the Jeep Wrangler and the Prius was an accurate comparison considering who it was paid for by, and some of the assumptions that were made in the comparison.

    Ethanol comparisons when the hydrocarbon input of tractors, pesticides, fertilizers etc seem to come well short. Nor does Hydrogen come out much better (for now anyway).

    Natural gas and LPG are nothing but a short term hydrocarbon solution. Do you really think "WE" will keep that LPG, CNG etc for our countries needs when private companies are shipping it offshore at less than market value right now? As the oil runs out it'll be sold to the highest bidder and there will be none left by 2050.

    Best solution - ban ALL new cars - period. (You know how much energy and hydrocarbons go into a new car.

    Make new engines, energy efficient ones, new high horsepower v8 ones, ones that run on alternative fuels as a transplant item for old cars.

    Plus that will keep lots of old cool cars that look different on the roads, and make people buy new motorbikes instead....