E15 to E85 coming to a pump near you!

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by coach03860, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    You mean fossil fuels like the ones they're burning to grow, harvest, dry, transport, process, and distribute the materials for ethanol and the finished ethanol, so we can enjoy the benefits of a much less efficient fuel?

    Biodiesel is great. Ethanol, not so much. Since they can make biodiesel relatively efficiently, or more efficiently than ethanol, the emphasis should be to ramp up production of diesel powered cars and trucks and even bikes. If I could affordably convert my KLR to the diesel motor the Marine Corps uses, I would do so right now. Today. I am a huge fan of diesel power but for some crazy reasons it doesn't fit with the EPA's agenda.
  2. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    Under the worst case scenario, the carbon footprint of ethanol is still vastly superior to petroleum. In addition, ethanol plants don't seem to have problems puking toxic shit into the Gulf and other environmentally sensitive areas.


    Most diesel fuel currently sold contains 5% biodiesel. Understand to that ethanol, biodiesel and feed can and is being extracted from corn though most biodiesel is derived from soybean and cotton seed oil. So you're fine with converting food into diesel but not into gasoline. Is that correct?
  3. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    Yes, and let me tell you why:

    Ethanol yields 21.1 MJ/l. Gasoline yields 32 MJ/l. These burn most efficiently at rather different stoichiometric ratios. The more ethanol you blend into a gallon of gasoline, the more dramatic the fuel mileage hit will be. Engines need to be specifically designed to operate on ethanol blends exceeding 10%. Ethanol has only 66% the energy content of gasoline whereas in the next paragraph we find that biodiesel has a minimum of 91.5% the energy content of regular diesel and a maximum of about 98%.

    Petroleum diesel yields around 36.4MJ/l. Biodiesel yields between 33.3 and 35.7 MJ/l. Diesel engines will run satisfactorily on pretty much anything combustible (Mr Diesel originally designed his engine to run on peanut oil). The stoichiometric ratio for petro diesel and biodiesel are as close as makes no functional difference. You don't lose a dramatic amount of energy by even operating with B100, nowhere near the energy you'd lose by running an engine on a high percentage of ethanol.

    The diesel engine requires nothing special at all to operate on biodiesel. Biodiesel is backwards compatible and can be used in every diesel engine ever made. Did I mention that ethanol blends over 10% aren't backwards compatible at all?

    Farmers can even use biodiesel to power their tractors, harvesters, and trucks that they're using to grow the crops to make biodiesel. Not to mention algae technology for biodiesel is looking awfully promising and far more efficient than growing a bunch of crops.

    To me, the numbers for biodiesel actually make sense, which is why biodiesel rocks and ethanol is a stupid product that wouldn't have existed but for the heavy handedness and lack of foresight by the government forcing the market to provide a product that nobody on earth (except the farmers) really wants.

    (Energy numbers from this pdf: http://www.ocean.washington.edu/courses/envir215/energynumbers.pdf)

    Final edit to say:

    The fact that I think biodiesel makes infinitely more sense than ethanol as an alternate fuel does NOT mean I endorse the government mandating either. . Ethanol as a product cannot be produced efficiently enough to stand alone without government mandate. On the other hand, biodiesel, given all the advantages I've listed above, is a good enough product that the market will support it on its' own. Particularly as the cost of petroleum fuel rises, and the manufacturers are able to produce biodiesel more efficiently in the future with various technologies.
  4. cjack

    cjack Been here awhile

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    For me and others, 35MJ/l is about 128,000BTU per US Gallon.
  5. pmelby

    pmelby Home Brew Adventurer

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    The fact remains that to bring 1mbtu of gasoline energy to the pump, it requires on the order of 1.3mbtu of fossil energy. The energy is required to extract the oil from the ground, transport to the refinery, distillation/cracking/de-sulfurificaiton, etc. Then blending of the various products of refining to make gasoline, finally transport to the distribution hub.

    On the other hand, to bring 1mbtu of EToh energy to the pump, derived from corn starch, only requires on the order of 0.7mbtu of fossil energy. About half of that energy requirement is what is needed to convert the corn starch to EToh, using fossil fuel that is not convenient for powering vehicles, natural gas, coal, etc.

    Get over the fact that running an EToh blend lowers your gas mileage, so what. Running winter blend gasoline reduces my mileage 10% or so, compared to summer blend, bfd.

    Go here for more info:
    http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/ethanol.aspx

    Not sure who's making the 'insane' profits on corn ethanol? Valero is now the 3rd biggest EToh producer in the US. They sure as fuck aren't going to pay any corn farmers more than what their crop is worth.

    cheers,
    melby
  6. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    Neither can petroleum. Imagine what fuel costs would be if the underlying infrastructure for delivery had to be paid for without any infusion of tax dollars. Then there is the history of leasing (and in some cases outright selling) drilling and mineral rights on public lands for pennies per acre.
  7. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    We would have been better off that way (without the subsidies). It is bad enough we have petroleum subsidies. Subsidizing and mandating other projects just adds to the problem. Fuel pricing is a self correcting problem. Other companies would step in on their own to provide alternatives as the alternatives became cost effective.

    I don't agree with any subsidies. I don't want money stolen from me and given to someone else. For infrastructure, national defense, and other similar things, sure, no problem paying taxes. I don't want my tax money to be spent so some other guy can get a huge tax credit for installing solar, or an ethanol plant, or a wind farm, or anything. These things can stand alone or not.

    As I said in previous posts, ethanol just isn't there yet as a good product. It doesn't have the same backwards compatability biodiesel has. Biodiesel will be the primary fuel of the future, especially if they were to ease the regs slightly and alow light duty diesels in. I would buy one of the smaller commuter euro diesels if more models from more manufacturers were available here (competition brings prices down).
  8. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    Sandman, I understand your aversion to subsidizes. However your faith in the free market is more than a bit misplaced when it comes to long term planning. Besides you have to admit that there is no free market in the peteoleum industry. I have no problem with tax breaks and subsidy payment to advance a technology or build infrastructure that betters the nation. If you want to put solar panels on your house and claim a tax credit, more power to you. It'll be good for you and it'll benefit me too through a greener, cleaner environment.
  9. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    Have you any idea what sort of nasty chemicals go into the making of solar panels? How much energy it takes to make the stuff to make the panels? I wouldn't exactly call them good for the environment. Especially given the corners they cut in China making them. Granted, that's in someone elses' back yard but that just shifts pollution elsewhere. If solar technology was that good, I wouldn't need an incentive to install panels, I would do it because it made sense on its' own.

    I'm considering solar technology but it will be home made. Well, based off a couple of old C band satellite dishes and mirrors or a reflective coating. Satellite dishes because they already have a good parabolic shape and I won't need to mess with doing the calculations. The parabolic shape will be ideal to focus solar energy on a small point which can then make steam or generate power other ways. Much more efficient than pv technology.

    Long term planning sorts itself out. Before petroleum would become scarce, there would be people looking into the next big thing. Why? The answer to that is the profit motive. You see the petroleum guys making good money, realize that transportation is an industry that isn't going away and realize if you can develop a competitive product, you can grab a share of the market. This solution is better to me because consumers pick the winners and losers, not the government (who also brought us MTBE, before deciding it was an environmental disaster).

    The government didn't invent the car or the plane or the bicycle, the electric range, refrigerators, video games, etc, free enterprising individuals did. The government didn't invent the phonograph or the telegraph, the telephone, or radio communications. People invent cool shit all the time without the assistance of and much of the time despite the seeming opposition of the government, and creating alternatives to petroleum fuels is no different.

    To me the winner in alternative fuels for the current timeframe will be the alternative fuel that is compatible with all vehicles (for its' type) both past and present. That one is biodiesel. Ethanol isn't backwards compatible with older engines/fuel delivery systems. Generally, car makers don't make even their entire new 2013 model year lineup accept E85, so this isn't something many consumers can utilize even if they have a brand new car. When I bought my Fusion, only one of the three available engines was E85 capable. I got the one with that engine but not for that reason. (I wanted the V6, because I didn't want the 4 cylinder and the sport model was too much extra money for an extra 20 odd hp, and coincidentally the only e85 capable engine was the mid-range 3L that I ended up with.) On the other hand, anybody with any sort of diesel engine from a decades old one to the latest one to roll off the assembly line can use biodiesel of any percentage without adverse effects. That is a clear winner to me.

    For the short to mid term until there is a breakthrough in battery and electrical generation technology, the way to go looks to be biodiesel and open the market up to all of the diesel vehicles euurope and asia have. Again, we don't have more small diesels here not because people don't want them but because of regulations stopping or at least hampering the process of being certified for sale here. Especially with some biodiesel, they can smell like they're running on french fries.

    No comment on the biodiesel vs ethanol thing?
  10. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    what a absolute crock of shit!!!!!

    just because our natural resources are given away .. has nothing to do with final fuel costs. Oil companies are among the most profitable companies on the face of the earth. due to big oil's monopoly position resulting from all the MEGA mergers .. they control fuel prices at will .. American consumers that has to drive to work has no choice but to pay what ever is charged at pump.

    big oil would continue to drill/explore for oil regardless if they receive tax handouts or not.

    IMHO it's criminal for big oil to continue receiving tax subsidies while making MASSIVE profits. there folks out there that actually believe big oil actually makes very little profits. due the legal manipulation of their cash flow by team of accountants. their net profits are shown as very low net percent figure. when one looks at big oil gross revenues ... the picture becomes completely different.

    world's worst accidental oil spill in Gulf of Mexico was also the world's costliest spill. BP's profits were barely effected for one quarter.... that's right BP's profits are so MASSIVE ... it barely made a difference for ONE quarter of profits.

    after Katrina excuses were made that somehow shutting two refineries would disrupt the entire fuel supplies for entire USA. mass hysteria resulted with folks all over trying to fill up their fuel tanks all at once. this is what caused long lines at gas stations... not fuel shortages from Katrina.

    overnight fuel prices doubled .. result was an increase of 30X in profits ... that's right an increase of 30x+ increase in profits. despite making MASSIVE profits big oil continues to rake in tax credits. IMHO this should be criminal. that's right big oil are giving Americans a royal fucking!!!

    for corn growers .. after mandate that 37% of total corn production be converted to ethanol .. prices for corn tripled .. that's right 3x .. when price received for corn triples while costs to produce corn stays the same and/or goes down due to constantly improving efficiencies though technology.

    above law mandating 37% of all corn production be converted to ethanol is corn grower's Katrina. it doesn't take an accountant to figure out resulting MASSIVE profits!

    now the American public are receiving a royal fucking from big oil, corn growers/ethanol producers/law makers!!!!
  11. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    You seem to have a problem with "massive profits". A quick google search would reveal that ethanol plant margins are quite tight and as I explained earlier the drought induced price runup in corn didn't result in a windfall for most farmers because there was a DROUGHT. Those farmers crops were much smaller than normal.

    Your faith in the free market is quaint, though misplaced. Actually farmers are the closest to free market competitors. There are still enough of them to preclude price manipulation and they do respond to market incentives, often against their own best interest. Witness this years corn crop, with decent weather and average yields farmers planted enough acres of corn to cause a glut that will cause corn prices to drop 50% or more from prices earlier this year. Actually, corn prices already down 35% and we are still a couple of months from harvest.
  12. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    "I would be surprised if the EPA didn't modify the RFS. Given the slow development of the cellulosic industry they pretty much have to. There are two primary parts to the RFS. There is the corn based mandate to reach 15 billion gallons by 2015 and the larger mandate including all types of ethanol set to reach 36 billion gallons by 2022. The later, primarily the cellulosic industry, is not going to be met. Given the blend wall there is no market access for cellulosic ethanol. There are ways to creatively fulfill the corn based RFS but the cellulosic industry is actually a problem to the corn based industry as it competes with corn ethanol for limited market access. The blend wall is the biggest obstacle confronting bio-fuel development. The ethanol industry needs more access to consumers and the petroleum industry sees that as a dire threat to their market share having become desperate to contain it. The RFS is going to be continually modified to fit the industry and market fundamentals. That is not what ethanol opponents are asking for when talking of modifying the RFS. They would prefer to kill it altogether."
    *
  13. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    So, is the implication then that the automobile manufacturers are colluding with the petroleum manufacturers to limit the production of E85 capable vehicles produced to the minimum number required by law? Surely the issue couldn't simply be that consumers refuse to pay extra for a vehicle that comes with the priviledge of achieving getting less MPG and dealing with a higher cost per mile while using higher ethanol blends. Surely when combined wth the fact that it costs the automaker a bunch more to make the E85 capable vehicle in terms of complexity, design, and materials, we can see that it isn't collusion causing the market to produce so few E85 capable vehicles, but consumers, the very ones who should hold power over the life and death of products.

    This is the crux of the problem with ethanol: the lack of backwards compatibility. The sales of higher ethanol blends are limited by the number of cars and light trucks on the road capable of using it. These modifications include changing o rings, gaskets, and seals to handle the additional ethanol, and significant improvements to the computer and engine instrumentation so it can detect varying amounts of ethanol and adjust fuel delivery accordingly.

    Ethanol relies on more people getting newer cars that are certified for more ethanol content in the fuel. That just isn't happening. That's not a conspiracy, it's basic common sense. This is why the ethanol industry has been a loser from the start: no backward compatibility. This is why biodiesel is better because there are no backward compatibility issues, it'll run just fine in pretty much any diesel engine ever made from the first one to the latest one to roll off the assembly line. No mods required.
  14. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    In the last year I've spent $500k on 2 new tractors. [​IMG]

    They are tier 4 compliant, use urea to meet EPA regs and are not warranted at biofuel blends above 5%. Biodiesel is cool, but it isn't a drop in replacement for regular diesel.

    Btw, flex fuel compatibility doesn't cost extra. It's pretty universal throughout certain engine lines.
  15. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    now we are getting somewhere .. normally someone that expends $500k in capital improvement would get a loan. but in the case of big oil/refineries after Katrina and resulting doubling of fuel prices with little to no increase in costs of production. results were 30X + increase in profits generated.

    big oil was under orders from their tax accounts to spent those profits for acquisitions vs paying taxes. result was a buying frenzy that resulted in consolidation of the entire oil business. literally overnight number of USA refinery owners went from hundreds down to a small handful of owners.

    corn producer's Katrina was mandate/law that requires 37% of total corn be converted into ethanol. prices for corn tripled .. resulting in MASSIVE profits.

    my guess is your accountants instructed you to make (spend $$) all capital improvement possible to drive down net profits. further my guess is you paid for those $500k tractors from cash flow without loans.

    now tell us how far off the mark my guesses are?
  16. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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  17. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    Backwards compatibility only works for Biodiesel if you already have a diesel vehicle. For 90% of U.S. vehicle owners there is no real difference between a change to 85% ethanol blends and a change to Biodiesel. Both require buying a new vehicle, and modifying (or scrapping) existing vehicles.

    Do you work for the Association of Diesel Engine Manufacturers? :evil j/k
  18. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    Pretty far off. As I said, the drought last year was brutal but 2011 was even worse. I bought those tractors to improve operations, not for tax savings and they are financed.
  19. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    I think that most people who don't farm, or know a farmer, understand that most of the plains states have been in (at least a) moderate drought for a decade now. The High Plains have been in severe drought for nearly 4 years. Less water= less yield = higher market prices, but usually less income for the farmer unless he can figure out how to farm more efficiently.
  20. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    let's see how believable your answer is ... please give me a bit to calculate out yields @ $6.50 bu

    here's the historical yield data from Purdue university. two $250k tractors will support at least 10,000 acres.

    -------------
    Historical Corn Grain Yields for Indiana and the U.S.

    Agronomy Dept., Purdue Univ.
    West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054

    Yields are steadily increasing over time.
    Year-to-year departures from trend yield are primarily weather-related.The adoption of hybrid corn by growers after the Dust Bowl years resulted in the first significant improvement in corn productivity and led to an annual rate of yield improvement of about 0.8 bu/ac/year from about 1937 through about 1955 (Fig. 1). A second significant shift in the annual rate of yield improvement occurred in the mid-1950's due to a combination of improved genetics, availability of N fertilizer and chemical pesticides, and mechanization (Fig. 1). Since 1955, corn grain yields in the U.S. have increased at a fairly constant 1.9 bushels per acre per year primarily due to sustained improvements in genetics and production technologies (Fig. 1). Some question whether the yield trend line has shifted again in recent years due to the advent of transgenic hybrid technology in the mid-1990's, but the data show little evidence that a third significant shift in corn productivity has occurred (Fig. 1).
    Annual grain yield estimates fluctuate above and below the yield trend line over the years (Fig. 2), primarily in response to weather variability year to year. The Great Drought of 2012 has certainly resulted in dramatic and historic reductions in grain yield relative to trend lines. As of August 2012, the National Ag. Statistics Service of the USDA (USDA-NASS, 2012) estimated that the average U.S. corn grain yield will be 123.4 bu/ac (Fig. 1). This yield estimate would be 23% lower than the predicted 2012 trend yield of 159 bu/ac and would rank as the sixth worst departure from trend yield since the USDA began publishing yield estimates in 1866 (Fig. 2).
    Indiana's 2012 corn crop is expected to fare worse than the national average, in part because drought conditions developed earlier than the other major Corn Belt states. As of August 2012, the USDA-NASS predicts a statewide corn grain yield of only 100 bu/ac (USDA-NASS, 2012). This yield estimate for Indiana would be 38% below the 2012 trend yield estimate of 162 bu/ac and would constitute the single worst departure from trend yield since the USDA began publishing yield estimates in 1866 (Fig. 3).
    [​IMG]
    Fig. 1

    [​IMG]
    Fig. 2

    [​IMG]
    Fig. 3.
    References

    USDA-NASS. 2012. Crop Production. United States Dept. of Agr - Nat'l Ag. Statistics Service, Washington, D.C. Online at http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1046 [URL accessed Aug 2012].