Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Serious Problem / Corny Solution

Okay, I thought this was basically the case on these fuel alternatives. So perhaps our idiotic leaders should now look at the most creative ways that can be devised to first increase conservation (-- yeah, that’s right, Uncle Dickhead, conservation --) which I bet in this country could reduce fossil fuel consumption by 5 to 10 percent in a matter of a few years ... and “get back Jo-Jo” to actualizing the stuff we have been led to believe are pipe dreams ... solar, wind, tidal, etc. You know the song ... but can you dance to it?

Study: Ethanol Won't Solve Energy Problems

By H. JOSEF HEBERT Associated Press Writer


July 10,2006 | WASHINGTON -- Ethanol is far from a cure-all for the nation's energy problems. It's not as environmentally friendly as some supporters claim and would supply only 12 percent of U.S. motoring fuel -- even if every acre of corn were used.

A number of researchers, the latest in a report Monday, are warning about exaggerated expectations that ethanol could dramatically change America's dependence on foreign oil by shifting motorists away from gasoline.

As far as alternative fuels are concerned, biodiesel from soybeans is the better choice compared with corn-produced ethanol, University of Minnesota researchers concluded in an analysis Monday.

But "neither can replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies," the researchers concluded in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The paper said development of nonfood materials such as switchgrass, prairie grasses and woody plants to produce cellulosic ethanol would be a major improvement with greater energy output and lower environmental impacts.

But creation of cellulosic ethanol remains in the laboratory research stage. And even nonfood sources of ethanol would fall far short of replacing gasoline, most researchers agree. […]

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For mariners ...
AND those who use hand-held gas powered tools:

Fill Up or Foul Up?

Don’t believe the hype on ethanol.
Adding ethanol to gasoline in the marine environment
may cause more harm than good.

Even more information:

... Ethanol has been linked to the weakening of fiberglass gas tanks, clogged fuel filters and carburetors. E10 has a shorter shelf-life than gasoline and also attracts water, causing yet another set of problems. But most alarming is the deterioration of certain gas tanks. [...]

Ethanol is a solvent and attracts water. These two properties can lead to clogged filters, inadequate lubrication in two-strokes, and low octane conditions that can damage engines. [...]

There is also anecdotal evidence that the mixing of MBTE gas and E10 gas may be responsible for producing a gel-like substance that clogs carburetors and fuel injection passages. [....]

In addition, there is concern that introducing E10 fuel into warm, high humidity climates could speed up the corrosion of metal tanks. Unlike gas tanks on automobiles which are closed, marine fuel tanks vent directly to outside air. Ethanol will draw moisture from the air through tank vents. The more water drawn in, particularly from salty air, the faster a tank will corrode. As of now, it is unclear how much faster this process will take place.

Keeping tanks full, common wisdom for avoiding moisture accumulation during winter storage, would minimize the “breathing” of the fuel tank, but E10’s shelf life has been estimated to be as low as 60-90 days. After that the gas may begin to degrade, which could gum up carburetors or fuel injectors. [...]

Other research conducted on small hand-held gas powered tools has shown that E20 will damage these engines in as little as 25 hours of light-duty use. E20 makes engines, particularly carbureted, air-cooled engines, run lean, because they provide more oxygen during combustion than gas alone. This increases exhaust temperatures as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit leading to burned head gaskets, burned exhaust valves, scored cylinders and loss of compression. Some engines tested lost 20% of their rated power in just 25 hours use. In addition the higher levels of ethanol attacked rubber gaskets and seals, in some cases causing them to fail in as little as one week.

Based on this preliminary research, Minnesota will have to overcome a number of hurdles in its quest to expand the use of ethanol. In the meantime, BoatU.S. is working with the National Marine Manufacturers Association to alert lawmakers to the potentially dangerous effects of adding ethanol to marine fuel systems.

Photo credit: BoatU.S. Reports

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