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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, since my muffler fell off today it got me thinking.

It got me thinking about about ethanol (or methanol--i don't know the difference?) possibly being THE solution for our energy future.

Let me explain: The muffler was located near the rear bumper. Now i have a pipe that ends around where the rear axle is. So now i'm concerned that i could have exhaust gases--even if very slight, possibly leaking into the car.

So that got me thinking about the big picture. Assuming under normal cicumstances the exhaust does make it all the way out of the tailpipe and away from the car and occupants, where does all this stuff really go?

i honestly don't know---does it somehow get regenerated into the atmoshpere some how? For example say you throw an apple core out the window (i know you don't, but let's just say you do). Well, eventually that core will biodegrade so in long run it's sort of ok. But what happens to carbon-monoxide?

So i feel ethanol may be the ultimate answer because there is, as far as i know, no pollution involved in burning it AS WELL AS actually producing it (hopefully?). With electricity, you have all that coal burning and that probably can't be good for the atmosphere either, unless i'm missing something?

Let's say that the average weekly commute is 300 miles per week. How much in square footage/or in acreage if nessesary would it take in corn or whatever plant works to produce enough to power a car for 300 miles?

a) Just the land that it would take to grow the corn. Forget about the machinery, the place to house and maintain the machinery and actual facillity to convert the corn into ethanol.

b) The land plus all the support equipment/machinery and buildings to harvest and convert the corn into ethanol.
 

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against all odds said:
Let's say that the average weekly commute is 300 miles per week. How much in square footage/or in acreage if nessesary would it take in corn or whatever plant works to produce enough to power a car for 300 miles?
According to Wikipedia, about 400 gallons of ethanol can be produced from an acre of corn. An acre is 43,560 square feet, so each gallon of ethanol requires about 108.9 square feet of growing space.

If a car gets 25 MPG (and assuming it could run on 100% ethanol), then it would take about 1,300 square feet of cornfield per week. Or about 1.55 acres per year.
 

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free fuel

I went to an alcohol fuel seminar in the 70's when it first got a lot attention, , a couple guys in San Francisco were getting waste dough scraps, bread etc from a large bakery for their raw material , and scrap wood from a Casket company to run their still. just required their time to brew their go juice. Several alcohol producers in californis are tied into dairy farms. the byproducts are used for cattle feed. and a lot you hear about Ethyl alcohol doesn't tell the real story. In the late 70's stuff I wrote was published in "Automotive Industries; the largest circulated automotive trade magazine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for responding so far; i don't know jack about ethanol so i need help to understand everything.

It seems one of the problems is that production would not be able to keep up with demand; 1,300 sq ft. is not exactly a small space in my opinion and this is just for 1 car for 1 week.

I still like the idea of alcohol/ethanol over all the other potential alternatives.

Of course, there is always biodiesel. One thing we consume more than oil is food and there is plenty of it which means plenty of waste grease.
 

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alcohol fuel

There are a lot of crops that could be grown in Latin American countries to produce alcohol. Alcohol is not compatible with rubber and plastic parts in older engines. a;cohol is a solvent and would disolve a lot of the crud in oil pipelines and gas stations. new systems are needed for 100 % alky. engines run best on alcohol with about 15 to one compression ratio, advantages , Something that can be made in the usa, not as much pollution, Compresssed natural gass for big trucks makes a lot of sence now that the US has a large supply.
 

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Seems like I read somewhere that it would take every acre of arable land we have to produce enough alcohol to fill our energy demands with none left for food source..Not sure about that but it does make sense to know it would take a lot of land to make enough alcohol to go around..If a fellow had some sort of material to make some for his own use such as a farmer using crop waste that can make some sense..

Just to get an idea we used 113.1 billion gallons of fuel in 2001 for automobiles ..that would take a lot of cropland to make that much fuel..


Sam
 

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Alternative

And no one mentioned the amount of water you waste making ethanol, I believe it's 2.5 gals of water for every gal. of ethanol. we would use up one hell of a lot of water for some thing that gives you less mileage than straight gas.

Ten % ethanol in a gal of gas gives you ten % less mileage. Ethanol is not a good choice.

Bob
 

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turbo it

A couple of years ago Saab developed a twin turbo engine , multi fuel, that got a boost in mileage using alcohol. Alcohol needs compression presure equal to a 15 to 1 ratio to be efficient. QUOTES from Nov 1979 chilton's AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIES, A piece I wrote . "The university of Nebraska did a 2 million mile test of gasohol... vehicles averaged a 3 % mileage increase,...government programs paid farmers $22 billion not to grow crops, .About 95 % of the corn grown in this country is used for livestock feed, Alcohol can be produced from that" feedstock "the mash byproduct can be used for animal feed,.A 20 % mash formula cattle fed increased weight gain by 12 % more than if the corn had been fed to the cow withourt extracting the alcohol. Farm brew alcohol with about 150 to 190 proof which is to be used as fuel have decreased energy requirements to 25 to 30 % of the energy usually required to produce comerical grade alcohol. If you are only going to burn it as fuel you don't have to worry about it "making you go blind or how it tastes"
'GM tried to mix alcohol with Diesel and had high fuel injector wear and pump wear. the farmer just put a big holly on top of the tractor air intake , don't mix the fuels , just one more handle to controll. The tractor I was running on the farm today had 10 controlls to manipulate , one more is easy.
 
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