Ethanol is a hoax?

@estherlou (5017)
United States
July 2, 2007 12:40pm CST
I read a news commentary by Paul R. Hollrah about the use of ethanol as a gas substitute. It was an interesting read. He says it's a big hoax! Here are some of the things he said: * The water that appears naturally in ethanol, and which cannot be removed through distillation, can do major damage to an automobile engine unless it is specifically designed to burn ethanol. * Because of the water content of ethanol and the resulting danger of corrosion, ethanol cannot be transported by pipeline. It would take a convoy of 500 tank trucks, each hauling 6,000 gallons of ethanol, to transport the same amount of ethanol each day that could be transported by a single 12 in. diameter pipeline. * Congress has enacted major taxpayer-funded subsidies (hidden taxes) for domestically produced ethanol made from corn, and has placed substantial tariffs on imported sugar beet ethanol, just to make corn-based ethanol economically competitive. * Ethanol is as much as 30% less efficient than gasoline, making it more expensive per highway mile. * It takes three-fourths of a gallon of petroleum to produce a single gallon of ethanol. * And finally, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) the country’s largest producer of ethanol, has frightened farm state congressmen into believing that, if they fail to support subsidized ethanol production, they will lose their seats in Congress. To read the whole commentary, go here. http://www.theconservativevoice.com/articles/article.html?id=26357 This makes me want to do some more research.
5 people like this
11 responses
@oldiebut (859)
• Canada
2 Jul 07
Yep, old news. The ethanol route is the least painless for Americans so naturally Bush chose to pursue that method (and coal for god's sake). The only real thing that will happen is that it make grains very expensive for the next few years.
4 people like this
• Australia
3 Jul 07
Yep, it is very politically controversial topic: ethanol. Americans have a HUGE stash of petroleum but they are saving it up for future uses so they can basically control the world oil prices in the future, seeing they are taking Iraq's oil as well now, they are basically the god of oil :) And yes ethanol is VERY EXTREMELY inefficient since a glucose solution (what ethanol is made out of by fermentation with yeast) can only produce a concentration of ethanol of 15% and then the yeast will die, it is then concentrated and sold while the rest of the content, (VERY smelly) is disposed. Furthermore, it burns with less energy than octane so it is not very good as a fuel. Also, grains WILL be more expensive, but not because they are using it to make ethanol, but because they are growing plants like sugarcane and corn INSTEAD of rice/grains so it becomes more expensive due to deline in supply of it =D
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (128715)
• United States
3 Jul 07
Octane is not something you burn, but is a measurement of the heat available in a given fuel. Some of what you are saying may be true, but it is not true that the United States is stock piling fuel to rule the world. Tell us about what you know about, and what happens in your own country.
1 person likes this
• Australia
4 Jul 07
No, Octane is a fuel as well! I study chemistry so i would know. It is a fuel, it is often CONFUSED with "octane number" which is how much the gas can be compressed in the cylinder of the car engine to give more energy when combusted. It is two completely different things. And yes it is true that the US is piling up their petroleum stock, but i did not say they are ruling the world for it, i am just saying they will have great power in the furture for this reason, and very rich. =D Sorry for the confusion
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (128715)
• United States
2 Jul 07
I cannot respond to all of this, as I have not researched it, but I can tell you from our own experience what we have found. We use an ethanol blend gasoline, and have for about two years. It costs us the same or less than regular unleaded fuel. My husband keeps very accurate records of our fuel mileage as he has been trying to find good additives that we would use to help us and sell to help others. (I can tell you about that) We are driving a 1991 Mercury Capri. We had ranged from 25 mpg. to 29 mpg. when we were not trying to get good fuel mileage. Right now we are getting 45 miles per gallon of gasoline that is part ethanol. The car runs great, no problems with it. No extra corrosion. We plan to keep on using it as long as it is available. We also plan to keep on using the newest fuel additive.
• Australia
3 Jul 07
That is extremely EXTREMELY abnormal, it should not be getting MORE mileage but should be significantly LESS and the prices certainly would not be cheaper. Ethanol is still more expensive to make than petroleum... I don't know how to respond to your data you have provided since it is not likely to happen, it probably shouldn't happen!
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (128715)
• United States
3 Jul 07
I will point out that I said that we have used, and are using special additives that improve our mileage. We have at different times been talked into trying some. Some of them are a farce and a rip off, some of them are schemes, and the principles in those schemes are now in prison, and some of them work. What we are doing works for us, in this car. In our full sized one ton van, it does not help much. Other things that people can do is to drive responsibly, at a more moderate speed, no jack rabbit starts and peeling out. Use cruise control if you have it. I feel like, from your tone that you are calling me a liar, and I do not like it. It is not my habit to lie. Based on this discussion, it may pay us to try the non-ethanol fuel as a long term trial. I also did not state, so I will now, that the ethanol blend we get, that is usually as cheap or cheaper by a penny or two is a higher octane fuel, and that should have some bearing.
1 person likes this
• Australia
4 Jul 07
Sorry if i made you sound like a "liar" but i didnt mean it. Ok, maybe there is something special about your van and if the new blend of fuel works for you, then fine, use it..... I agree that driving responsible does save more fuel, but just one more thing, i think you mean "octane number" and not octane. =D
1 person likes this
@Eskimo (2317)
2 Jul 07
In the U.K. they are possibly going to introduce Biothethanol mixed with ordinary unleaded petrol (gas), probably starting at 5%, and increasing gradually to 20% which most U.K. cars are reputed to be able to use. 5% ethanol is already available in some petrol stations see http://www.britishbioethanol.co.uk/IsolatedStorage/94175874-67b5-4c33-9f38-380233f14049/ContentAssets/Documents/Bioethanol/Media/PR05033UKSFIRSTSUPERFUELHITSTHEPUMPS_1.pdf, it is also reputed to be more efficient, and give more power than ordinary unleaded petrol.
3 people like this
@Eskimo (2317)
2 Jul 07
Note this link is to a pdf file, so may have to use Adobe reader to read it.
• Australia
3 Jul 07
Hi, the news about ethanol being a "hoax" is already old news, but some of the facts that you stated are deceiving and incorrect in some ways. First of all, Ethanol is MORE THAN 30% less efficient than gasoline and petroleum (octane). I study chemistry in high school so i would know =D Ethanol is an EXTREMELY controversial topic both economically and politically. Since the glucose is extracted from plants such as corn and sugar cane, those farmers pay a huge sum towards government's election funds and therefore these governments tend to be biased towards these farmers and give them good prices, more than what they are worth. However, using pure ethanol in the future as fuels for cars in inevitable because petroleum is going to run out in the next few decades!! The person you said "paul R. Hollrah" said that ethanol can't be transported through pipeline or something, BUT OUR DAILY NEEDS FOR WATER IS TRANSPORTED BY PIPELINES!! so him saying the water causes rust in pipes and so on is invalid, the water content CAN BE reduced through fractional distillation. It is very true that ethanol does pose damages to cars engine and that is why special engines made to run on ethanol is being made! Here are some facts: Ethanol's heat of combustion (per mole) - 1644.4 kJ/mole Octane's heat of combustion (per mole) - -5508.9KJ/mole see the difference? its more than 30%. However, until some other close substitute is invented/found like running cars on sea water or something like that =D, ethanol would be the way to go in the future.
2 people like this
@estherlou (5017)
• United States
3 Jul 07
Thanks for all of the great info.
• Australia
4 Jul 07
Anytime =D If you found my post useful or informative, dont forget to rate it positive :) smiles Anyhow, if you ever have any questions about chemistry or Ethanol, dont hesitate to message me, i can answer it for you, and revise my chemistry knowledge at the same time :D
• United States
4 Jul 07
How interesting, one thing that was not brought up in your article was the fule emissions, and the waste that is involeved making ethanol. Is there much wast involved in the making of ethanol or is it turned into compost. One good thing about ethanol is you can build factories all over the place, you do not have to pump it everywhere like you do crude oil. Ethonal is a renewal product where crude oil is not.
@kgwat70 (13392)
• United States
3 Jul 07
It would not surprise me if what we have heard about Ethanol being a hoax. It seems like gas burns much faster now since they started using ethanol. It seems like I am pumping gas more often than before they started using it. I think the use of ethanol is another way of them trying to rip us off. Even though I bought a new car, I have been taking the bus to work more lately. It is hard to believe anything we hear about gas or anything else lately.
1 person likes this
• Australia
3 Jul 07
That is very true what you said, they do run out much much faster than ordinary gasoline since they have a less heat of combustion (energy) when burned. They are now adding around 15% to our petroleum in Australia as well.... i don't like the sound of that!
@tombiz (2039)
• Philippines
3 Jul 07
These factors were already considered when the law promoting ethanol was enacted. Certainly, there are some experts who are saying that ethanol is not the solution to fuel problem we are facing. On another note, I think there is a question of ethanol being a competitor for one of our source of food and derivatives: corn. Well, as they say, there are always two sides into a story and in every innovation there will be people who will caution and question the same thing. All because there is never a perfect technology.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jul 07
Taxpayer-funded subsidies and tariffs are a valid concern, I believe. Also the rise in food prices; corn, other crops, livestock and poultry. Hardest hit are the poor, as staples are converted to ethanol production for the privileged.
1 person likes this
@Willowlady (10665)
• United States
2 Jul 07
I don't think it is a hoax, just because I know the oil companies are afraid of losing their profits. This is doable and they just need to think outside the box to address any difficulties that might/probably are about. Also to point fingers at Archer would put pressure on them perhaps. We must do something since the oil will not last forever. We can do alot if we work together and get greed hogtied. Don't take these folks that have a history of lying in the first place as gospel. Sorry for that! You need a discerning eye when you see these reports and learn all you can about the topic to form you own opionion. I will make my own fuel someday, it has been done on farms before and I can do it too. I hope I can teach others and we will break free form these oil companies finally. Good luck reading these articles in the future.
1 person likes this
@KatieS (504)
• United States
2 Jul 07
Wow, and I thought that ethanol was going to be a blessing. Guess not:(
1 person likes this
@kelly60 (4548)
• United States
4 Jul 07
This is some interesting information, and definitely leaves me wondering too. I think that maybe we all should do some more research.