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View Full Version : So you wanna use E85, do ya?


Red_Chili
08-08-2008, 12:41 PM
My son sent me this from his shop:

Situation

1. Some motorists using E85 even though vehicle not equipped to handle ethanol

2. They may feel E85 is more environmentally friendly than gasoline

3. Experts worry this trend could lead to fires, especially at repair shops



Significant Points

1. Different extinguishers needed to fight ethanol fires

2. Ethanol can eat up o-rings, gaskets, which can then leak fuel

3. Repair shops urged to conduct close inspections

4. Even Coast Guard working on ways to contain ethanol spills

5. E85 mixes w/ water, so shops can't always be sure it's diluted



Says

"You're going to have a lot of car fires in shops because of this." -- Bob Lorenz, firefighting consultant, College of DuPage

"I sat across from a station here in Topeka that was selling E-85 and watched people; you would not believe the older cars that are filling up with it. I think we are going to start to see some of these older cars having fires." -- unnamed Kansas firefighter

"We did some testing and found that when we diluted E-85 by 500 percent with water it still burned. So now you will have shops that wash out tanks, wash out spills and wash them down the drain. Even heavily diluted E-85 is flammable and even explosive in the right environment. So when you spill one gallon of E-85 and wash it down with five gallons of water you've created six gallons of flammable liquid." -- Todd Hoffman, executive director, Scene of Accident

"An ABC fire extinguisher will put the fire out, but these dry chemical extinguishers do not stop vapors from being released -- so there is a greater chance of the fire re-igniting when the vapors reach an ignition source or hot metal. E-85 has a wider flammability range than gasoline and a lower ignition temperature; it will ignite faster and catch fire in a wider range of concentrations in the air." -- Hoffman



Toyotas are not rated for E85. Igniting and burning down on the road is not on my list of must-dos. http://www.4x4wire.com/forums/images/graemlins/scared.gif

Rzeppa
08-09-2008, 06:11 PM
Hadn't even thought of the fire hazards. E85 is inefficient and unsustainable ecologically, drives up the price of other food crops as land is diverted for corn, not to mention what it's doing to the rest of the food chain (cattle, pork and chicken feed is primarily corn). Uses tons of water and has a poor energy return on energy investment. In a word: "Boondoggle".

DaveInDenver
08-09-2008, 06:39 PM
Gosh, it never occurred to me about the flammability. Indy cars used to run on it (I assume they still do) and there are alcohol NHRA cars. I remember seeing drivers jumping around for no apparent reason. It was that he was on fire! Stuff is volatile. Wonder how fire fighters deal with it in traffic accidents and what-not. The thing about diluting it with water, that's a probably with gasoline, too. It can sit on top of the water and burn, right? I know you are most definitely not supposed to throw water on a kitchen grease fire for the same reason, the oil and grease don't dilute, just spreads the flame out over more surface area, turning a pan fire into a house fire! Reminds me of the time that some idiot dumped gasoline into the sewer in the neighborhood a summer or two ago, had Denver Fire knocking on doors for blocks and having them dump buckets of water into their basement floor drains to keep from getting gasoline in the trap as they flushed the sewers.

Rzeppa
08-09-2008, 07:04 PM
IIRC, race cars use methanol, not EtOH. But it's the same thought. Most xtOHs are lighter than water and thus float on water. Higher vapor pressure, lower flash point. And unlike "normal" hydrocarbons, they are very hygroscopic. Gasoline is primarily Heptane (7 carbons), with some octane (8 carbons) thrown in. EtOH is of course, 2 carbons with the OH thrown in at the end. Lower molecular weight, less efficiency per volume. That's why diesel is more efficient than gasoline - more carbons, higher molecular weight.

DaveInDenver
08-09-2008, 08:52 PM
IIRC, race cars use methanol
Yeah, my mistake, you're right about methanol and nitromethane.

Although Dave Slatten builds E85, E98 and methanol engines that are all NHRA-legal.

http://www.slattenracingengines.com/

Also had to check, the IRL uses 100% ethanol.

http://www.indycar.com/tech/specifications.php

TOTONKA
08-11-2008, 01:04 AM
Hadn't even thought of the fire hazards. E85 is inefficient and unsustainable ecologically, drives up the price of other food crops as land is diverted for corn, not to mention what it's doing to the rest of the food chain (cattle, pork and chicken feed is primarily corn). Uses tons of water and has a poor energy return on energy investment. In a word: "Boondoggle".

TRUE, but 700 billion of our nations wealth is being transfered to other countries that are laughing to the bank.

So, we needed to do something:thumb:

Red_Chili
08-11-2008, 08:33 AM
It ain't making a dent, and is driving up food costs to boot. Just diverting the wealth.

Nay
08-11-2008, 03:26 PM
TRUE, but 700 billion of our nations wealth is being transfered to other countries that are laughing to the bank.

So, we needed to do something:thumb:

When you owe the bank $5,000 you have a problem. When you owe the bank $5M they have a problem.

Driving up food prices by growing corn in an unsustainable monoculture reliant on fossil fuel pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer in an utterly petroleum dependent industrial agriculture model is hardly a solution to energy problems, but it will get you votes in the midwest.

The people who are laughing all the way to the bank live in this country.

nakman
08-11-2008, 05:20 PM
....
The people who are laughing all the way to the bank live in this country.

Ouch. :brick:




but I don't disagree.

Rzeppa
08-11-2008, 06:01 PM
When you owe the bank $5,000 you have a problem. When you owe the bank $5M they have a problem.

Driving up food prices by growing corn in an unsustainable monoculture reliant on fossil fuel pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer in an utterly petroleum dependent industrial agriculture model is hardly a solution to energy problems, but it will get you votes in the midwest.

The people who are laughing all the way to the bank live in this country.

That's an excellent point about who has the problem, I like the way you framed it. Basically they give us oil, and we give them an IOU in the form of T-Bills. We default, they're screwed. Of course if it comes to that, we're a pauper nation and are screwed too.

Rzeppa
08-11-2008, 06:07 PM
So, we needed to do something:thumb:

The "something" is coal gassification and then GTL (gas to liquid). The price of fossil petro is high enough right now to make it worth the ROI. I read somewhere that as long as fossil petro is above $60/bbl it makes most of these alternative liquids viable economically. The US military is already purchasing GTL for some significant fraction of their aviation fuel.

Hydrogen does not have anywhere near the energy density that heptane and cetane (diesel) do. Cellulosic EtOH is promising, but still doesn't have the energy density.

I read something today about sodium batteries (for plug-in electrics). Anyone heard of these before? I had thought that getting the price down on LiIons was the holy grail for plug-ins.

Red_Chili
08-12-2008, 09:59 AM
GTL, plus nuclear power generation and plug-in electric personal transportation. And recycled garbage/sewage -> methane, methinks.

FWIW, Buell Motorcycle Company is an aberration in American business. In 1983 Erik Buell didn't come up with a 5 year plan or a 20 year plan, he came up with a 200 year plan. He is not in the motorcycle business. He is in the personal transportation business.

This is especially ironic given the accusation they use an antiquated, old tech motor in most of their current motorcycles. :lmao::lmao:

corsair23
08-12-2008, 12:03 PM
TRUE, but 700 billion of our nations wealth is being transfered to other countries that are laughing to the bank.

So, we needed to do something:thumb:


T Boone Pickens talking point?

I keep hearing this (can't help it since it is ALL over the radio and TV). Yes we need to look for alternative fuels. I believe there is not any one golden BB here, it will be a multitude of differing sources (corn fuel NOT being one of them IMO).

HOWEVER, I found it very interesting and and a not very well known fact that one of those "foreign countries" T Boone Pickens talks about is non other than Canada. You'd get the impression from his ad that ALL of our wealth is going overseas, to the middle east...The fact is that we import more oil from Canada than from any other country!

Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports Top 15 Countries (http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html)

Red_Chili
08-12-2008, 12:26 PM
You would think BigBlueFJ could afford a few upgrades then! :lmao:

Hulk
08-12-2008, 06:55 PM
Just another reason to invade Canada. :canada:

Hayes
08-12-2008, 07:22 PM
TRUE, but 700 billion of our nations wealth is being transfered to other countries that are laughing to the bank.

So, we needed to do something:thumb:

Temporary solution for a permanent problem. Why is it that we've created an 'alternative' fuel that still uses oil? I'll bite when we have a truly alternative fuel, like hydrogen. That also brings me to another point. Oil crises my hind quarters. It is just a way to raise the prices, if there was really a fuel crisis we would be working on COMPLETELU OIL FREE fuels...

The biggest problem with changing fuel sources is getting the infrastructure to sustain that fuel, and getting everyone to buy new cars that use the fuel source. Everyone who drives is supposed to ditch their car, with no reimbursement, and buy a new one? Or if the government tried a reimbursement program, that means higher taxes and more national debt...

It's a losing battle right now.

I will get off my soap box now.

bigbluefj
08-12-2008, 09:42 PM
That's the problem we make it here and send it there and we pay more here??????

kevin

corsair23
08-13-2008, 01:29 AM
That's the problem we make it here and send it there and we pay more here??????

kevin

Not to worry...A lot of what we suck up out of the ground down here we have to send up to you to refine so you can send it back to us :rolleyes:

It is, and will continue to be, a global issue. Obviously there is not yet a shortage because the last I checked I can get gas no problem. I agree with Hayes in that this is NOT going to be a problem quickly resolved. How long will it take for all of the oil burning vehicles in the US to be replaced with alternative fuel vehicles, once they are even available? 10 years, 20 years, 30 years? How many people are going to run right out and buy the first CNG powered or hydrogen powered or whatever powered vehicle they can buy off a dealer lot to replace their 2, 5, 10 year old vehicle?

I visited the T Boone Pickens website today just to get a better idea of his plan. The plan? Put in a huge amount of wind mills in the Central US to replace the roughly 22% of the US's electricity that is produced today via CNG. Then, use that CNG to power vehicles vs oil and reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. He states this could happen fairly quickly and much quicker than say installing some nuclear power plants to do similar.

Well, I don't buy it. First, you have to build the wind farms. That won't be very quick. Then you have to get enough people to start buying CNG burning vehicles to use up the 22% of CNG that was previously used to make electricity. Of course you need a car manufacturer to make all of the CNG buring cars or come up with conversion kits for existing vehicles. Then, you need to add to the infrastructure to get CNG available to people to fill up or offer some sort of home fill up kit. It would sort of ruin the economics of it if people have to drive 10 or 20 miles to "fill up" somewhere that they can get CNG.

Don't get me wrong. I think T Boone Pickens has some good ideas but I also don't think he is being 100% up front with how long this is going to take to make a REAL impact. We need a multi-pronged attack which IMO includes drilling locally for oil (off shore, ANWR, oil shale, etc.) starting now to get us down the road another 10-20 years until new technology can start replacing all of the gas burning vehicles. One way or the other we'll need that oil eventually as it isn't just gasoline that we need oil for.

Hulk
08-13-2008, 02:50 AM
Well, I don't buy it. First, you have to build the wind farms. That won't be very quick. Then you have to get enough people to start buying CNG burning vehicles to use up the 22% of CNG that was previously used to make electricity. Of course you need a car manufacturer to make all of the CNG buring cars or come up with conversion kits for existing vehicles. Then, you need to add to the infrastructure to get CNG available to people to fill up or offer some sort of home fill up kit. It would sort of ruin the economics of it if people have to drive 10 or 20 miles to "fill up" somewhere that they can get CNG.

I do buy it. Maybe I'm just an optimist. If we make it a priority, and put some money and political will behind it, we can make it happen. More than any other country, Americans have the ability to make it happen when we decide that it needs to happen.

In 1962, JFK said this:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. That was in less than 7 years, and they had to invent everything from scratch.

Unlike NASA in the 1960s, we've already invented wind farms, turbines, and CNG burning vehicles. If it takes 20 years to build a bunch of fuel stations for CNG, then that's because there's no profit in it. Think how quickly Compuserve, AOL and Prodigy built nationwide networks of dial-up centers back in the mid-90s. If there is money to be made, American ingenuity will kick into high gear. Nobody is as creative as we are at solving problems to make money. Nobody.

If T Boone Pickens is involved in it, there is money to be made. He's no fool. I don't buy him as an altruist -- he's a capitalist.

In summary, God bless America, and may we tell all the idiots in the world to keep their damn oil.

Man, I should run for office. Or be a preacher. Hallelujah, and pass the pale ale.

nakman
08-13-2008, 09:34 AM
....Hallelujah, and pass the pale ale.

You got my vote, Matt. or prayer... you pick. :beer2:

Red_Chili
08-13-2008, 10:34 AM
I do buy it. Maybe I'm just an optimist. If we make it a priority, and put some money and political will behind it, we can make it happen. More than any other country, Americans have the ability to make it happen when we decide that it needs to happen.

In 1962, JFK said this:We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. That was in less than 7 years, and they had to invent everything from scratch.

Unlike NASA in the 1960s, we've already invented wind farms, turbines, and CNG burning vehicles. If it takes 20 years to build a bunch of fuel stations for CNG, then that's because there's no profit in it. Think how quickly Compuserve, AOL and Prodigy built nationwide networks of dial-up centers back in the mid-90s. If there is money to be made, American ingenuity will kick into high gear. Nobody is as creative as we are at solving problems to make money. Nobody.

If T Boone Pickens is involved in it, there is money to be made. He's no fool. I don't buy him as an altruist -- he's a capitalist.

In summary, God bless America, and may we tell all the idiots in the world to keep their damn oil.

Man, I should run for office. Or be a preacher. Hallelujah, and pass the pale ale.
You and I could not be in closer alignment on this one. Amen. Except I will take a dark ale por favor.

Will it be done in 20 years? Dunno, but I think it is entirely doable and will be the next boom cycle. If we don't set a deadline it certainly WON'T be.

Been a long time since I've seen a JFK. (who was adamant that trickle down economics would work BTW... Reagan didn't invent it... and it did. Democrat idea. :lmao:)

Hulk
08-13-2008, 12:00 PM
Been a long time since I've seen a JFK.

My uncle from Texas, a lifelong Republican, was in town last month. He said he thought Obama was actually more inspiring than JFK. He said he was still voting for McCain, of course. I was born in 1965, so I didn't experience JFK myself. I'm looking forward to the debates -- that's when he's going to win or lose, I think.

Red_Chili
08-13-2008, 12:22 PM
JFK inspired, but he was solid on economics, unafraid to take a position of strength in foreign policy, and pretty fair on building a competent staff (he still got a monumental education real suddenly with the Bay of Pigs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion) and Cuban Missile Crisis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis)).

Still lookin' for a JFK. Don't see one. Between energy and foreign policy we truly need one.

Rzeppa
08-14-2008, 10:50 AM
GTL, plus nuclear power generation and plug-in electric personal transportation. And recycled garbage/sewage -> methane, methinks.

Yep, I forgot about waste methane. I read that there is a landfill somewhere around Denver where they are literally drilling for NG. They wrote that there is 20 years worth (I don't recall the CF/yr, but it was significant enough to be viable economically).

I also read somewhere that they have genetically engineered some kind of algae to produce biodiesel.

Rzeppa
08-14-2008, 10:56 AM
Temporary solution for a permanent problem. Why is it that we've created an 'alternative' fuel that still uses oil? I'll bite when we have a truly alternative fuel, like hydrogen.

The reason we've created "alternative" fuels that use oil is chemistry - the energy density of oil is higher than anything else that is economical. That's why GTL is more promising than hydrogen or CNG.

Maybe one of these days we'll have a "Mr. Fusion" in all our vehicles as featured in the movie Back to the Future :-)

Red_Chili
08-14-2008, 02:32 PM
Yep, I forgot about waste methane. I read that there is a landfill somewhere around Denver where they are literally drilling for NG. They wrote that there is 20 years worth (I don't recall the CF/yr, but it was significant enough to be viable economically).

I also read somewhere that they have genetically engineered some kind of algae to produce biodiesel.
We're on the cusp of a whole lot of really cool things. I would wager on energy diversity. Redundant energy sources. Sustainable. Clean too. But who would pay for the skyscrapers in Dubai?
:lmao:

subzali
08-14-2008, 02:40 PM
I also read somewhere that they have genetically engineered some kind of algae to produce biodiesel.

More or less, one of my projects was working on this. Certain types of algaes will grow some lipids for an energy source if they lose daylight for some reason. Those lipids (fats/oils) can be extracted for biodiesel. Algae's growing cycle is like 15-20 days too, so it's a pretty abundant harvest.

Very interesting problems associated with it too.

Red_Chili
08-14-2008, 02:44 PM
Very interesting problems associated with it too.
Like, your truck farts?

Rzeppa
08-14-2008, 05:19 PM
Like, your truck farts?

LOL! Good one!

When I was on the diesel LCML, there was lots of threads about all kinds of alternatives, such as WVO. Apparently, when you fuel up at McDonald's your exhaust smells like french fries. Gives everyone behind you the munchies :-)

Red_Chili
08-15-2008, 09:16 AM
Especially in Boulder during fall and spring semester.

If you take my meaning...

DaveInDenver
08-15-2008, 09:25 AM
Especially in Boulder during fall and spring semester.

If you take my meaning...
That happens regardless of the use of McVeggieoil, though.

frontrange
08-15-2008, 09:38 AM
I did some research, coming at wind from an optimistic viewpoint. Now I think it's another dead end. The basic problem is you have to back wind turbines with conventionally powered turbines because of the variability of the winds. Since you can't ramp conventional turbines up and down on a dime, they have to run all the time. Total contribution of wind to the grid (where it matters) ends up being very low. Unless you could store wind energy on a massive scale I can't see how it ends up contributing anywhere near 20% of the grid load.

CNG for cars is doable, but very problematic outside of fleet vehicals with dedicated refueling facilities. You have to compress the natural gas to something like 3000 psi to get enough of it in a small space to have usable range. Transferring gasses at these pressures quickly is not trivial. The best way is to have a system that refuels the CNG overnight in the garage, but those cost many thousand $$. And it's not like CNG is plentiful and/or cheap. The costs on that have skyrocked in the last few years.

Biodiesel OTOH looks very interesting. Jatropha and algae crops are only now being developed to maximize yields and already have very good returns. I suspect they will compete well against hydrocarbons for diesel and jet fuel in the future without government "help".


I do buy it. Maybe I'm just an optimist. If we make it a priority, and put some money and political will behind it, we can make it happen. More than any other country, Americans have the ability to make it happen when we decide that it needs to happen.

In 1962, JFK said this:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. That was in less than 7 years, and they had to invent everything from scratch.

Unlike NASA in the 1960s, we've already invented wind farms, turbines, and CNG burning vehicles. If it takes 20 years to build a bunch of fuel stations for CNG, then that's because there's no profit in it. Think how quickly Compuserve, AOL and Prodigy built nationwide networks of dial-up centers back in the mid-90s. If there is money to be made, American ingenuity will kick into high gear. Nobody is as creative as we are at solving problems to make money. Nobody.

If T Boone Pickens is involved in it, there is money to be made. He's no fool. I don't buy him as an altruist -- he's a capitalist.

In summary, God bless America, and may we tell all the idiots in the world to keep their damn oil.

Man, I should run for office. Or be a preacher. Hallelujah, and pass the pale ale.