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Methanol versus Ethanol

Since the 1964 Indianapolis 500 Eddie Sachs - Dave MacDonald crash in which both drivers were killed, methanol has provided a safer alternative to gasoline. The downside of this fuel was that it's flames were invisible during the day. Often a driver never knew he or she was on fire until the heat managed to seep

through the flame retardant suits.

The main reason they made the switch from gasoline to methanol was the flash point. Because alcohol has a much lower flashpoint, it was thought to be safer. Even though methanol produces 10 kj of energy less than gasoline, the fuel lasted for 40 years in the world's fastest closed course race cars.

In 2005 ethanol was introduced as a fuel and by 2007 it had become used exclusively. Even though the racing organization brags about using 100% ethanol, it's actually 90% ethanol with a 10% gasoline, which the US government requires for safety purposes.

Since alcohol contains only about half the energy of gasoline, more fuel is needed. Methanol contains about 50% the energy of gasoline. Another drawback to ethanol (66% energy of gasoline) over methanol is the corrosive aspect. It's not only harmful to the metallic engine part, but the polymers that are often used on the body in today's cars.


GGE Calculated for Gasoline in US Gallons at 114,000 BTU per Gallon

Fuel - Liquid, US Gallons

GGE

GGE %

BTU/Gal

kWh/Gal

Gasoline (base)

1.0000

100.00%

114,000

33.41

Gasoline (conventional, summer)

0.9960

100.40%

114,500

33.56

Gasoline (conventional, winter)

1.0130

98.72%

112,500

32.97

Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, ethanol)

1.0190

98.14%

111,836

32.78

Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, ETBE)

1.0190

98.14%

111,811

32.77

Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, MTBE)

1.0200

98.04%

111,745

32.75

Gasoline (10% MBTE]

1.0200

98.04%

112,000

32.83

Gasoline (regular unleaded)

1.0000

100.00%

114,100

33.44

Diesel #2

0.8800

113.64%

129,500

37.95

Biodiesel (B100)

0.9600

104.17%

118,300

34.80

Bio Diesel (B20)

0.9000

111.11%

127,250

37.12

Liquid natural gas (LNG)

1.5362

65.10%

75,000

21.75

Liquefied petroleum gas (propane) (LPG)

1.3500

74.04%

84,300

24.75

Methanol fuel (M100)

2.0100

49.75%

56,800

16.62

Ethanol fuel (E100)

1.5000

66.67%

76,100

22.27

Ethanol (E85)

1.3900

71.94%

81,800

24.04

Jet fuel (naphtha)

0.9700

103.09%

118,700

34.44

Jet fuel (kerosene)

0.9000

111.11%

128,100

37.12

GGE calculated on Non-Liquid Fuels


Why did Indy racers switch from decades use of methanol to ethanol? The solution is simple, marketing. Now the racing league is able to brag about the use of renewable energy fuel, even though methanol can be a renewable energy as well.

Methanol is often derived from natural gas, coal, or other fossil type fuels. Even though today methanol is being produced through biomass. There are landfill electric generating stations all over the country, all of which run on methane gas which can be converted to methanol.

The USA is one of the largest producers of natural gas and coal. Once these fuels are converted to methanol they have no more impact on the environment than ethanol, while being cheaper to produce. Since the push toward ethanol, food prices have risen in proportion. Some worry that American corn will become too expensive for food in impoverish nations.

When looking at fuels for our cars and want to know what is clean and what isn't, there is a simple formula. We have to look only at the chemical symbol of the fuel. The simpler the symbol, the easier it is to burn more of the mass. Below are ethanol and methanol. Gasoline has so many different elements that it is impossible to show a single chemical structure.


 Ethanol 
Methanol

People have often asked why a country like Brazil can build flex fuel cars, those that run on multiple sources, when the USA can't. I can name one reason. American cars running on simple structure fuels cannot meet CAFE standards. In wake of the 1973 Arab oil embargo the US government developed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). All the while the US government is subsidizing the ethanol industry, it's own regulations stand in the way of its practical use.

While record numbers of American citizens are out of work, the US government has placed undue burdens on the American oil industry, which is needed to produced methanol, Imports of Ethanol are increasing each day. Is this really done in the name of global warming? Which is more important, American jobs, global warming, or renewable energy sources?

Let's take a closer look at ethanol. Most of American Ethanol production comes from corn. On the average it takes 100 lbs of nitrogen fertilizer per acre. Most of the nitrogen fertilizer is made from steam injected natural gas. Many times natural gas is burned to produce steam from which the nitrogen is derived.

The more we dig into ethanol the more we see an industry that cannot stand on it's own because of its own shortcomings. The only profitable ethanol production in the USA is for human consumption. We have a president who cries foul when subsidies are given to oil companies, but is excited each time he announces a new subsidy to the ethanol industry, which contributes heavily to his campaign fund.

The airplane industry isn't safe from the environmental lobby. Through pressure and legislation older planes are being forced out of service because they need lead based gasoline. Jet engines are already compatible with bio-fuels, such as soybean oil. If we were to switch every plane and auto over to some bio-fuel, we would no longer have any forest because all the land would be needed for fuel and food.

All of this is being done on the premise the planet is warming due to carbon dioxide. The atmosphere has, and always will be, contain carbon. The ground is filled with carbon that was once in the air. Trees are continuously scrubbing the atmosphere of carbon.

The global warming alarmist scream that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are at record levels. The levels are high but nowhere near a record. We know now the ice samples and tree rings that scientist often use to prove their point are the exceptions and not the rule. Some scientist believe as the atmosphere warms, its ability to hold carbon dioxide increases.

Billions of tax dollars are being spent to develop fuels based on shaky science. American jobs are being sent to other countries in an effort to save the planet. Too often we hear individuals say that it can't hurt to keep the planet clean, why not error on the side of caution. This error is putting millions of Americans out of work. Obama ran for president promising green jobs. The only green jobs he created were in other countries.

Science isn't perfect or infallibility. There has never been a consensus in science, unless it's to say the Earth is round. A scientist reading this will laugh and say, “The Earth isn't round, it's oblong.” See how easy it is to say something so simple and still rouse an argument? The only thing of which we can be sure is the planet is warmer than it was decades ago. Even the global warming alarmist will tell you we are headed into a cooling trend. Ask your climate change fanatic why it also warmed on Mars, Pluto, and the other planets.




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