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Ethanol - Disadvantages Of Ethanol As An Alternative Fuel

production gallon times gasoline

However, there are several problems with the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel. First, it is costly to produce and use. At 1987 prices, it cost 2.5-3.75 times as much as gasoline. The United States Department of the Environment (DOE) is funding a research program aimed at decreasing the cost to $0.60/gallon by the year 2000; in the last decade or so, the cost has dropped from $3.60/gallon to $1.27/gallon. There are also costs associated with modifying vehicles to use methanol or gasohol, but these costs vary, depending on the number of vehicles produced.

Another problem is that ethanol has a smaller energy density than gasoline. It takes about 1.5 times more ethanol than gasoline to travel the same distance. However, with new technologies and dedicated ethanol-engines, this is expected to drop to 1.25 times.

An important consideration with ethanol is that it requires vast amounts of land to grow the crops needed to generate fuel. The process for conversion of crops to ethanol is relatively inefficient because of the large water content of the plant material. There is legitimate concern, especially in developing countries, that using land for ethanol production will compete directly with food production.

Another problem is that ethanol burning may increase emission of certain types of pollutants. Like any combustion process, some of the ethanol fuel would come out the tailpipe unburned. This is not a major problem since ethanol emissions are relatively non-toxic. However, some of the ethanol will be only partially oxidized and emitted as acetylaldehyde, which reacts in air to eventually contribute to the formation of ozone. Current research is investigating means to reduce acetylaldehyde emissions by decreasing the engine warm-up period.

Finally, ethanol production, like all processes, generates waste products that must be disposed. The waste product from ethanol production, called swill, can be used as a soil conditioner on land, but is extremely toxic to aquatic life.


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over 4 years ago

an alternative to ethanol since its pricey is electric vehicles

its cheap and is more environmental friendly



- im only 15 also

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about 6 years ago

I agree with what you guys have said, however you forgot the amount of gasoline that is used just to produce the ethanol is more than the ethanol produced. Vehicals used to harvest the grain need gas, then gas is needed to transport it to the refineries, the refineries need gas to operate machinery to produce the ethanol, and finally they need more gasoline to move it to the gas companies. And the chain continues to grow, after the gasoline companies get it, they have to use more fuel to move it to the salesmen across the U.S., which gets at last to the consumer. And the milage of the gasoline with ethanol added is several if not 10s of mpg less than just plain gasoline. Is it worth our time to dig a pit like this to throw millions if not billions of dollars into? I think not.

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almost 5 years ago

I think it would be better because theres not alot we can do is there?

i mean global warming i dont think can be completely prevented and we cant exactly stop it. but we can slow it down. hydrogen is highly explosive so i mean we dont want that do we. so i think ethanol is the only way forward.

thankyou.

by the way if this is wrong then im only 15.

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over 6 years ago

Presently driving an older motorhome had many problems occur when using ethanol. In the midwest there was an option to use 100% gasoline at a higher cost. returning to the northwest we found that that option is no longer available. More problems with older vehicles and reduced gas mileage in newer ones. I have to agree with Pat Coleman on a class action lawsuit on forcing ethanol on the public. I am retired and can not afford extensive repair or new vechiles.



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almost 6 years ago

Which numbers should we believe on this issue?

At current prices, Brazil can make ethanol for about $1 a gallon, according to the World Bank. That compares with the international price of gasoline of about $1.50 a gallon. Even though ethanol gets less mileage than gasoline, in Brazil it's still cheaper per mile driven. As a result, ethanol now accounts for as much as 20% of Brazil's transport fuel market.

The country's use of gasoline has actually declined since the late 1970s. The use of alternative fuels in the rest of the world is a scant 1%.


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5 months ago

The only parts of Alcohols (carbohydrate = carbon+hydrogen+oxygen) or Petroleum fuels (hydrocarbon = hydrogen + carbon) that are "burned" (oxidized) are the "kindled" mono-atomic carbon and hydrogen ions which produce CO2 and H2O when combusted in air. With 79% percent of the air early inert N2 (nitrogen) the expanding volumes heated N2, C02, H20 as steam, and any residual O2 exhaust... are what drive the pistons-crank or the turbine.

Therefore they are rightly called a "gas" engines, or "heat" engines.

Petroleum produces thorough and varied mixes of energy dense hydrocarbons and also hydrogen as well (the C = zero, preceding the methane C=1 etc of the methane series.)

Is there any other source of molecular hydrogen? Water is totally oxidized hydrogen-- it's burned already. So forget about mining the oceans for hydrogen.

Alcohol has a terrific affinity for water. When the alcohol in your gasohol tank evaporates, it leaves the water behind... which won't dissolve into gasoline but lies below lurking to spoil someone's dream-pipe.



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7 months ago

Ethanol to victory yea!!! Flipun hell I don't know what I am talking about.

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7 months ago

Ethanol to victory yea!!! Flipun hell I don't know what I am talking about.

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almost 6 years ago

Yes, ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. but is it more effective? it seems to me that we should go back to using horses. yes, that would be the most effective way of doing things.

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over 6 years ago

I was reading an article once that said that because of the rising corn prices the poor can't buy corn anymore to make their bread. I thought maybe that would be helpful in your site.

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over 3 years ago

I think we should also look at the positives of ethanol!

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about 2 years ago

This article is does a great at mis leading the facts of ethanol. Firstly, 90% of corn production is used to feed animals. The other 10% goes to food production. Second, land use for the production of ethanol will NOT compete directly with food production. This is totally a myth. when ethanol is made, it removes the starches and suger from the kernel, and what your left with is fat and proteins that are, and can be used as animal and human consumption. Animals that are fed straight corn cannot digest the starches and suger and it ends up as waist which leads to and increase in methane gases. Ethanol is 90% cleaner burning than gas. Yes, it takes more ethanol to go farther in your car, but it can be made and sold at 1/3 the price of gas. And if you make it yourself, you can get tax creadits for using it. The only change to your car is a small computer that hooks up to your injectors that adjusts in the fuel to air ratio. The oil companies are very scared of ethanol and they should be.

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over 2 years ago

hello that is very helpful and i know now the advantages and disadvantage of making ethanol:) loveyou all peace out

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almost 3 years ago

why?

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almost 3 years ago

Good info, however, not much off it. Besides that, I found it very useful. :)

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almost 3 years ago

Derek, Do not forget that once the plants are made a running they can also run on the ethanol they produce.

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over 3 years ago

ethanol has many advantages.In fuure we can use the ethanol fuel 100% in automobile.we need cetain canges in the engine.When we change the dezine of engine we can use this project.Also ethanol is less may creat pollution.So this is the better product to use in future.

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almost 4 years ago

I agree although prices would go up, wouldn't it help our planet in the long run and even in the longer run wouldn't it help man kind even better?

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about 4 years ago

It may be an alternative, however, electicity is created by the combustion of fossile fuels (i.e. Gasoline.) If we were to stop using it and go completely electric, we would face the dangers of sky-rocketing energy costs, because the production of fossil fuels will go up, due to the low demand for it.

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about 6 years ago

There are some rather large disadvantages to ethanol as an alternative or blend in with gasoline:
Cost of production - without subsidies and special tax incentives and rebates, even in the summer of 2008 the "savings"
are dubious at best. A full cost analysis, as featured in many auto and mechanical related periodicals shows that the mass media and the enviros have ignored or tried to hide the facts. Often not included in mass media reporting are factors of soil depletion, added fertilizer, herbicide and fungicide applications, costs of drying grains, storage and transportation costs, finding and paying for huge impacts on local wells and water supplies, damage to existing pipelines, pumps, storage tanks, as well as the greatly increased problems and dangers associated with fighting fires involving ethanol. Also overlooked in the bias by the media to promote ethanol use is the damage to our liberties and freedom from mandatory requirements placed upon fuel sellers, consumers, and automobile manufacturers by state and federal governments and agencies.
As with the global warming hoax, there is an industry being created which is the creature of the advocates within government who see the force of law as the method of achieving change. These
forces seek control of everyone's access to energy, and with and at great
expense and waste, hope to mask their
greed and desire to control whole industries with environmental advocacy with a religious intensity.
The possible fly in the ointment fortunately, is that the economic hard times looming in the years ahead will
prove that environmental lunacy is too costly for ordinary people to put up with, and green causes in general will hopefully be cast into the dust bin of history.
Already hundreds of ethanol plant construction projects have been shelved, and if they are ever completed, will have to be done the old fashioned way: private capital risked voluntarily and without public funds or special advantages. Sound science and technology usually makes for the soundest public policy. If not, then the markets eventually will win out every time, but at much greater cost than when left most free.

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over 6 years ago

Considering the extent of damage that will occur to all engines using ethenol (automobiles, lawn mowers, boats) and physical harm to many people when engines fail, petitions and a class action lawsuit are in order and should not be delayed.

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over 2 years ago

hello that is very helpful and i know now the advantages and disadvantage of making ethanol:) loveyou all peace out

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24 days ago

load of bullshit

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3 months ago

is this possible