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Topic: next generation fuels

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  1. #1

    next generation fuels

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    While getting my a** kicked in at the pump, I began to think more about alternative fuels. I have been researching hybrids and biofuels.
    The future actually looks bright but we must act swiftly.
    look at
    www.hybridcars.com
    now look at E-85 and biodiesels. here is where things look interesting

    check out some of these links:
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5829046
    Brazil has clearly paved the way. We can do the same with corn.
    now look at this :
    http://www.gm.com/company/onlygm/
    Although there aren't many E-85 pumps around yet I am pleased to see one of the big automakers pushing this. make sure to check the links on this page.your car may be able to run on E-85!!
    see
    http://www.e85fuel.com/index.php

    now about bio diesel. It has the opposite problem as E-85.
    the fuel is around but try finding a good variety of diesel cars. not much to choose from. maybe imports from Europe and Japan can be a solution.
    see
    http://www.biodiesel.org
    finally check out
    http://www.hybridcarrevolution.com/p...d_vehicles.htm
    here people are talking about biodiesel and flex fuel hybrids!!
    looks like some exciting stuff.
    recently I rented out a ford escape and a prious . I have to admit I like them both.
    I ll be going to the auto show here in Atlanta today and post some more findings. next week.

  2. #2

    Re: next generation fuels

    Good Reading!!!

    Maybe Ern can drive over the speed limit again someday.

    But whetever happened to Hydrogen Fuel Cells? Is that technology still being worked on or are these ethanol and biodeisel techs replacing it?

    It's just that I really like the idea of having oxygen as an exhaust. Just to imagine sticking my mouth around a tailpipe and sucking in as hard as I can and going "Man that's good stuff"....it's just appealing.
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare

    homepage

  3. #3

    Re: next generation fuels

    Quote Originally Posted by His Frogness
    It's just that I really like the idea of having oxygen as an exhaust. Just to imagine sticking my mouth around a tailpipe and sucking in as hard as I can and going "Man that's good stuff"....it's just appealing.
    As opposed to the current arrangement, where breathing in gets you a guided tour of the solar system, and then some........

  4. #4

    Re: next generation fuels

    Quote Originally Posted by His Frogness
    But whetever happened to Hydrogen Fuel Cells? Is that technology still being worked on or are these ethanol and biodeisel techs replacing it?

    It's just that I really like the idea of having oxygen as an exhaust. Just to imagine sticking my mouth around a tailpipe and sucking in as hard as I can and going "Man that's good stuff"....it's just appealing.
    At last year's NAB there was a company with hydrogen fuel cells for use as camera/lighting batteries. Here's the workflow:

    * Buy a tank of industrial liquid hydrogen
    * Connect it to your charger
    * Plug some modules into the charger
    * Once full, put the modules in your camera case
    * Once on location, plug a module into the fuel cell connected to the camera
    * Tape stuff
    * Once empty, replace the module with a new one. There's still enough hydrogen in the cell that you can hot-swap without losing power

    The exhaust is water (not oxygen - it burns H2 and O2 to create H2O and electricity), but the thing doesn't drip. The water is created slowly enough that it just evaporates.

    They were at NAB again this year, so they must be making some money off of the technology. I can't think of the company's name, but a Google search would certainly find them. Yep... http://www.jadoopower.com

    -JF

  5. #5

    Re: next generation fuels

    Actually, there was a nice article about all this in this months Popular Science. I recommend it to everyone.

    It showed effeciency/cost per renewable energy source for the same trip across the US. The most cost effective were the standard gasoline engine and the diesel engine running biodiesel. The alternative fuels were way too costly. The most difficult problem with ethanol is the transportation method (I work for a major oil company and they are feeling the effects of this now as the country shifts from using MTBE into using ethanol as a replacement.) The product cannot be carried in the pipelines since it would clean the lines as it was transported, resulting in contamination. At this point all ethanol is blended at gasoline storage facilities using ethanol brought in via truck, rail car, or barge. All of these methods are subject to disruptions moreso than via pipeline.

    You cannot blend ethanol and gasoline and then store it in bulk supply tanks since it causes the blended product to evaporate too quickly. It also cannot be stored in traditional underground tanks without cleaning them, since the ethanol attracts water. There's also the fact that there isn't sufficient supply of material to be converted into base ethnanol for blending in the US, so we'll be back to importing it from other places (although its still renewable.) And its less effecient to use right now, since engines designed to run E85 are also, at present, required to burn conventional gasoline as well, keeping compression low and effeciency down. An ethanol driven economy system would be an absolute nightmare. There's already concerns about supplying it to where its required (Northeast and West Coast) much less trying to supply the whole country with 85% of its fuel requirements.

    Natural gas is not a good solution as an alternative fuel since it is still a non-renewable resource. The fuel cell is decades from being perfected enough to work in the real world.

    Not that the current shift and focus toward renewable fuel sources is without merit. I think its wonderful to see so much energy devoted to finding a solution, however, I think some obvious short term solutions are being missed.

    Here's something to think about...

    Diesel engines are about 50% more effecient that gasoline engines. Think if all (or a significant portion) of the US fleet of vehicles were burning distillates. Supply worries would shorten significantly. Diesel is cheaper and easier to produce than gasoline, even with the new suflur regulations in tact.

    Biodiesel also represents the strongest source of renewable energy for the short term. Being more effecient than ethanol, and running in current diesel engines with little modification is also a plus. It can be made from waste from normal food manufacturing processes or from raw material (soybeans.) Blended distillate could be transported via traditional pipeline methods would be conceivable.

    IMO (and this is just that) the only valid short term solution would be to up diesel engine manufacturing in the United States. People will just have to live with the odor and/or noise. I own a diesel car and you get used to it. This shift could lead slowing into a shift into 100% renewable biodesiel in the future. I've run B20 (20% biodiesel blended with conventional diesel) in my VW Jetta (2004 model) and it ran just fine. B100 will run in any conventional diesel engine provided you keep the tank heated to prevent the fuel from congealing.

    Until there's a viable infrastructure for supporting renewable fuels, there's going to have to be a mid-term solution. You can't just switch over. Its not feasable.

    Just my thoughts on the issue.

  6. #6

    Re: next generation fuels

    This is a case where the government must lead, and not leave things to market forces.

    Why?

    Because of the local-minima problem. Picture a sheet of rubber stretched flat with some strings tied to a number of points on the sheet pulling down and forming pockets. Put a marble on the sheet. It will roll to the nearest low point.

    Now, lets say the lower the point the more efficient the solution. And what if there is a much lower point than where your marble came to rest? It would take energy to roll the marble out of its local minima and guide it to a point with better efficiency.

    Market forces drive the marble to the local minima and work hard to keep it there. Our current local minima is an infrastructure with oil/gas exploration, extration, refinement, distribution and petro-burning engines. Subsidies make the walls that lead to the local minima even steeper than otherwise.

    Why build a fleet of alternative fuel cars if the fuel isn't available? Why make the fuel if there are no cars? How do you compete against subsidized oil? They have scale. Your alternative fuel industry doesn't. It doesn't matter how efficient your alternative would be *if* it had scale and an established infrastructure. It's not efficient today.

    The first step is to identify that lower minima. (Not so easy, as Brian points out. The key is that it should be based on a high volume forecast.) The next step is to raise the current local minima with higher taxes, rather than subsidies. Finally, there need to be subsidies for moving to the new goal. The higher the taxes/subsidies, the faster the migration.

    Unfortunately, we're still waiting on step 1.

    One thing for sure, the market will not lead us to the best long term solution. The market is content with local minimas, because the market is short-sighted. Also, it only worries about pure dollars. It doesn't consider social and environmental costs.

    BTW, we're going through this transition right now with digital television. You can get a lot more information through a 6 MHz channel using 8-VSB than you can with analog NTSC. On February 17th, 2009 analog broadcasting fades to black. The market was not able to do that on its own. It took government standards and mandates to make it happen. And now we have HDTV.

    But DTV system was a piece of cake, compared to changing our energy system.

    -JF

  7. #7

    Re: next generation fuels

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Burrell
    Actually, there was a nice article about all this in this months Popular Science. I recommend it to everyone.

    It showed effeciency/cost per renewable energy source for the same trip across the US. The most cost effective were the standard gasoline engine and the diesel engine running biodiesel. The alternative fuels were way too costly. The most difficult problem with ethanol is the transportation method (I work for a major oil company and they are feeling the effects of this now as the country shifts from using MTBE into using ethanol as a replacement.) The product cannot be carried in the pipelines since it would clean the lines as it was transported, resulting in contamination. At this point all ethanol is blended at gasoline storage facilities using ethanol brought in via truck, rail car, or barge. All of these methods are subject to disruptions moreso than via pipeline.

    You cannot blend ethanol and gasoline and then store it in bulk supply tanks since it causes the blended product to evaporate too quickly. It also cannot be stored in traditional underground tanks without cleaning them, since the ethanol attracts water. There's also the fact that there isn't sufficient supply of material to be converted into base ethnanol for blending in the US, so we'll be back to importing it from other places (although its still renewable.) And its less effecient to use right now, since engines designed to run E85 are also, at present, required to burn conventional gasoline as well, keeping compression low and effeciency down. An ethanol driven economy system would be an absolute nightmare. There's already concerns about supplying it to where its required (Northeast and West Coast) much less trying to supply the whole country with 85% of its fuel requirements.

    Natural gas is not a good solution as an alternative fuel since it is still a non-renewable resource. The fuel cell is decades from being perfected enough to work in the real world.

    Not that the current shift and focus toward renewable fuel sources is without merit. I think its wonderful to see so much energy devoted to finding a solution, however, I think some obvious short term solutions are being missed.

    Here's something to think about...

    Diesel engines are about 50% more effecient that gasoline engines. Think if all (or a significant portion) of the US fleet of vehicles were burning distillates. Supply worries would shorten significantly. Diesel is cheaper and easier to produce than gasoline, even with the new suflur regulations in tact.

    Biodiesel also represents the strongest source of renewable energy for the short term. Being more effecient than ethanol, and running in current diesel engines with little modification is also a plus. It can be made from waste from normal food manufacturing processes or from raw material (soybeans.) Blended distillate could be transported via traditional pipeline methods would be conceivable.

    IMO (and this is just that) the only valid short term solution would be to up diesel engine manufacturing in the United States. People will just have to live with the odor and/or noise. I own a diesel car and you get used to it. This shift could lead slowing into a shift into 100% renewable biodesiel in the future. I've run B20 (20% biodiesel blended with conventional diesel) in my VW Jetta (2004 model) and it ran just fine. B100 will run in any conventional diesel engine provided you keep the tank heated to prevent the fuel from congealing.

    Until there's a viable infrastructure for supporting renewable fuels, there's going to have to be a mid-term solution. You can't just switch over. Its not feasable.

    Just my thoughts on the issue.
    joe thanks for your insights. i find the story about ethonal and brazil amazing( see the msnbc link in my 1st post.)
    how are they meeting some of the challenges you mentioned??

  8. #8

    Re: next generation fuels

    Well one things for certain.

    Oil will run out.

    Sooner rather than later.

    Gas will continue to get more expansive as oil gets harder to find. I would rather start the migration now instead of waiting for the next crisis.

    Honda already has a complete fuel cell car and refilling station ready to go. As was mentioned Brazil is running on almost 100% ethanol already.

    Willie Nelson is a big backer of biodesiel and is building a biodesiel refinery.

    Big Oil won't let go of their cash cow until the last drop of oil is drained from the earth and I don't want to wait because a few greedy corporations are stiffling competition.

    Maybe once our idiot Oil man president gets out of office things will have a chance to change.

  9. #9

    Re: next generation fuels

    I'm working on developing an inexhaustible energy resource - wind power. I'm planning on using politicians, they generate enough wind to drive anyone around the bend!
    Dasher
    -------
    It's all about the music - really. I keep telling myself that...

  10. #10

    Re: next generation fuels

    You have to understand the econimic factors involved.

    Brazil probably has ethanol production to sustain itself without needing to import ethanol. America on the other hand could never produce sufficient ethanol to power a national fleet of E85 vehicles. Thus we would need to import the product. That means ethanol is brought in in huge quantities in barges to distribution facilities with special tanks for holding the product. From there it is shipped via either truck or rail to other distribution points to be blended into the gasoline. Such a transportation infrastructure is very easily broken due to delays in shipments. There simply exists no way to easily transport vast quantities of ethanol across the vast spanses of America. Those areas closest to bodies of water capable of handling barges would benefit while land locked regions would suffer outage situations and price spikes as demand outstripped accessible supply. Brazil is no where near as large as America and depending on the placement of ethanol refineries and holding facilities the transportation logistics could be a magnitude of times better than what America would face. And more transportation costs equals higher prices. I don't think that's been mentioned yet. Transporting ethanol is considerably more expensive than conventional petroleum products. Trucking it from distribution facility A to facility B hundreds of miles away is very expensive (which is what will have to happen initially as most distribution facilities are incapable of handling rail deliveries of ethanol.) The price of an E85 ecomony would not, in the short term (and IMO) be any cheaper than what you're seeing now, and depending on supply and where it comes from, it could even be more expensive. And there's the energy it takes to produce ethanol. I wish I had the link, but there was an article somewhere showing the amount of coal that was burned to produce so little ethanol. Is that really progress? I don't think so. You're burning a non-renewable resource in huge quantities to produce small amounts of a renewable one. That's backwards, IMO.

    Honestly, with the recent ban on MTBE (an additive to improve air quality from burning gasoline) there is already a crunch on ethanol and fears of outages in the areas that are forced to use it, much less in other areas of the country where it is simply an option. Not that all this couldn't be ironed out. I just don't see how, without a better transportation infrastructure, it will be a valid option. But this same concern applies to all renewable fuels presented at present.

    I don't know what the answer is, although, I do hope that one is found. But I fear that the public is its own worst enemy when it comes to these things. We already have the cheapest most powerful fuel on the planet rarely being used (nuclear energy) simply because no one wants one of these facilities in their back yard. I can't say that I blame them, but honestly, something has to happen. Standard energy plants are burning coal or natural gas to power your home. Neither of these is renewable and natural gas is very expensive to import, and right now America can't meet its own demand on this either.

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