Biodiesel and New Energy

Focusing on kinetic and electrical energy, particularly biodiesel, ethanol, and new hydrogen economy.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Biodiesel VS Ethanol

Unfortunately, biodiesel can only be run in diesel engines, and less than 5% of American vehicles run on diesel. Since many low mpg trucks run on diesel, we may be able to replace more than 5% of America's oil requirements by converting diesel engines without touching gasoline engines.

Any gasoline engine can be converted to run on ethanol, as diesel engines can be converted to run on biodiesel. Ethanol is an alcohol, and can be acquired denatured 'made undrinkable' for perhaps $2.25 per gallon in bulk. This means that ethanol is a better deal than gasoline, but not much better for the time being. However, it is minimally polluting inside the vehicle, which can reduce urban smog and improve user experience. It is uncertain whether standard production methods increase or decrease net energy level. It may depend on the amount of heat added and method of extraction. Regardless, it is on the market for you and cheaper than gas.

Since alcohol burns slower than gasoline, the timing of the firing in the piston's cycle must be adjusted backwards. This can be done by wrenching your carburater a little bit or by changing the settings on your fuel injection system. This job sounded technical when I read it, so I recommend asking your mechanic to do it for you.

Much technical information is available at the Brazilian based site Brazil is the world's #1 sugar producer, and has been using about 20% fermented sugar [ethanol] in its gas since the 1970's. The website sells equipment for your engine that will maintain its factory warranty and allow you to run on gasoline, ethanol, or both at once.

Ethanol is better and more environmentally friendly than petroleum. It can also be produced locally and makes fewer and less toxic pollutants than petroleum. On the plus, ethanol is a more powerful fuel source than gasoline and comes from farm wastes. It may also cost a few thousand dollars to convert successfully, but if engines are produced to run on gasoline-ethanol from the factory they will cost approximately the same amount as new gasoline-only engines.

Ethanol is an effective new energy in light of peak oil, world pollution, and agricultural efficiency. Links to ethanolcentric sites will appear on this page.

America and the world should change their agricultural practices to coincide with our changing fuel needs. In the coming years American and world farmers will need to devote more space to fuel crops as well as provide food for the world. Combined with the "2 million wells" program, this should be easily attainable.


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