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Thread: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

  1. #1
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    Default Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    How do you feel, personally, about ethanol fuel? Tell me all about it

    This is an 'overflow' thread for this thread.
    16'5" Welsford Walkabout

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    I come to this from the general discussion about “decarbonisation” (horrid word) of merchant shipping.

    “Bio ethanol” is one possible alternative fuel.

    The starters at the moment are:

    1. Nuclear reactor generating steam to drive turbines.

    Very well proven technology, high capital cost, at civil enrichment levels refuelling will be required within the life of the reactor system, absolutely no chemical emissions. Probably the best for big ships.

    2. “Blue” hydrogen made by electrolysis of water using either nuclear power or wind or solar power. Ideally used in fuel cells to make electricity. Problem is that it is extremely difficult to store and transport, so it is foreseen that it can be used to make either

    2.a. Ammonia (nasty, but well known and fairly easy to handle store and transport) with the intention of reducing it to hydrogen and using it in fuel cells
    or
    2.b. methanol (obvious problem is the presence of carbon in the molecule) Easy to carry and store, very inflammable)

    3. “Bio” ethanol from plants ie the carbon in the molecule is taken from and returned to the atmosphere

    or

    4. Sails.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Ethanol by fermentation is a spectacularly stupid choice of fuel - as you get to use only a tiny percentage of the plant mass.

    And it is horrible when mixed into motor spirit (gasoline) - prime cause of crudding up carbs, filters and fuel lines.

    Methanol makes much more sense,
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    And it is horrible when mixed into motor spirit (gasoline) - prime cause of crudding up carbs, filters and fuel lines.
    Whether it's a good idea or not, almost all gasoline around here is either 10% or 15% ethanol, the latter for newer vehicles only. Works fine, doesn't crud up anything.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Does motor-fuel ethanol still replace the same or less fuel than it consumes to produce? Or is that an obsolete talking point?
    What color are their hands now?

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Just replaced a carburetor on my outboard because I forgot that I had added ethanol fuel last fall and also forgot to add Stabil. I usually use non-ethanol fuel in it but ran out on a cruise and added what I could get. So my own fault, but still not very fond of ethanol gas.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Whether it's a good idea or not, almost all gasoline around here is either 10% or 15% ethanol, the latter for newer vehicles only. Works fine, doesn't crud up anything.
    Works while the thing is run regularly - Leave a tankful in a XS650 over winter and watch what happens.


    In the UK we have rules mandating "oxygenates" - people expected ethanol but it is often MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether)
    Last edited by P.I. Stazzer-Newt; 05-04-2021 at 12:06 PM.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Whether it's a good idea or not, almost all gasoline around here is either 10% or 15% ethanol, the latter for newer vehicles only. Works fine, doesn't crud up anything.
    For anything else that's nonsense. Use that "fuel" in a small engine and you'll soon by buying a carburetor.
    In bygone days I used to rebuild carbs regularly. These days the damage done by ethanol is usually irreversible - so it's off to China to buy a replacement.
    The only way to use that crap in a small engine is to run the carb empty after each use. That wastes fuel and it good for the environment or something.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    The only way to use that crap in a small engine is to run the carb empty after each use.
    Nah. I have never had trouble with small engine carbs with 10% ethanol - OTOH, all of mine are relatively new; likely older ones can give trouble. You do have to use Sta-bil if it's going to sit for a long time, winter for the lawnmower, summer for the snowblower.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    My 1991 K100RS, once known as "The Flying Brick" is just a brick now after I let it sit too long with ethanol laced gas in the tank. The rubber bits of the in-tank fuel pump melted into a sticky black goo. She's way down on the list of projects but one day the Brick will fly again, with ethanol-compatible parts.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Besides the idiocy of converting food into fuel... My son-in-law and I now have a sizable collection of junk carbs for proof of how awful the crap is. And what it does to the inside of a gas tank ain't at all pretty. My outboards are run out of fuel in a barrel after every use and, knock on wood, that's worked so far. I know a gentleman with a very nice Model T truck. It's now not running... he didn't know about the new fuel. And boy is he mad!
    For any used equipment you'd better figure in the price of a new carb before purchasing. Even 1/2 decent ones usually have idling problems.
    And for a snowblower? In my climate run it dry. We can easily go a couple of years with out using it.
    And if you like a bit of a gamble, use the ethanol formula Stabil. The original formula (if there's any still around) didn't work.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam F View Post
    Besides the idiocy of converting food into fuel...
    go sam go
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Besides the idiocy of converting food into fuel...
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    go sam go
    Luckily there's no one going hungry anywhere.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    I have no strong feelings about ethanol fuel. It would be interesting to find out the total subsidies involved in corn production as it relates to ethanol as a fuel and additive.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    It's funny this post already has 13 replies, and the nut's-and-bolts post has 0
    Either tells you something about human nature, or my poor forum author abilities
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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    Does motor-fuel ethanol still replace the same or less fuel than it consumes to produce? Or is that an obsolete talking point?
    I don’t think that’s the goal as much as an anti knock additive is needed and ethanol works. It’s close to a wash using corn based ethanol.
    If policies were implemented that reduced gasoline use through a higher price at the pump it would reduce ethanol consumption as well.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    A complex subject. I too have been OK with 10% ethanol fuel when the machine is run regularly. Over 6 months of not running (like a lawnmower or snowblower)? You might get away with it without draining/StaBil - but it's Russian Roulette. I have cleaned carbs if they are not too bad, but that's hit or miss. When you can buy a new carb for $20, it makes little sense.

    I switch the lawnmower over to ethanol-free in late August so there's no ethanol in it by the time I put it away.

    As far as it making sense as a crop, I haven't seen the latest numbers, but it used to be a net loss: the fuel used to create the ethanol from corn was more than what the crop produced. Maybe that's improved? Two things that doesn't address are 1) does it make sense to turn food into fuel & 2) what difference does the 10% ethanol make for air pollution? Supposedly, it does reduce air pollution, but with the games the gov't (particularly the EPA) plays with fuels, I have my doubts.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    go sam go
    How is converting gmo corn, a product, into fuel any more idiotic than extracting crude and fossil carbon out of the ground then blowing it into the atmosphere?

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    How is converting gmo corn, a product, into fuel any more idiotic than extracting crude and fossil carbon out of the ground then blowing it into the atmosphere?
    AFAIK, what Garret said is still true:
    Quote Originally Posted by Garret
    ... the fuel used to create the ethanol from corn was more than what the crop produced.
    That would make it almost as idiotic as anyone could imagine.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam F View Post
    AFAIK, what Garret said is still true:


    That would make it almost as idiotic as anyone could imagine.
    What I said was:

    As far as it making sense as a crop, I haven't seen the latest numbers, but it used to be a net loss: the fuel used to create the ethanol from corn was more than what the crop produced.
    Please do not use a partial quote to change the meaning of what I said.

    Since you did, I had to do a little research. Things have changed. Seems that it now produces at least a little more than it takes.

    https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/ethanol_fuel_basics.html

    https://alternativeenergy.procon.org...to-produce-it/

    http://large.stanford.edu/courses/20...alance2009.pdf
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam F View Post
    AFAIK, what Garret said is still true:


    That would make it almost as idiotic as anyone could imagine.
    Only if you expected ethanol to be as much of a free lunch as crude oi. What is idiotic is thinking of gmo corn that requires large inputs of fossil fuel, pesticides and fertilizer that provides feedstock primarily for domesticated animals as some kind of vital food for people.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Yes Garret. That's why, not having done any recent research, I said "AFAIK".
    But the economic and other environmental costs are not trivial, even if not documented.
    - Erosion of topsoil due to intensive row cropping.
    - Increased cost of food
    - Lower MPG with ethanol
    - Repair costs... "Ethanol has been known to wreak havoc on fuel systems, deteriorating plastic and silicone components such as hoses, fuel pumps and filters, gas tanks, and fuel injectors. Among its other talents, ethanol also has the ability to etch aluminum and magnesium, as well as absorb moisture from the air, allowing a water/alcohol mixture in the fuel tank." from:
    https://www.asphaltandrubber.com/new...engine-damage/

    All in all ethanol is not a good idea.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Every report of damage I've ever heard has been an old machine, with rubber parts in the fuel system that weren't designed to handle ethanol. If it's newer, no problem. Yes, you have to use stabilizer if you let it sit a long time. Easy to do.

    Whether growing ethanol for fuel is a good idea or not is another issue; I'm not at all sure it is. But I may get irritated if I hear 'GMO' used as a knee-jerk insult too many more times. "GMO' or not, the genome of the corn we grow now is a very, very long way from its wild ancestors, all through human action.
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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Perhaps the dumbest public policy ever. There is absolutely no case to be made for ethanol mandates. Stupid, really, really stupid.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    I think I may be right in saying that the wild ancestors of maize are unknown - it is the most domesticated of all plants.
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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam F View Post
    Yes Garret. That's why, not having done any recent research, I said "AFAIK".
    But the economic and other environmental costs are not trivial, even if not documented.
    - Erosion of topsoil due to intensive row cropping.
    - Increased cost of food
    - Lower MPG with ethanol
    - Repair costs... "Ethanol has been known to wreak havoc on fuel systems, deteriorating plastic and silicone components such as hoses, fuel pumps and filters, gas tanks, and fuel injectors. Among its other talents, ethanol also has the ability to etch aluminum and magnesium, as well as absorb moisture from the air, allowing a water/alcohol mixture in the fuel tank." from:
    https://www.asphaltandrubber.com/new...engine-damage/

    All in all ethanol is not a good idea.
    Do you have a better anti-knock additive that isn’t heinously carcinogenic? Ethanol has upstream and downstream costs. So does having a relatively high per capita consumption of fossil fuels. Kinda matters what “all in all “ ideas you have before putting them on a scale of good and bad.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Every report of damage I've ever heard has been an old machine, with rubber parts in the fuel system that weren't designed to handle ethanol. If it's newer, no problem. Yes, you have to use stabilizer if you let it sit a long time. Easy to do.

    Whether growing ethanol for fuel is a good idea or not is another issue; I'm not at all sure it is. But I may get irritated if I hear 'GMO' used as a knee-jerk insult too many more times. "GMO' or not, the genome of the corn we grow now is a very, very long way from its wild ancestors, all through human action.
    When someone refers to “growing food for fuel” it also is meant to trigger meaning. Modern corn is a product worthy of utilization into any end use folks find worthwhile.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    When someone refers to “growing food for fuel” it also is meant to trigger meaning. Modern corn is a product worthy of utilization into any end use folks find worthwhile.
    Exactly. Making corn into ethanol may be a good idea or not, but there's nothing at all intrinsically wrong with growing a plant that we can either eat, feed to animals which we then eat, make into bourbon which we drink, or make into fuel.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    You men have covered this pretty well.I don't use any additives not even Marvel Mystery oil ,when it sits in the float bowl the gas and oil will evaporate but the mystery stays behind for the owner to marvel.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Exactly. Making corn into ethanol may be a good idea or not, but there's nothing at all intrinsically wrong with growing a plant that we can either eat, feed to animals which we then eat, or make into fuel.
    Very true. One does worry about soil depletion though - as corn sucks a lot out of the soil.
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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Exactly. Making corn into ethanol may be a good idea or not, but there's nothing at all intrinsically wrong with growing a plant that we can either eat, feed to animals which we then eat, or make into fuel.
    Right, but the word food implies nourishment. Corn is calories. It is fuel. We would strip topsoil for corn to feed cows or corn to feed a distillation refinery.

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Hey now, sweet corn in August is one of the great sensual delights offered by this planet.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Hey now, sweet corn in August is one of the great sensual delights offered by this planet.
    Absolutely!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Exactly. Making corn into ethanol may be a good idea or not, but there's nothing at all intrinsically wrong with growing a plant that we can either eat, feed to animals which we then eat, make into bourbon which we drink, or make into fuel.
    You can get much more methanol than fermentation ethanol from the plant - so, if you want fuel, that is a more attractive route.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Do you like Ethanol Fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Nah. I have never had trouble with small engine carbs with 10% ethanol - OTOH, all of mine are relatively new; likely older ones can give trouble. You do have to use Sta-bil if it's going to sit for a long time, winter for the lawnmower, summer for the snowblower.
    Or you just by non-oxygenated gasoline at the pump.

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