alcohol

Nicholas Landau nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu
Wed Sep 18 22:39:45 EST 1996


<pjareo at creighton.edu> writes:

>Just a thought, and I'm no mechanic.  With the high pressures and
>temperatures inherent in the pistons of an engine, engine temperature
>regulated by various thermostats and cooling systems, and control of the
>water content in gasoline, why would the climate have anything to do with
>how the gasoline-ethanol blend is combusted?  Lots of ethanol is made from
>good ol' corn in the midwest, btw.  It's an important aspect of farming in
>this area, vital to the economy.  :-)  (Of course, my car doesn't like
>it!)

>Patti Jareo

First of all, I meant that using ethanol *without gasoline* isn't really
feasible outside of warm climates.  I base this on accounts of how
Brasilian automobiles, which run of ethanol solutions, behave when a
rare cold snap hits.  According to my microbial ecology instructor, when
he was in Brazil during unseasonably cold weather, the autos were
sputtering, stalling, and generally sounding and running like hell.

It is possible that cars could be modified to pre-warm fuel before it
enters the carb.  I have heard that this increases the efficiency of
a gas-burning car, although I do not know if it is ever used in stock
cars.

The US could make plenty of ethanol from it maize crop, but I think that
ethanol is cheap enough to use as fuel unadulterated in Brazil because
of the even greater capacity of Brazil to produce ethanol from cane.
They get in big trouble when sugar prices go up, though, because the
cane producers will not sell to the distilleries!

I hope that this clears up what I meant about ethanol being a suitable
fuel only where the weather is warm.  I am a fan of natural gas, myself,
but that is a different discussion.

Nick Landau
Dept. Microbiology and Biochemistry
Rutgers University, New Jersey
nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu



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