could we make a car that runs off of alcohol?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by twoodcc, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #1
    i was just wondering this last night. i was thinking about how gas prices are so high, and was wondering what else we could use.

    i thought, "we get the power from gas when it burns, so what other liquid is flammable?" and alcohol is what i thought of.

    after looking it up, it looks like some alcohol is made from Ethanol, and i guess we are already making some cars run off of that.

    any thoughts?
     
  2. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

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    #2
    It's going to be a while before I contemplate putting Bollinger in my car instead of my mouth.

    I'd rather ride a bike :D
     
  3. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #3
    One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me....
    -Homer Simpson at the Gas Station
     
  4. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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  5. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #5
    Up until the 1920s it was common for cars to run on Ethanol. Look at some old movies. When the said put Ethyl in the car it was ethanol. Farmers would have their own still and make their own fuel.
     
  6. davidwarren macrumors 6502a

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  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #7
    Here I fixed miniConvert's post. ;)
     
  8. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #8
    are you sure? i'm not talking about drinking alcohol here

    i mean, how much does it really cost to make it?
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    You want to let your car drink alcohol?

    By next week, it'll drive a bit sluggish and be a bit more non-responsive. However, it'll tell you that it's fine.

    By next month, it'll show up late and won't even take you to where you need to go.

    In 3 months time, it'll be on crack.
     
  10. iGav macrumors G3

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    #10
    How about making cars lighter and more economical? ;)
     
  11. foidulus macrumors 6502a

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    #11
  12. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #12
    while it might be cheaper per gallon it is not cheaper to us per mile. You loose a lot of hp and miles per gallon going over to ethol. it has a lot less power in it.
     
  13. Cloudane macrumors 65816

    Cloudane

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    #13
    I always think that alcohol that isn't ingested (or can't be e.g. methanol), is a terrible waste :D
     
  14. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #14
    Not quite. Although enthanol was well-known (and seen as a replacement or additive in the future) in the 1920's, Ethyl--actually a brand name--was something else entirely, and not as relatively gentle as ethanol.

    "[FONT=Times New Roman, Times, serif]Ethyl leaded gasoline is the confusing brand name choice for tetra ethyl lead (TEL), which was an anti-knock (octane boosting) gasoline additive discovered by General Motors researchers on Dec. 9, 1921 and introduced commercially in Ohio on Feb. 2,1923."
    Source: http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/papers/ethylconflict.html
    [/FONT]
     
  15. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #15
    :confused: jokes apart, there are already engines that work perfectly fine on alcohol, including car engines. Major economic trends (corn growing) are changing because alcohol is becoming an increasingly important fuel.
    In Brazil alcohol (from sugar cane) has fueled cars for years, and is used for heating and electricity.
    so it's a good idea, but about 30-40 years late ;)
     
  16. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Many all new cars are flex-fuel if I remember correctly meaning they can burn fuel that is up to 85% enthanol (E85). Some places are starting to add ethanol to gasoline-- if you see fuel that is written as E10 or E15 the number corresponds to the percent of the fuel that is ethanol.

    Like someone already stated, burning ethanol reduces our HP and fuel efficiency. It is being produced in great quantities in the midwest right now which has caused corn prices to rise quite a bit. Farmers are receiving a lot of government subsidies to produce it.
     
  17. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #17
    E85 already shows up in gasoline in the US as an additive.
     
  18. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #18
    Get a diesel car and it can run on the grease from your deep-fat fryer.
     
  19. .JahJahwarrior. macrumors 6502

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    #19
    While running a car on ethanol seems good, it actually has many downsides.

    -right now the government is subsidizing corn production for ethanol. They are subsidizing it so that people will make it. Now, that doesn't mean that it wouldn't be mad without government subsidies, but I think it means that if it wasn't subsidized, less would be made. The government is fooling around in the free market, and that's not good. If ethanol was so wonderful, companies would make it without being given government subsidies.

    -it takes more energy to make a gallon of ethanol than it puts out. Now, I want to say that this applies mainly to corn ethanol. Cain ethanol is better, but that means importing from Brazil, and everyone thinks that a trade deficit is a bad thing, and Congress won't ever make us use the cheaper, more effeicient stuff unless it's from the US, due to trade protectionism theory. :)

    -It doesn't make that much less greenhouse gasses. I'm not certain of numbers, but I want to say that it might even be worse than gas. I know that liquid coal is worse than gas.

    -there are millions of miles of pipes in our country. We send lots of products in these pipes. We clean the pipes between "shipments" with several miles of water. We can send gas trhough these pipes, because it doesn't mix with water. We cannot send ethanol through these pipes, because it does. We have to then ship ethanol by plane, boat, rail or truck, which is very expensive, and produced more greenhouse gasses. :)

    I am much more fond of a diesel running on grease from Mcdonalds. Personally, I just try not to drive too much. But because I don't support ethanol very much, I still get branded as ane arth hater... :(
     
  20. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #20
    Ethanol is not the future, purely and simply. Biodiesel is more viable overall because it doesn;t require the same level of refinement, and is easier to obtain as a waste product at the moment.
     
  21. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #21
    It depends on how you count various things. The most pessimistic numbers for BTU yields in corn ethanol are around .75, the best are around 1.3, depending on who does the math. If you start fermenting the biomass in addition to the the grain (not done here, probably because of the way the subsidies work) the yield goes to between 3 and 5. Bio-Diesel gets similar yields.

    The advantage comes in that while it releases huge amounts of CO2, all of that came from the atmosphere so it is carbon neutral.

    Used to. Now they just run the oils through sequentially and like the mystery dum-dums the sell the top and bottom of each run to people who don't care what they burn. Ethanol can now run through.

    Its a great way to reuse the resource and smells oh so yummy running down the road.
     
  22. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Electric cars are the future.

    Fuel cell cars will explode and cost too much right now in R&D and companies don't want to invest too much in it. Gas will obviously disappear, hybrid cars will be around for a while.
     
  23. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #24
    Not so much...at this point the vast majority of electricity comes from non-sustainable sources, most of which also pose major pollution issues, and that situation will not change for a lifetime or two even by the most optimistic (yet still credible) estimates.

    The fuel cells projected for use in automobiles carry their hydrogen inside metals, not in a pressurized cylinder. As such, they are safer than a current automobile's fuel tank.

    Unfortunately, as it stands today, we aren't even certain that fuel cells are a viable option...but the possible benefits are worth the cost of finding out...
     
  25. twoodcc thread starter macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #25
    that's what i thought
     

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