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Old 08-10-2005, 11:49 PM   #1
giant016
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Alcohol as an atlernative fuel?

I was just sitting on the crapper, and randomly an idea popped into my head. I always hear about hydrogen and all of this other complicated stuff about alternative fuels. I was wondering why nobody is talking about using alcohol. I know dragsters use it, so it couldn't be terribly complicated to design an effecient engine for a daily driver, could it? If the alcohol was mass produced it could probably be made for $2-$3 a gallon, maybe even cheaper. I figure since it is a renewable resource, and we wouldn't have to depend on the sand monkeys for ail as much, why isn't research being done?Their is probably a simple explaination that I have not heard of, as I am clearly not an expert.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:59 PM   #2
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They're mixing a lot of normal petrol with ethanol these days.
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:00 AM   #3
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This has been discussed, especially since alcohol burns incredibly clean. However, it requires a lot more alcohol to reach a stoichiometric burn ratio and alcohol has a lower enthalpy of production (basically "h" value) than does gasoline, and therefore more volume of alcohol is necessary to reach an equivalent power output. Dragsters use it because you can burn more alcohol per unit volume of air and you net more power in the end, but it requires more volume.

Also, calculations have been made along these lines. In order for the U.S. to completely switch over to burning alcohol it would require more than every square foot of the U.S. to be planted in corn crops... which obviously will not happen... I'll think of some of the other reasons... but, yeah, alcohol burns very clean and is a good way to make power... just not a good way to get gas mileage.

Also, if alcohol catches on fire, the flame is invisible. Hence why they require Formula SAE teams to run Ethanol or Methanol.. the impurity of the fossil fuel gives the flame color... should an accident happen.
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:03 AM   #4
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I heard one time about making a fuel from wheat, is that the same as this or not?
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:14 AM   #5
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Yeah, it is.
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:47 AM   #6
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Diesel cars can run off grease from fryers like at McDonalds, or vegetable oil
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Old 08-11-2005, 03:26 AM   #7
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My friend says you cant use alcohol on stock or tuner motors because you will fry your pistons and rings, and tear apart your cylinder.

No idea what that means, but that's their reply.
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:06 AM   #8
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If your having problems passing your emissions test (If your required to take one like I am), then Alcohol is your best friend. I'm not sure what the ratio of alcohol and gasoline is but I do know that my dad's 88 sentra would fail by 101 points. After he did the alcohol trick, he failed it by only 1 point. My point is that a 100 point decrease is huge, and If your just worried about passing your test, alcohol does the trick.
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SyntheticTrust
My friend says you cant use alcohol on stock or tuner motors because you will fry your pistons and rings, and tear apart your cylinder.

No idea what that means, but that's their reply.

How exactly would it do that? Alchohol doesnt blow up that much, especially not when mixed with so much air that your car would mix together.
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giant016
I was just sitting on the crapper, and randomly an idea popped into my head. I always hear about hydrogen and all of this other complicated stuff about alternative fuels. I was wondering why nobody is talking about using alcohol. I know dragsters use it, so it couldn't be terribly complicated to design an effecient engine for a daily driver, could it? If the alcohol was mass produced it could probably be made for $2-$3 a gallon, maybe even cheaper. I figure since it is a renewable resource, and we wouldn't have to depend on the sand monkeys for ail as much, why isn't research being done?Their is probably a simple explaination that I have not heard of, as I am clearly not an expert.
Im not exactly sure why no one has thought of that. It would definatly be cheaper I would think.

By the way, I dont appreciate you using the term "sand monkies". I am of arabic/lebeniese descent.
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Old 08-11-2005, 05:27 AM   #11
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Hmmm

Are there monkeys in the desert?
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SyntheticTrust
My friend says you cant use alcohol on stock or tuner motors because you will fry your pistons and rings, and tear apart your cylinder.

No idea what that means, but that's their reply.


Umm... no. We converted an otherwise stock motor to run on E85 (85% alcohol, 15% racegas) and there were no problems what-so-ever. The only kicker about running high concentration alcohol is that it will eat normal rubber components in the fuel system (over time, not instantly). You have to run a special fuel pump, special FPR, special O-rings on the injectors (basically you convert all possible rubber components in the system to Viton). Then you must tune your fuel curves accordingly.

As I stated above, it takes a lot more alcohol to get the proper ratio. Running a lean ratio with alcohol does the same thing as lean with gasoline... it burns holes in pistons and burns up rings... etc. So maybe your friend just needs to learn a little about tuning.
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:58 PM   #13
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If you converted an engine then it wouldn't be stock. Am I right?
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Old 08-11-2005, 04:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SyntheticTrust
If you converted an engine then it wouldn't be stock. Am I right?

"An OTHERWISE stock motor" i.e. it was a stock motor when we started.

Stock pistons, stock rods, stock head, stock valves, stock rings, stock cylinder liners, stock cams... etc. We converted the injectors for alcohol, the fuel pump for alcohol, and the FPR for alcohol and then did a ton of tuning.
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Old 08-11-2005, 04:47 PM   #15
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Ah I see, sorry about the misunderstanding
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