The Ethanol debate
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  1. #1
    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    Default The Ethanol debate

    ok i'm opening up the age old arguement about ethanol again

    what are peoples opinions on running ethanol in their cars ?

    i'm thinking of running up 25% ethanol in the 604 as i have been offered 4-6 44gal drums of 'automotive' grade ethanol for a very good price

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    Gone Fishin' Ray Bell's Avatar
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    Well, really you don't want opinions, you want facts from someone who knows what they're talking about. Right?

    Opinions can be wrong, facts are facts...

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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    Well, really you don't want opinions, you want facts from someone who knows what they're talking about. Right?

    Opinions can be wrong, facts are facts...

    well even experiences in running it

    seeing as most premium unleaded fuels have ethanol in them to raise the octane rating anyway i want to know if people have tried running more ethanol and what the outcomes were

    now i have heard stories of the stuff eating rubber and plastic and some metals but how true is all that

    i run rubber fuel lines in the car but the carby doesn't have a plastic float so what harm if any will there be in running say up to 25% ethanol on top of premium unleaded in the car, mainly the 604

    i realise that the octane rating will rise a little and it improves cold starting and gives improved running of the engine due to better burning and cleansing of the engine at the same time if it has any carbon deposits

    now seeing as i have access to nearly 1200L of the stuff i would like to put it to some good use if i can
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    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default The Ethanol debate.

    Ray 'n 'rambo
    I'm still waiting for my petrologist? to step up to the rostrum.

    Good for you to have all that ethanol on tap. What are the suppliers thoughts on using it?
    Keep it well sealed and occasionally carry out a test for water content.

    Consulting my oft quoted "Automobile Engine Tuning" by Phil Irving. He has a table on the composition of racing fuels. The nearest to your proposed 25 / 75 formula is Shell X at 30% Ethyl alcohol, petrol 40% benzol 30%. With a maximum 10.5 compression and a 40% jet flow increase.

    Similarly BP M at 20% ethyl alc, petrol 40%, benzole 40%. With a maximum compression of 10.1 and a jet flow increase of 25%.

    With the more full-on methanol fuels used he suggests a teaspoonful of Castrol R per gallon to lubricate dry valve guides.

    The smell alone would be worth the trouble!

  5. #5
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    Up to 10%, and pretty much anything which is combustible will not change your engine's characteristics too much.

    However, above that, you need to cope with the new stoichometric value for lean burning, etc. Petrol is 14.6 : 1 air:fuel mixture for complete combustion. With 25% ethanol, you need less air (around 12.5:1). So you'll need to lean your carbies.

    There are other issues to consider

    - ethanol's excellent cleaning properties will dislodge a lot of gunk from the fuel tank, fuel lines, and so on. You will need to change the fuel filter (or have a spare handy) until this is cleared out.

    - some non-steel hoses fittings will not cope with ethanol in high doses. You would do yourself a huge favor to have a fire extinguisher handy if you choose not to go to steel braided fuel lines.

    In 1970's, Brazil made ethanol a 25% mandatory part of fuel. The car manufacturers changed:

    * cylinder linings
    * fuel hoses
    * cylinder heads
    * nickel coated valve seats
    * hardened valves

    Fuel in Australia has various additives. Ethanol is rarely one of them as MTBE is cheaper. Safeway fuel is 10% MTBE, and normal unleaded has about 5% MTBE. Optimax and the like have a lot of detergents compared to most fuels, of which one of them is MTBE in a small quantity. You can get fuel composition details from the Shell, BP or mobile web sites.

    Ethanol is essentially an okay fuel for engines designed to cope with it, but I dislike the idea that it's being used to artificially prop up the ailing sugar industry. They should get out of the business and turn to less environmentally damaging, higher value crops using the buckets of cash the Govt gave them to get out of the industry.

    It's your engine, and it's out of warranty. Do you what you want.

    Andrew
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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    definitely out of warranty

    it's a 604

    fuel filters aren't a problem and an extiguisher is fine by me as most 604 owners carry one anyway as an old habit

    i thought cars in brazil were running on pure ethanol ?

    enviromentally speaking though ethanol is a much better fuel to use over petrol and the fact that it can be made from organic materials is much better than fossil fuel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest
    Ray 'n 'rambo
    I'm still waiting for my petrologist? to step up to the rostrum.

    Good for you to have all that ethanol on tap. What are the suppliers thoughts on using it?
    the suppliers are more concerned with getting it out of their way at the moment hence the price

    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest
    Keep it well sealed and occasionally carry out a test for water content.
    i thought it disolved water

    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest
    Consulting my oft quoted "Automobile Engine Tuning" by Phil Irving. He has a table on the composition of racing fuels. The nearest to your proposed 25 / 75 formula is Shell X at 30% Ethyl alcohol, petrol 40% benzol 30%. With a maximum 10.5 compression and a 40% jet flow increase.

    Similarly BP M at 20% ethyl alc, petrol 40%, benzole 40%. With a maximum compression of 10.1 and a jet flow increase of 25%.
    worse comes to worse i'll have a near lifetime supply of ethanol for the water injection, i'll just put straight ethanol in there instead of 50/50 water/metho

    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest
    With the more full-on methanol fuels used he suggests a teaspoonful of Castrol R per gallon to lubricate dry valve guides.

    The smell alone would be worth the trouble!
    the smell will cure any headcolds or sinus problems
    3 x '78 604 SL

    1 x '98 306 GTi6

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    1 x '98 406 STDT troop carrier and i don't care if it stinks, i don't sniff it's arse Death by wank tank

    1 x '99 406SV 5spd wagon, time to burn more fuel

    1 x 1994 605 SV3.0


    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

  8. #8
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    No, Brazilian fuel is 22% by volume (E22).

    Sugar producing is very CO2 intensive, but the release of CO2 from dino juice or sugar is bad no matter which way you slice and dice it.

    When sugar is cropped in Australia, the entire field is burnt. That releases a large quantity of CO2, particulates and soot, which harms the nearby environment. A better strategy would be to shred the detritus and make it into mulch, but that doesn't happen.

    Once sugar cane has been pressed, it must be refined exactly the same way as heavy oil - in a refinery. Various distillations are taken off, and it's tested to make sure it doesn't have too much water or contaminants in it.

    It takes 1000 kg of cane to make 8-10 litres of unrefined alcohol by fermentation, one of the most efficient conversions. Growing the millions of tonnes of cane required to make up 25% of the Australian fuel supply would take oceans of water, mounds of fertilizer and more arable land than we have available. If they also use the secondary squeezings, the mash is so polluted, it requires significant energy input (unrecoverable from the energy to be released from the ethanol) in the form of steam to make it useful. Few people do it that way. But it is a perfect scheme for government pork barrell schemes to keep regional hopes falsely alive in a doomed industry.

    Ethanol production and emissions:
    http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/ap42/ch...l/c9s10-1a.pdf

    Andrew
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    BTW the engine is a modified 604 block carrying 91mm domed volvo pistons with 604 heads and volvo cams

    ports are cleaned up and running a single weber ATM and match ported ex manifolds

    CR i have no idea but standard 604's have 8.65:1 but i am running domed volvo pistons topped with the 604 heads so it should be up around the 9-9.5:1 mark i would guess
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    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

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    Quote Originally Posted by pugrambo
    i thought it disolved water
    Ethanol is pure alcohol. Luckily we have experience with alcohol first hand.

    There are three major forms of solvents:

    1. polar protic (water and ethanol)
    2. dipolar aprotic
    3. non-polar (soaps and so on)

    In this case, ethanol will mix in water just fine. It doesn't dissolve it however - it's called miscibility. Water is almost the universal solvent, and another solvent doesn't really dissolve either. They just mix. Which what makes a fine gin and tonic work.

    Ethanol is a short chain hydroxyl and will also dissolve many organic compounds. Not many solvents work on polar and non-polar reactants. Check this out:

    http://www.usm.maine.edu/~newton/Chy.../Solvents.html

    Andrew
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  11. #11
    1000+ Posts edgedweller's Avatar
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    Default Fact not opinion

    Thankyou Vanderaj,

    a slam dunk.

    Ethanol seems to be just another way for the white death to be more death!

    Unfortunately the sugar industry is unsupportable, either way.

    Forget about wether you car can cope with it.

    cheers ed ge


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    Rather Naive Question - I know that ethanol can be derived from many different plant sources but how do they extract and process the ethanol in Brazil?

    I am assuming that the ethanol industry in Brazil and other countries (South Africa etc) is economically (even if not environmentally) viable...

    Is it purely a matter of economic scale?

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    this is what i have found out about ethanol

    By William Wells - posted Wednesday, March 05, 2003

    Ethanol energy balance compared to gasoline.
    Ethanol yields more energy net to the planet than it takes to produce it. Gasoline, or any fuel derived from fossil sources such as petroleum, cannot possibly do so. You are always at a deficit because you must consume some of the energy contained in the fuel to transport and process it, and you never get anything back. The carbon oxides from combustion add to the atmospheric inventory of other Greenhouse Gases.

    With ethanol, the carbon dioxide produced either during fermentation or combustion will be remade into exactly the same amount of plant matter from which it was made. This photosynthetic cycle is what is meant by the renewable nature of ethanol, which in fact is classified as a solar fuel. Doing a complete energy balance, to include inputs at all levels of processing and giving credits where due, still makes for a positive balance using modern methods of farming and ethanol manufacture. This is an important part of what is meant by ethanol being sustainable.

    Since carbon dioxide (CO2) is also heavily implicated in the atmospheric build-up of gases that are suspected agents of global climate change, it follows that, if the energy balance of ethanol is improved over fossil fuels, then burning it as a partial replacement for fossil fuels will help to abate these Greenhouse Gases. Further, there are two other subtle ways that ethanol helps in this area: (1) because unburned fuel is reduced in the tailpipe, more of it is being burned to useful work, and therefore additional fossil fuel will be saved; and (2) because of its high octane contribution, ethanol substitutes for aromatics, which give higher yields of CO2.

    Another aspect of sustainability involves concerns about stress on the lands and tidal waters if ethanol use increases farming. There is little danger of this, as Australia can divert a portion of the agricultural commodities now shipped in export at increasingly low prices into ethanol manufacture, moving their value up the chain and improving prices for the remaining exports. Not one extra plot of land need be farmed to provide food on Australian tables and to produce fuel ethanol for our domestic needs.
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    and this is a bit more from the same source as above

    Experience
    Ethanol has been blended in the US in significant levels since the early 1980s, and today blends of no more than 10per cent are warranted for use in every internal combustion engine sold, whether two stroke or four, land or water use, big engine or small. These are the same types of cars and marine engines sold in Australia, and there is no reason that ethanol blends at 10per cent or less will not work just fine. Additionally, in the US, there is a growing fleet of Fuel Flexible Vehicles (FFV) that runs on straight gasoline, straight ethanol, or anything in between. The number of stations dispensing the preferred fuel, E85, is growing. There are government incentives to car manufacturers for producing FFV.

    Here at home, E10 has been trialled by BP successfully in the Brisbane market since April of 2002, with no negative incidents recorded. Over this same period, Q Fleet vehicles have also successfully run on E10. There has been intermittent blending in Queensland historically since 1927. Brazil, which also has abundant sugar resources, began blending during World War I. Today, all gasoline in Brazil contains 22per cent ethanol, and some fuel is straight ethanol. All cars in Brazil are specially designed for these levels of addition.

    There are other countries besides the US, Brazil, and Australia that are incorporating ethanol into their motor fuels pool. In one form or another Sweden, France, Spain, India, Canada, Mexico and Thailand are actively using bio-ethanol at some substantial level.
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    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

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    and the health question

    Ethanol and health.
    After years of ethanol use in once-polluted major cities in the USA and Brazil, the air is demonstrably cleaner and within federal guidelines for a healthy lifestyle. Not only are toxic species reduced, such as carbon monoxide and aromatics, but also the potential to produce ground level ozone is lower because the elements necessary for its production have been greatly lessened. In particular, high octane benzene, known to cause leukaemia, can be nearly eliminated because ethanol can provide the octane it once did.

    The benefit to citizens of urban airsheds is enormous. Cleaner air means healthier people, especially those that suffer from respiratory diseases. Mortality rates will improve, health care visits will decrease in number and severity, health care costs and insurance rates will benefit, and productivity will improve as absenteeism and performance is improved.
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    I'd mark it up and sell it on to a certain Mr Smith of Queensland for fortification of his next brew...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildebeest
    Ray 'n 'rambo
    I'm still waiting for my petrologist? to step up to the rostrum.

    Good for you to have all that ethanol on tap. What are the suppliers thoughts on using it?
    Keep it well sealed and occasionally carry out a test for water content.

    Consulting my oft quoted "Automobile Engine Tuning" by Phil Irving. He has a table on the composition of racing fuels. The nearest to your proposed 25 / 75 formula is Shell X at 30% Ethyl alcohol, petrol 40% benzol 30%. With a maximum 10.5 compression and a 40% jet flow increase.

    Similarly BP M at 20% ethyl alc, petrol 40%, benzole 40%. With a maximum compression of 10.1 and a jet flow increase of 25%.

    With the more full-on methanol fuels used he suggests a teaspoonful of Castrol R per gallon to lubricate dry valve guides.

    The smell alone would be worth the trouble!

    so going by that if i just stick to the jets that are already in the car i may be a little under jetted

    but then maybe the jets could be ok for the amount of ethanol i plan on using so it will be a trial and error period

    for the price i am getting the stuff for i have nothing to lose really and if it doesn't work out then like i said i have a lifetime supply of it for the water injection to run pure ethanol in there
    3 x '78 604 SL

    1 x '98 306 GTi6

    1 x secret project

    1 x '98 406 STDT troop carrier and i don't care if it stinks, i don't sniff it's arse Death by wank tank

    1 x '99 406SV 5spd wagon, time to burn more fuel

    1 x 1994 605 SV3.0


    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey
    I'd mark it up and sell it on to a certain Mr Smith of Queensland for fortification of his next brew...

    i can see some big parties happening there
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    1 x '98 406 STDT troop carrier and i don't care if it stinks, i don't sniff it's arse Death by wank tank

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    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanderaj
    Up to 10%, and pretty much anything which is combustible will not change your engine's characteristics too much.

    However, above that, you need to cope with the new stoichometric value for lean burning, etc. Petrol is 14.6 : 1 air:fuel mixture for complete combustion. With 25% ethanol, you need less air (around 12.5:1). So you'll need to lean your carbies.

    There are other issues to consider

    - ethanol's excellent cleaning properties will dislodge a lot of gunk from the fuel tank, fuel lines, and so on. You will need to change the fuel filter (or have a spare handy) until this is cleared out.

    - some non-steel hoses fittings will not cope with ethanol in high doses. You would do yourself a huge favor to have a fire extinguisher handy if you choose not to go to steel braided fuel lines.

    In 1970's, Brazil made ethanol a 25% mandatory part of fuel. The car manufacturers changed:

    * cylinder linings
    * fuel hoses
    * cylinder heads
    * nickel coated valve seats
    * hardened valves

    Fuel in Australia has various additives. Ethanol is rarely one of them as MTBE is cheaper. Safeway fuel is 10% MTBE, and normal unleaded has about 5% MTBE. Optimax and the like have a lot of detergents compared to most fuels, of which one of them is MTBE in a small quantity. You can get fuel composition details from the Shell, BP or mobile web sites.

    Ethanol is essentially an okay fuel for engines designed to cope with it, but I dislike the idea that it's being used to artificially prop up the ailing sugar industry. They should get out of the business and turn to less environmentally damaging, higher value crops using the buckets of cash the Govt gave them to get out of the industry.

    It's your engine, and it's out of warranty. Do you what you want.

    Andrew

    i found this on the caltex website

    i thought it may be of interest

    Oxygenates are not needed in Australian petrol because air pollution is less severe and will be reduced substantially by future fuel standards. No MTBE is added to petrol from Australian refineries although common in imports by "independent" importers. As a result, replacement of MTBE by ethanol is not an issue in Australia, even though its use will be effectively banned under federal fuel standards from 2004.
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    1 x '98 306 GTi6

    1 x secret project

    1 x '98 406 STDT troop carrier and i don't care if it stinks, i don't sniff it's arse Death by wank tank

    1 x '99 406SV 5spd wagon, time to burn more fuel

    1 x 1994 605 SV3.0


    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

  20. #20
    1000+ Posts Wildebeest's Avatar
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    Default The Ethanol debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by pugrambo
    so going by that if i just stick to the jets that are already in the car i may be a little under jetted

    but then maybe the jets could be ok for the amount of ethanol i plan on using so it will be a trial and error period

    for the price i am getting the stuff for i have nothing to lose really and if it doesn't work out then like i said i have a lifetime supply of it for the water injection to run pure ethanol in there
    Pugrambo,
    The jet size increases suggested would be to allow for the different flow characteristics. Surface tension. As a rough example your 130 mainjets would be 65 with ethanol, petrol mix running through them!
    I would visualize your domed pistons looking like 6 collapsed souffles after a run through your countryside.

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    Probably just after you crest the rise and see Cooma in sight...

    At least it's not far from there to the big wrecking yard in the mountains.

    'rambo, was this a Dorothy Dix question? You've provided more answers than anyone else!

    Oh, and if there's a major difference between Australian cane growing and Brazil, it would be that there's greater rainfall there.

    Now, getting back to the serious stuff... just 8-10 litres from a ton? Is that after sugar is removed for production and sale too?

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    Green, political, environmental and conspiracy theory issues aside, I have had some experience in running ethanol blends in motor vehicles.

    A couple of bog standard 6 Cyl Holdens.
    AR, (reagent grade) ethanol 4.5lt (2XWinchesters) per 60 lt leaded fuel.
    A little tinkering with the idle screw, (2 turns from base) and 11deg advance, (though more accurately done by ear).

    I would have to say that it difficult to tell if the fuel lines were rusted by the fuel or the fact that they were 25 years+ old. The usual recycling of fuel pumps/flexible lines and carbie re-builds.

    Tune using 5/8th and screw driver-6min.
    Change fuel pump, 10 min and $2 gasket, (pump free, I still have 1/2 a dozen in a bucket).
    Carbie re-built $12, 40 min and a 6-pack.

    The only noticeable affect was a slightly hotter running temp, (cooler spark plugs used, problem solved). These plugs were referred as the "Booze Plugs".


    I would not advise that Automotive grade Ethanol be used for human consumption, (or should that be humanoid), as the methanol content may be a bit on the high side, (up to 15%), not to mention the denaturing additives which I think are mandatory.

    However AR grade is another story--100% ethanol, (a spirit said to be over-proof is at least 57.1% ethanol).
    WARNING: do not drink straight-doing this will result in the water in the cells of your mouth lining being lyzed (ruptured due to moisture being sucked out of them), and the resulting blisters will take a week or so to heal. (Donít ask why I know).

    The Claude St flats (UNE) AR recipe:
    One 40lt garbage bin, (hopefully cleaned)
    To this add two Winchesters, (4.5lt) of AR grade Ethanol, (courtesy of the chemistry faculty),
    Two tins, (2x1Gal) of catering two fruits, (special thanks to the Rob College kitchens),
    1lt of pineapple juice concentrate.
    Three bags of servo ice,
    Water to taste, (approx 10lt).

    Stir, sit back on a milk-crate and enjoy.
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    Budding Architect ???? pugrambo's Avatar
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    i just want to know if anyone has run ethanol in their cars at all and what the results were good or bad

    it is supposed to raise the octane level but then other reports say you get reduced economy but will this reduced economy be offset enough by running the cheap supply of between 800 to 1200L of ethanol at around 20-25% in the tank

    now drag cars run methanol and yes i know they are limited life engines and also indy cars run ethanol but they are the same story as the drag cars but also remembering these cars are run at full noise for most of their short lives and they have pretty much every ounce of power pulled out of them so they are very stressed engines

    with an everyday normal engine though what are the benefits or pitfalls ?

    the cleansing properties of ethanol means fuel filters will need changing but what about things like internal engine wear or fuel consumption figures

    i'm a little confused that with getting a higher octane rating that a car will then return higher fuel consumption as i thought it was the other way around
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    WTD long range fuel tank for 605

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    I guess that's where the stoichometric characteristics come in... also the latent heat issue should make for cooler running if it's rich.

    Don't Indycars run on Methanol... or is that the same as Ethanol?

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    WLB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Bell
    I guess that's where the stoichometric characteristics come in... also the latent heat issue should make for cooler running if it's rich.

    Don't Indycars run on Methanol... or is that the same as Ethanol?
    Here are the rough basics. The numbers should be written as subscript.

    Methane, the main component in natural gas, is CH4. A carbon atom with 4 hydrogen atoms attached.

    Water is an oxygen atom with 2 hydrogen atoms attached. H2O or pictorially, H-O-H or H-OH.

    Remove one of methane's hydrogens and replace it with an -OH and you get methanol. CH3OH or CH3-OH. It's the alcohol of methane gas.

    Ethane is the next relative along the line. It has two carbons. Two carbons joined only leaves room for 3 hydrogen on each. Two methanes joined together. CH6 or CH3-CH3.

    Again take off one hydrogen and add the -OH to get ethanol. CH5OH or CH3-CH2-OH. (It's easier to show with drawings).

    So ethanol is the alcohol of the gas ethane.

    Methanol is toxic. Ethanol is not. We've been drinking diluted ethanol for thousands of years.

    Metho or methylated spirits was ethanol that had been "methylated" by the addition of a small amount of methanol. Why? To poison it and prevent it from being drunk. Why? Because governements traditionally extract excise or tax from alcoholic drink or potable spirits. To enable ethanol to be sold for non-drinking purposes without the tax added, it was poisoned. Methanol isn't generally used for the poisoning now. 30 years ago at Bundberg, they were using Shellite lighter fluid (whatever that petroleum product was), and I would imagine that now they are still using a petroleum product.

    Hope this helps.

    Warwick.

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