Alcohol- and gasohol-fuels: a comparative chamber study of photochemical ozone formation. Pedro Afonso de P. Volatile organic compounds VOC play a significative role on the process of formation of photochemical smog. In urban areas, vehicle fuels constitute an important source of VOC and NOx emissions to the atmosphere, either by burning or evaporative losses. In each one, two Teflon chambers were filled, respectively, with each fuel, at high initial [VOC] to [NO] ratios and exposed to the sunlight.
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That, of course, is a nonsensical prospect and a bit unfair. Even the most avid proponents of gasohol, the experimental fuel that has captured national attention, offer it as merely a supplement. But a more immediate drag on the promise of gasohol is that, given the present state of technology, it takes appreciably more energy to produce alcohol than it could possibly save as gasohol.
Across the nation, increasing numbers of motorists are adding the fuel to their tanks with the promise of more miles per gallon, better engine performance and, for the country, less dependence on imports of foreign oil. Ethyl Alcohol From Beer and Wine. The alcohol used in gasohol is ethyl alcohol, the type contained in beer, wine and distilled spirits. Relatively little ethyl alcohol is made as a separate product, however. In fact, the alcohol produced in fermenting beer or distilling liquors accounts for the great bulk of the ethyl alcohol produced.
Very little is left for gasohol. According to specialists in the alcohol, automotive and gasoline industries, the alcohol industry can currently produce only a tiny fraction of what a thoroughgoing, nationwide gasohol program would require.
Among energy specialists, it is generally agreed that to produce one gallon of ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, requires at least one gallon of oil, or its equivalent in natural gas, and probably much more. At best, that results merely in the substitution of one form of energy for another, with no real gain for the national economy and no less dependence on petroleum imports.
Lee of Union Carbide added. Energy is needed to operate the fermentation process as well as to distill the alcohol, Mr.
Lee said, and at present there is no foreseeable technological breakthrough that would alter the energy equation. In fact, the alcohol industry itself turns to a petroleum byproducf, ethylene, to produce a cheaper form of alcohol, ethynol. Gasohol could be made from ethynol, which would make the new fuel cheaper at the pump, but inasmuch as ethynol is made from oil rather than from the fermentation of grain, corn or other agricultural products high in sugar or carbohydrates, it does not qualify for Federal price supports.
Both products are almost three times the wholesale price of a gallon of gasoline. Lee, who is product manager for ethynol at Union Carbide, said that currently Carbide makes million gallons of ethynol a year out of ethylene, the petroleum byproduct, but the company makes no kind of alcohol from fermentation because of the difference in production costs.
Before the fermentation process could become more practical, Mr. Union Carbide's production is for such industrial applications as coating solvents, cosmetics, toiletries, pharmaceuticals and cleaning preparations. The bulk of its alcohol is produced in the world's largest alcohol production plant, in Texas City, Tex.
The industry as a whole produces about million gallons of ethynol a year from the synthetic hydration of ethylene. This compares with million gallons a year of ethanol from the fermentation of corn, sugar, wheat and other agricultural products. Of that million, all but about million gallons is produced in beer, wine and stronger alcoholic beverages.
Gasohol presents a new market for that million gallons, which at present has various industrial uses. To put this output in context, if the nation were to replace 10 percent of the billion gallons of gasoline it consumes annually, it would require the production of 10 billion gallons of ethanol, or times current available levels.
With present techniques, it takes at least a bushel of corn to produce a gallon of ethanol. In , a record year for corn, farmers produced only 6. Although General Motors, Chrysler and American Motors have told gasohol buyers that the use of the fuel will not affect their automobiles warranties, General Motors questions the claim that gasohol provides 5 percent more miles per gallon than regular unleaded gasoline and that it does nothing but good things for an engine.
Studies by the General Motors Corporation indicate that a fleet of cars running at 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent regular unleaded gasoline showed no appreciable change in mileage.
There were also indications the alcohol caused minor damage to engine gaskets. Among those testing the gasohol market is Publicker Industries, which has a current ethanol production capacity of 15 million gallons. It says it could go to 60 million gallons a year by expanding production at its plants in Philadelphia and by reactivating its facility in Louisiana.
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Ethyl Alcohol From Beer and Wine The alcohol used in gasohol is ethyl alcohol, the type contained in beer, wine and distilled spirits. Home Page World U.
Gasohol: The Issue Is Practicality
Ethanol raises the octane rating of lead-free automobile fuel and significantly decreases the carbon monoxide released from tailpipes. It has also been promoted as a means of reducing corn surpluses. By , 2. However, ethanol also raises the vapor pressure of gasoline, and it has been reported to increase the release of "evaporative" volatile hydrocarbons from the fuel system and oxides of nitrogen from the exhaust. These substances are components of urban smog , and thus the role of ethanol in reducing pollution is controversial.
In this work we demonstrate efficient quality control of a variety of gasoline and ethanol gasohol blends using a multimode interference MMI fiber sensor. The operational principle relies on the fact that the addition of ethanol to the gasohol blend reduces the refractive index RI of the gasoline. Since MMI sensors are capable of detecting small RI changes, the ethanol content of the gasohol blend is easily determined by tracking the MMI peak wavelength response. The sensor can also distinguish when water incorporated in the blend has exceeded the maximum volume tolerated by the gasohol blend, which is responsible for phase separation of the ethanol and gasoline and could cause serious engine failures. Since the MMI sensor is straightforward to fabricate and does not require any special coating it is a cost effective solution for real time and in-situ monitoring of the quality of gasohol blends.