Alternate Fuels Essay Research Paper Jennifer Allers — страница 4

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vehicles include the following, “instead of a carburetor, new engines use vaporizers which inject atomized alcohol fuel into a chamber [modern fuel injectors] mixing its water content in the alcohol [more uniformly],” (Mazzone, 59). Vehicles running on 100% alcohol and no gasoline can have water included in the alcohol. Fuel-flexible vehicles running on a alcohol and gasoline blend use use anhydrous alcohol, (Grammer, 10). GM has adopted the following modifications to all alcohol burning vehicles. A stainless steel fuel tank, flame arrestors to prevent ignition of methanol vapors in fuel tanks of their new VFV, (variable fuel vehicle). This vehicle can operate on 100% alcohol, 100% gasoline, or any combination in between. Stainless steel multipoint fuel injectors for greater

flow of methanol, an oxide coated, anodized fuel injector rail conveying fuel from hose to injectors, a high output fuel pump, high fluorine fuel hoses to resist chemical activity, anodized fuel pressure regulator housings to increase alcohol flow, and a fuel sensor, again for VFV’s, to determine the mix of methanol, ethanol, and / or gasoline to ensure proper and optimum air to fuel ratio, (O&GJ, 24). Finally, again a limiting factor is the distribution system in the U.S., hailed as an excellent reason not to convert to methanol. Brazil did it in just 10 years, most of that conversion taking place in one year, so this argument is not viable. Currently there is no reason to install alcohol pumps because of the lack of alcohol powered vehicles, (Mazzone, 59). Methanol

certainly is a feasible alternative fuel. Ethanol, which is very similar to methanol, can be used in all of the same ways as its close cousin, with all of the same drawbacks and advantages. The only differences to discuss are production of ethanol versus methanol, and drawbacks concerning this process. Brazil has been powering vehicles with ethanol since the seventies. The decision was made to switch from gasoline to ethanol quickly by the government due to rising cost (1973) and dependence on gasoline importation, (Grammer, 10). Any argument that a conversion to alcohol fuel would be too difficult, or too expensive need only look at Brazil who made the conversion in less than one decade. Drawbacks? Yes, the first being cost. An ethanol powered vehicle is on average 10% more

expensive than a gasoline powered vehicle. This 10% difference can be offset by the government in tax incentives as it has been in Brazil. Cost of converting existing vehicles to a VFV fuel is $250 in Brazil. Ford sells kits in Brazil at this price for just such a purpose, (Grammer, 11). Pollution: Pollution is another problem. Pollution not from the ethanol combustion, but from the ethanol synthesis. Sugar cane is the ethanol producer in Brazil, and it must be fermented to produce ethanol. Any sugar containing vegetable can be used, for instance, sorghum, sugar beets, cassava, corn, eucalyptus, and potatoes, (Grammer, 10). In Brazil, “one ton of sugar cane not only produces 18.5 gallons of alcohol, but also 240.5 gallons of vinasse and 594 lb of bagasse.” If these byproducts

are discharged into the rivers of Brazil, in less than four years, “one quarter of the world’s freshwater system could be killed,” (Mazzone, 60). These byproducts need not and are not discharged to water though. Vinasse is concentrated and used as animal feed and as a fertilizer. Bagasse is piped right back into boilers to fuel the ethanol distilleries; thus one byproduct is used as food and the other as fuel, leaving no byproducts, (Mazzone, 60). A Brazilian land owner with more than 60 acres can produce enough cane to produce electric for his house and fuel one vehicle, (Grammer, 12). All byproducts can be used to fertilize crops and power the home plant. Ethanol is certainly a viable and feasible alternative fuel in Brazil, but is it in the U.S.? Not as much so as

methanol. The U.S. is incapable of producing crops to the needed extent to fuel all of its vehicles on ethanol alone as in Brazil. Blended fuels are a possibility, and already the fuel we buy contains 10% or less ethanol. Gasohol, as it is called, already allows the U.S. to save two gallons of petroleum for every gallon of ethanol used, due to the 100% octane rating and high efficiency, as much as 40% to even 50% compared to today’s 10 % to 30% efficient gasoline fueled vehicles. Ethanol and methanol can also be combined as well as derived from biomass and natural gas sources. Ethanol is therefore a feasible alternative fuel in the U.S.. Electric Power: Electric powered vehicles also qualify as alternatively powered vehicles. Three types of vehicles are currently being