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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-09, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Default Alternate fuel?

Iwas just reading the"Tidbit about GW executive pay" or what not, and I think the problem for price increases comes not from GW but the dependence on oil as a fuel. I believe that a new renewable fuel source like a pure grain alcohol would be far better than gasoline. Most people only want to bitch about CO2 emmissions when it comes to alcohol as a fuel, but if you look at cars today you'd see all the pointless things that we have put on them to "correct" the pollution problem. Catalytic converters are completely useless, all they do is reduce carbon monoxide emmissions into carbon dioxide. But in doing so they consume more fuel than without one, and the computer systems on newer vehicles do not a car to run properly (if at all) without one. If there is a way to trap the CO2 emmitted from the combustion of alcohol and use it for things like fire extinguishers and other CO2 powered devices then why not use grain alcohol? What are your thoughts?

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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-09, 05:25 PM
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Problem with grain alcohol is that to grow it means, you aren't growing other stuff like say food.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-09, 07:08 PM
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-14-09, 11:23 PM
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The problem that we have currently with biofuels is that it's so inefficent that the energy it takes to grow, convert to fuel and then distribute that fuel is almost as much as what you can get from that batch in the form of fuel, and said process releases more CO2 emmisions then are currently produce by the drilling for and use of petrolium, and it is really expensive to boot which is why the ethanol movement is opposed by most envrionmental groups and supported mainly by the corn farmer lobby. Work is being done using bioengineered algea which is much more efficent, but it will be a while till that's a viable option and it'll take a massive infastructure overhaul to distribute it.

I support a movement to electric cars with much more efficent design as a more short/medium term solution. It's true that much of our electricity comes from coal, but expansion of renewable energy can make the use of electrical cars cleaner then our current vehicles and the move to electric cars will require less drastic infrastructure changes. Also the increase of design efficecy is something that really needs working on. The Aptera Motor company has a hybrid which gets around 300 mpg rolling out this year and the design is so efficent that even running strictly on it's gas motor it still gets around 125-150 mpg.

Hopefully in the future we can make a long term tranistion to something like hydrogen or advance biofuel as our main source of energy, but that's decades off from now.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-09, 03:33 AM
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A friend of mine told me the Earth doesn't have enough land mass to create the amount of proper grains and what not to make bio-fuels and alcohol based fuels and so on. Maybe if we( the human race) put our minds to it we could grow a lot of our food for major cities on roof tops like they proposed in new York and build giant tiers to hold great amounts of this stuff maybe we could go a little better in the direction of bio-fuels and bio-run cars.

*Problem* Electric cars would also be good but how are we going to create enough electricity without using bloody coal and oil and other polluting power plants to make it, which over time is going to do a lot of harm to the air. I saw a scientist say the reason the Earth is warming so fast is because the Earth is tilting or soemthing like that at a different angle causing it to warm up the way it is and melt the Ice-caps faster. Pollution isn't outright the main cause( though it doesn't damn well help either).

But things will change, we went a long way from being nomads and stuff so I try to remain optimistic....


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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-09, 08:37 AM
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Well the point is with an expansion of solar, wind and geothermal tech (hydro's pretty much at it's effective limit for now) and an increase in efficency will render electric cars cleaner then petrol even with coal power thrown in.

While the tilting of the Earth is not confirimed as a source of warming (whether or not it's tilting enough, not that whether or not it could warm the Earth) , CO2 is certainly a major contributer.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-09, 12:49 PM
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Or atleast we like to think CO2 is a contributer.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-15-09, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Well I LOVE my internal combustion engines (I'm a motor head trying to restore a 68 Firebird), but what was said about not having enough grains and what not, its not really true as anything that will ferment can be used to make an alcohol that can be used in a combustion engine with modifications. Basically we could turn food scraps and trash into alcohol and use as fuel.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-09, 05:41 AM
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actually the solution comes (in the short term anyway) in engineering rather than the fuels.

the best way to solve this is to improve the other systems of the vehicle.

conventional car breaks rub on the disc slightly all the time - waste
they convert Ke into heat - waste
batterys need charging - lost motive power
wheel bearings have quite a high friction - waste
all the bits of trim and panel gaps cause aero losses - waste


the way to see us for the next 50 years at least is to start producing lighter vehicles, cars have got way too heavy. a lot of this is from the extras added on to the vehicle, when you next get in your car take a look at all the extra crap thats added on to your vehicle and question if you really need it?
(for the uk guys, oz or SA is a bit different here) do you really need air con?
what about power steering? if its less than a ton then i bet you dont.
what about your heated electric adjust seats?
also something to remember is a lighter car is a faster car that turns better, i for one will take that over air con anyday.
for comparison a mk1 fiesta is about 850kg and a new one is close to the weight of my bmw.

the aerodynamics of some of the new cars out atm is shocking, much could be improved there (and i know some of it is new pedestrian safety stuff but come on a ton of steel is going to kill you any way, looking left and right wont.) flat fronts need smoothing, grills need reducing and slats to air air flow. the under body of some new cars could improve lots. simple things but free efficiency.

electrical systems dont need an alternator anymore. regenerative breaking and a new solar covering is capable of doing the job (technically) free for us now.

this is a ramble, iv been up all night, ill sort it out later.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-16-09, 05:59 AM
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I think that people should develop hydrogen fuel cells. I mean if thay did that you have an engine that runs on WATER and doesnt release all these pollutants. Problem is, they dont know how to store the hydrogen( small, even for molecules).

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