Flexible Fuels Explained
The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), a nationwide trade association for the ethanol industry comprised of grassroots members from 43 states, notes that the term ethanol means different things to different people. Because of the way the terminology is used, two misunderstandings frequently arise: people mistakenly believe it takes a special car to run on ethanol and that ethanol is only available at a few gas stations in the Midwest.
"Every single automobile on the road today is ethanol-capable," said Brian Jennings, ACE Executive Vice President. "All vehicles can operate on a 10 percent blend of ethanol with gasoline, and Flexible Fuel Vehicles can use E85, an alternative fuel containing 85 percent ethanol."
Ron Lamberty, ACE Vice President
/ Market Development, added that ethanol is much more widespread
than many people realize. "Ethanol-blended
fuel is available at thousands and thousands of America's
gas stations, literally from coast to coast. E85, the alternative
fuel that is 85 percent ethanol, is available at a smaller number
of stations and that figure is growing very quickly." Biodiesel is an alternataive fuel not to be confused with ethanol. Biodiesel is produced from products like soybean oil and chicken fat.
It is important to distinguish between three common terms associated with Ethanol:
Ethanol, Gasohol, and "E85" "Ethanol 100" (100 percent strength)
ethanol produced at one of 90-plus ethanol production facilities across the
United States. This pure ethanol is blended in various percentages with unleaded
gasoline to make a finished motor fuel, the most common blends being 10 percent
and 85 percent. The Indianapolis 500 will soon bring new attention to using
Ethanol as a race fuel in the 2007 race.
In the drag racing circuit, 100% Methanol is
used in the dragsters and funny cars in the "Top Fuel" class. Begining
with the 90th Indy 500 ( 2006 race season ), the IndyCar race series began a process to transition from Methanol to Ethanol race fuel. The 2007 Indy 500 will be run on E100 - 100% Ethanol race fuel.
Gasohol (10% Ethanol Blend)
Ethanol blended gasoline or Gasohol is a mixture of gasoline and ethanol. Gasohol contains 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. Gasohol can be used in vehicle engines that use gasoline. Since 1988, all vehicles sold in the United States and Canada have been approved to use Gasohol.
Gasohol is considered to have positive environmental effects. Studies show that using gasohol, instead of regular gasoline, reduces carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by as much as 17 percent, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 4.2 percent, and hydrocarbon emissions by 5 percent. Furthermore using Gasohol also reduces emissions of benzene (a known carcinogen) and 1,3 butadiene. The downside of Gasohol use can be increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and aldehydes. The degree to which emissions increase depends on the vehicle and emission control technology used.
E85 (85% Ethanol Blend)
E85 is a mixture of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol. E85 can be used in vehicle engines that have been modified for the fuel. Some of the major automobile manufacturers offer some of their vehicle models as "flexible fuel vehicles" that can detect whether E85, gasohol or gasoline is placed in the tank and adjust themselves accordingly. The benefits of using this fuel include reduced greenhouse gas emissions of up to 37.1% and reduced emissions of some air pollutants (notably particulate matter, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides).
Ethanol Blended Diesel Fuel
Ethanol blended diesel fuel is a mixture of ethanol and diesel fuel. The ratio of these two fuel components varies with the manufacturer. In addition, a co-solvent is added to allow for the diesel to mix with the ethanol. The fuel E-Diesel that is currently being used in a pilot project of Husky Energy Ltd., Octel-Starreon/AAE, and Winnipeg Transit combines 91.5 percent diesel fuel, 7.5 percent ethanol, and 1 percent co-solvent. Currently ethanol blended diesel fuel is used by a variety of users in the United States and Europe. This alternative fuel is not the same as BioDiesel.
The benefits of using this fuel include a 3 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and reduced emissions of some air pollutants (notably particulate matter, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides). At the moment there are no gas stations that sell ethanol blended diesel fuel. In a few years we may see it marketed to large fleet users such as transit systems and highway transport trucks.
Propane has along history as a fuel and is widely known as the fuel for the backyard grill and heating the water. Propane is a renewable fuel derived from refining crude oil and natural gas and can be an effective fuel for cars and trucks. Propane is also known as LPG - Liquid Propane Gas as it is stored and transferred under pressure causing the gas to become a liquid.
Fuel from Algae Oil
In 2006, the dusty town of Anthony Texas had little more going for it than being a New Mexico border town and an alfalfa field. This Dusty Texas Town recently became the home of a new and developing technology and oddly enough, it's dependent on water. The old saying "Everything is bigger in Texas" doesn't tell the whole story when it comes to the Vertigro alternative fuel laboratory being constructed there. The dry stretch of land in West Texas might seem like the last place to study anything that lives in water, but the effort is based on more than just a new idea.