Sep 27th, 2007 by jbrown
I was reading through Kicking Tires, cars.com’s blog site, and realized alternative fuel is “this close”. My first thought was, give me a break the transition to anything would be massive and could be detrimental to our economy for quite some time. All of these scientists that think they have the answer don’t think about your everyday driver and what they will have to go through to jump on the alternative fuel bandwagon. Kicking Tires, in a way, agreed:
“The biomass-generated synfuel would work and act just like gasoline and, theoretically, could be used in regular gas-powered cars.”
“Theoretically” is right! There is still no proof any of this actually would work. Why do these people keep toying with us about cheaper prices with alternative fuel when there is still a chance we will be shelling out thousands of dollars just to keep up with the times.
Synfuel is commonly used in military applications, many new companies and researchers are using biomass to create synthetic fuel instead of using non-renewable resources. Biomass is what would also fuel cellulosic ethanol. So why go the synfuel route? Ethanol only produces 85% of the energy of gasoline and requires retrofitting pipelines, gas stations and car engines.
For ethanol to be suitable for use as a replacement to petrol in its pure form, it must be distilled to at least 70-80% purity by volume. For use as an additive to petrol, almost all water must be removed, otherwise it will separate from the mixture and settle to the bottom of the fuel tank, causing the fuel pump to draw water into the engine, which will cause the engine to stall. Today, almost 50% of Brazilian cars are able to use 100% ethanol as fuel, which includes ethanol-only engines and flex-fuel engines. Flex-fuel engines are able to work with all ethanol, all gasoline, or any mixture of both, giving the buyer a choice for a perfect balance between price and performance. That was possible only due to the capability of efficient sugar cane production.
So the choice is yours, believe that alternative fuel is just never going to happen or just hope that after you pay thousands to convert your tank like the Brazilians it will be “This Close”.