Question : Is gasohol a viable alternative to conventional petrol mixtures for cars?
l The development of near to mid-term strategies for lowering our dependence on foreign imported oil and natural gas is a major energy need of most of the countries and the damage caused to environment.
l Displacing such imports with renewable domestic energy sources is a strategy that has generated significant popular and legislative interest.
l Gasohol currently has become a focus of national attention.
2) Chemical background
l Gasohol is also known as E10 and it is made up of 10 percent of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) and 90 percent of unleaded gasoline.
l Ethanol is a type of alcohol which is made from starch crops such as corn, wheat or sugar cane. The byproducts generated from the production of wood or grass products also can produce ethanol. One bushel of corn can produce 2.5 gallons of ethanol.
l Bat droppings include bacteria that can help to make gasohol.
l Brazil, the largest ethanol producer in the whole wide world, claims that gasohol as 24 percent of alcohol and 76 percent of gasoline. Its ethanol is made from sugar cane.
l Higher percentage of vehicles that manufactured in the United States are using gasohol as a fuel. It is true to say that most vehicles manufactured today can use up to 10 percent of ethanol gasoline.
l Flexible fuel or vehicles, or FFVs, can use an even higher percentage of ethanol as fuel.
l Vehicles like cars have been able to use gasohol since 30 years ago.
l In 1923, Standard oil was experimenting with what would eventually come to be known gasohol. However, ethanol and gasohol fell out as fuels due to increasing of pressure from the oil industry.
l Until the energy crisis in year 1973, the country renewed its interest in inventing a gasohol-powered car. The energy crisis has shown the disadvantages of depending on foreign sources of energy and mentioned that ethanol and gasohol were less expensive if it were to compare with gasoline.
3) Advantages and disadvantages
l A) Complete combustion and engine power
Alcohols can burn more completely and thus increasing the potential combustion energy which will produce the most power.
l B) Engine runs smoothly
When alcohol is mixed with gasoline, alcohol tends to increase the octane rating and reduce emission of carbon monoxide.
l C) Stabilization of agricultural income and fuel economy
(Ⅰ)The use of gasohol also reduces the need on foreign oil production.
(Ⅱ)Ethanol can improve the agricultural economies by providing farmers with a stable income for particular crops such as maize and sugar beets.
l D) Renewable energy
The main advantage of using gasohol and fuels with even greater percentages of ethanol is that ethanol is a renewable energy while gasoline is not.
l E) Environmental friendly
Burning gasohol is cleaner and less harmful to the environment than burning straight gasoline.
l F) Safe to be used
Ethanol is renewable and very safe fuel that can be used with different engine modifications.
l G) Higher density
Ethanol has higher density in energy than some other alternative fuels, which means less volume is required to reach the same distance.
l I) Prevent overheating
Ethanol burns cooler than gasoline, so it prevents engine valves from burning.
l A) Corrosiveness
Alcohol may corrode certain materials which are used in engines. It can also cause injury or physical harm if it is used wrongly.
l B) Emission of aldehydes, evaporative and nitrogen oxides.
(Ⅰ)Gasohol increases the emissions of aldehydes which are reactive and it will probably bring smog problems.
(Ⅱ)Despite the new emissions are less reactive and will not contribute significantly to photochemical smog, it will also increases evaporative emissions.
(Ⅲ) It may increase the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOX) as well. The degree to which emissions increase are depending on the vehicle and emission control technology used.
l C) The cost
Ethanol is too expensive to be produced and used.
In my opinion, I think that gasohol is a viable alternative to conventional petrol mixtures for cars.