26 total posts
You mean like in the 80s...
when we broke the Arab oil cartel by drilling?
Wouldn't want to do that again.
Look, you can produce all the ethanol and sell as much as you want. Go ahead, starve the world. Why should my taxes pay for that boondoggle?
"If we fall for this a second time....
then we are stupid."
Why? What awful thing happened the first time? Low priced gas and an end to lines at the pump?
If we fail to develop our own resources, THAT will be stupid.
uses more energy to make it real good idea if your an oil country that were buying from
wheres the food that we make ethanol from?i guess people can make bread, feed it to cattle
Something hits me...
To distill ethanol, the mash must be raised to a temperature of above 172 degrees F, the temperature at which ethanol vaporizes. It must be held there for a while. This takes a lot of energy. From where does that energy come?
But that's just half of the battle, the vapors must be cooled down to turn them into a liquid. This too takes energy, and a lot of it, consider the energy held in steam. Anybody who has had a steam burn will appreciate this energy.
makes more sense than ethanol production
problem is it's only useful in diesel engines and Americans prefer gasoline engines which can run ethanol.
Use solar distillation
Notice the maximum achievable temperature at stagnation. Even with a slow flow rate any additional heat needed wouldn't add that much more constant cost to the equation. Distillation could be done "all solar". Lowering Standard flow rates to half can distill 50 gallons per 20 sq ft unit per 8 hour period of strong sunlight. What is the concentration of alcohol in the mash? If 5% then 2.5 to 3 gallons of fuel per solar collector can be distilled per 8 hour period of strong sunlight. The period of day between 9am and 5pm should be entirely sufficient in full sunlight. This is just standard solar heat panels. If their power was increased by use of angled mirrors on the side then higher temps and greater efficiency can be obtained for distillation purposes. Have a computer system to maintain perfect center on sun as it moves across the sky and even more efficiency. Solar distillation is a very real possibility, especially during hot summer days in full sunlight, where the ambient air temp gives added support to the system.
Would you use...
Would you heat water or some other liquid and then use loop it into a mash heating tank? Fermenting mash builds up pressure if the fermentation is done in a closed fermenting tank. Looping a pipe through the tank would let you vent the CO2 in the tank itself.
Cooling the mash for condensation is another matter. I guess you could do a big cooling tower arrangement like with nuclear reactors. Boy, I'd hate to have the job of cleaning those pipes after the mash had run through them for a while (grin).
solar heat exchanger water heaters
I could see using a reverse system utilizing a Rheem heat exchanger water heater where the distilled fluid/gas goes through the internal coils and cool water is run through the tank which surrounds the coils.
A pressure relief valve should keep some pressure but bleed off excess pressure in a mash. My idea would be complete the fermentation, then do the distilling through the solar heater panels, collect the result in an expanding tank where the gas under pressure is pushed to the condensor, and the fluid of mostly water goes back down to next tank prepared for mash.
You can use salt or lye to remove water from alcohol. Want to try an expirament? Take some rubbing alcohol, put in a few drops of food dye (I like blue) then add some salt and shake, add more salt as needed till you see a separation occur. The salty water will be pulled out of solution by the salt and the clear fluid that remains on top is above 95% pure alcohol. If you have a test tube, or one of the small tubes you can get with a fish tank PH tester you can easily do the experiment.
What's the purpose of that? It's recyclable method of drying out the alcohol where the water can be evaporated by the sun, leaving behind the salt to be used over and over again. Lye begins to decay into sodium carbonate, then sodium bicarbonate over time.
Why dry it?
Why dry it? At 172 F the ethanol vapor comes off. The water stays behind if you keep the temperature below 212 F. The ethanol vapor will condense to 200 proof (100 percent). Bear in mind, 200 proof ethanol is highly hygroscopic and will absorb water out of the air rapidly running the poof down to 190 or below.
What I've read in the past says it takes 2 distillations to get close to 90% value. The higher quality ethanol you can put in a tank the more BTU per gallon you can achieve. Remember, 85 ethanol isn't that and water, but the other 15% is gasoline. Should get close to 100% as possible for best performance in an engine. Chemical binding of the water which then can be titrated out is the easiest method I know. I've read some suggest filtering the distillate through corn "grits" since it will absorb water, but not alcohol. The moistened grits then can be used for cattle feed.
Yes, and it takes much more energy....
...that the ethanol it yields will produce. Energy wise it's a negative yield so they have to subsidize it at taxpayer expense in order for the ethanol producers just to break even. It's really a lose-lose by the time we pay for it to break even and then pay more for everything else because of the increased energy cost for transportation. Maybe the pro-ethanol crowd will volunteer to pay extra taxes so the rest of us don't have to subsidize their fantasy.
I wish somebody from Jack Daniels or George Dickel posted here. They might have some figures on hand about the energy cost of producing ethanol. I think that they run it off at 190 proof.
maybe this will help.
Well, it did say...
It's a little bit to go through, but I did find the statement "But since the energy given by burning is also higher for higher product concentration, the energy-in to energy-out ratio is rather constant up to about 93 percent.".
then maybe no need to dry it out.
Pot stills are less efficient than that method, which is probably why two distillations are done to achieve the same in them.
But that's only a fraction of the required energy
You have to count all the energy that goes into planting, maintaining and harvesting the crop too. Imagine taking the ethanol produced from 1 acre of land and trying to run all the farmer's equipment to produce that acre of material that ethanol comes from and then distilling it. There's a reason the farmer isn't using ethanol to run his equipment, there'd be none left to sell.
this thread untracked
means, "I've had my say and now will ignore any responses". So, beyond posting this, I will ignore responding.
Does anyone track threads?
I never do. I really don't need my inbox crammed with useless notifications. It's not that hard to follow what's going on.
I do sometimes in the technical forums
Since I only go there rarely anymore, I will put those on tracking to finish up the help thread. I don't track any Speakeasy ones.
Perhaps it whould be used more often.
Correction...Perhaps it SHOULD be used more often
Ethanol as a fuel is like a vitamin supplement
to the improperly nourished. It cannot replace good nutrition but might help at times when your diet is out of balance. It's not a cure for the energy crunch.
We'll be right back here doing this all over again if we drill that oil, just like we did in the eighties. In fact essentially these are the same people saying the same thing again. If we fall for this a second time then we are stupid.
Actually, that won't happen. If you haven't noticed, there's a huge effort in the private sector (where it belongs) to develop fuel cells, better batteries for electric cars, etc. This effort is just part, IMO, of a total energy strategy which includes solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear sources, especially in the generation of electricity.
Mohammed Reza Palavi, the last Shah of Iran, once famously noted that "oil is far too valuable to just burn." He was right; look around you, Critic, and note the clothes you wear, the cleaning substances you use, the plastics in your home - all of which are produced in whole or in part from oil. Add to that the fertilizers that helped put food on your table, the industrial chemicals that people used to produce the things you own and even the "rubber" products you use - between 30 - 80% synthetic polymers depending on the application - and you'll reach one simple conclusion: For the foreseeable future (20 - 40 years, and maybe longer), oil will continue to be essential to a modern industrialized economy, even if not one more drop is burned.
As for ethanol: Given the present state of the technological art, I can't see any use for a fuel that produces only 80% of the thermal energy of gasoline per volume, can't be shipped by pipeline, raises food prices across the board and can only be "competitive" in the marketplace with total Federal subsidies of over $1.00/gallon. a good analysis can be found at http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/car_shopping/green_machines/tech_stuff_ethanol_promises_feature . Now there are signs that the production of cellulosic ethanol, which uses materials other than foodstuffs as its raw material, may yet be possible. See http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/environment/2008-01-13-gm-ethanol-coskata_N.htm . And let's not forget the U.S.' 500-plus year supply of coal, which we can now process with minimal pollution.
All these technologies are needed until we determine which will survive in the marketplace. Since we use most of our fossil fuels in the production of electricity, I believe that the new tech needs to be directed in the direction of weaning us off the oil/gas/coal model of electric generation first, while seeking more domestic oil reserves to employ; I'm tired of our sending $700 billion to people who just don't like us and then take some of the proceeds to fund those who would kill us.
I'm not sure why you think biofuels are that great
Even some green leaders are now starting to say that biofuels create more problems than they solve. As an example... I have been watching this new "green" channel on Directv (it is basically a feel good, pat yourself on the back channel for affluent yuppies who want to remodel their homes). Some of their interview shows are starting to have green movement representatives saying in public that biofuels are not working as expected with the present sources for the fuel.
Unless the US was to start using biomass like saw grass or hemp for the fuel source, instead of grains... biofuel simply raises the cost of food and takes dinner out of the poorest of the worlds stomaches.