The Ethanol Fuel Primer: What Every Car Owner Should Know

If you have ever called your car a “gas guzzler” in the same way you sometimes call a friend a “beer guzzler”, when it comes to ethanol fuel, you may be more correct that you mean to be. Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is the same substance you’ll find in alcoholic beverages. Fuel made from ethanol happens to be very efficient for your car’s engine as well as environmentally friendly. Some people also call it the “bio fuel” because it leaves a smaller carbon footprint compared to other fuel variants. Before getting ahead of the topic though, the production process of fuel made from ethanol should first be discussed.

How it’s made

There are three basic steps in the production of ethanol fuel. They are (1) fermentation, (2) distillation, and (3) dehydration. These will be discussed further in the section below:

Fermentation – In a nutshell, ethanol is produced when sugar undergoes microbial fermentation. The sugar and starch components of plants are processed or systematically aged to form what we now know as ethanol.

Distillation – After fermenting ethanol, water is distilled or removed from the substance. This makes the ethanol more concentrated or more pure. The purity of the ethanol, however , can only be maximized to 96%. This almost-pure ethanol is called hydrous ethanol. While it is not completely pure yet, it can be used as fuel.

Dehydration – to remove the remaining water and make it an even more efficient energy source, though, some manufacturers dehydrate the substance further. However, some environmentally conscious producers think that the distillation process could be skipped because the dehydration process basically does the same thing, which is to remove water.

Most ethanol fuel manufacturers go straight to dehydrating. They do this by letting the substance pass through molecular sieve beds. This is the newest technology in acquiring ethanol and is proving to be more efficient than the older process called extractive distillation.

Ethanol Fuel Facts

Before using ethanol on your vehicle, you may want to take note of some facts first:

• Fuel made from ethanol is usually used on cars although today, a lot of other vehicles are able to run on this fuel type too. Examples are trucks, tractors used in farms, airplanes or tractors. Before using the fuel, though, check if the engine of your machine or vehicle is ethanol-based. There are also different blends for this fuel variant. To avoid clogging and/or engine malfunction, make sure you’re using the right concentration.

• Ethyl Alcohol fuel is designed for engines which release more power and torque. It’s certainly one of the most efficient renewable energy sources today.

• There are three common types of ethyl alcohol fuel, and they are the E10, E15, and E85. E10 fuels have 10% ethanol content, and E15 fuels have 15% ethanol content. There are other variants including the E30, E100, and E75, all of which have the last two numerical digits indicating its ethanol content. The most successful, though, is the E85 with 85% ethyl alcohol. These are used for pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans or “flex fuel vehicles”.

E85 and flex fuel vehicles

E85 ethyl alcohol fuel is a mix of gasoline and 85% denatured ethanol. It is one of the world’s cleanest fuels, and its use is encourages most especially in the USA and in Europe. The E85 is used on what are called flex fuel vehicles to lower the risk of global warming. The carbon footprint of the E85 is the smallest. It is also the most efficient in power production.

FFV or flex fuel engines have internal combustion systems. They are designed to run on more than one type of fuel. They are also called hybrids, although not all hybrids run on E85. Some run on other renewable energies. While the use of FFVs or fuel flexible vehicles are encourages across the USA, the environmental cause is concentrated in California.

Ethanol Fuel Advantages And Disadvatages - - Thinking of using alcohol fuel? Don’t make a decision without weighing its pros and cons. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of ethanol fuel.

E85 Octane Rating - - Before using ethanol as a biofuel, make sure you know everything there is to know about it. One of the most important measures of the power that ethanol can provide is its E85 octane rating.

DIY Ethanol Fuel - - Save money and make your own ethanol fuel at home. Here are the necessary steps on making your fuel.

Ethanol Conversion Kits For Cars - - Looking for ways to save the environment? Start with your car. Use clean fuel by converting your car into a green car using ethanol conversion kits for cars.

Motorcycle - - Enjoy your rides even more by making your motorcycle friendlier and less harmful to the environment. Here are the facts on converting to an ethanol motorcycle.

Ethanol Corrosion - - Be informed about the dangers of ethanol corrosion. Here’s what you need to know to protect your car against it.

Ethanol Purification By Distillation - - Ever wonder how ethanol is purified? Since ethanol is created as a mixture, it has to be purified through a distillation process. Here’s how it works.

DIY Ethanol Fireplace - - Setting up an ethanol fireplace is the best way to set up a fireplace minus the hassle of constructing a chimney and buying logs. Here’s a guide on how to set up an ethanol fireplace by yourself.

Historical Prices - - Find out how much ethanol costs and get insight on the trends and factors that affect the price of ethanol. Here are some accurate information on historical ethanol prices.

Ethanol Subsidies History - - The relationship between the government and the ethanol industry has always been favorable. The government not only supported, but subsidized the industry for years. Here’s the whole story behind it.

Ethanol Generator - - Are you looking for an eco-friendly way of generating electricity? Why don’t you try an ethanol generator? Here’s some important information about ethanol powered generators.

Ethanol in Gasoline Problems - - Make sure you are well informed about the problems that ethanol in gasoline can cause to your car. Find out what automobile experts are worried about and how to guard against them.

Phase Separation Of Ethanol - - Are you thinking of using ethanol fuel? Read up on the phase separation of ethanol fuel so you will be informed about the problems involved in using alcohol fuel.

Combustion Equation - - Do you want a scientific explanation as to why ethanol is a great choice for an eco-friendly renewable fuel source? Check out ethanol’s combustion equation to find out exactly what happens when your car burns ethanol instead of gas.

Ethanol Heater - - If you’re trying to decide on the right heating system for your home, make sure you take the environment into consideration. Now that eco-friendly heating systems are highly recommended, an ethanol heater is one of your best options.

Ethanol's Formula - - Have a better understanding of ethanol fuel by knowing how exactly it’s made.

Ethanol Hazards - - Ethanol fuel has its advantages and is probably one of the most powerful renewable energy sources today. However, you must know the ethanol hazards it can pose as well. Read this article to save your life.

Bioethanol Suppliers - - There is an important distinction between bioethanol producers and biofuel suppliers. Bioethanol producers are companies that operate plants that produce and focus only on the manufacture of ethanol.

How is Bioethanol Made - - Do you know that making bioethanol fuel at home is now possible? If so, how is bioethanol made and is it really safe to make it at home? Here are the answers you need.

ETF - - Looking for a promising investment? Why don’t you try investing in an ethanol ETF? Here’s a concise guide on how to invest in the ethanol industry and what you can expect from it.

Permit - - If you are interested in producing ethanol, you will need an ethanol permit from the government. Here are some important information on ethanol permit for production.

Polarity - - Is ethanol polar or non polar? In truth, ethanol has a very unique polarity, and this is what makes it a very useful substance. Here’s the whole story.

Solubility of Ethanol - - The solubility of ethanol is one of its unique characteristics due to its equally unique composition as a substance. Get the real facts on the highly versatile solubility of ethanol.

Conductivity - - Ethanol is a very unique substance with a complex conductivity state.

MSDS - - The best way to obtain information regarding ethanol is by checking an ethanol MSDS. Learn more about an MSDS, what it contains, and why it is important.