Those who visit Utterpower often, likely found Neil’s rant on the Free Generator page. Sure, we’ll all question why he couldn’t make the comments against a post on the same topic, but fact is.. there’s plenty of people who think ethanol is great stuff. I’ve even found people who said they’d gladly pay double the price of gasoline for straight ethanol if they could get it, and it would burn in their flex fuel car, generator, weed eater, etc.
For many of us, we know there’s no magic when it comes to fuel, ethanol has about half the BTUs per volume as gasoline, and we know that diesel has a lot more than gasoline.
We might be forced to run this stuff in our older equipment, and we should expect to get less mileage or less KWhs of electrical energy production for a given volume of fuel. If we add 10% ethanol, we should expect 5% less work to be done.
If you are running an old Flathead engine, it might be a good idea to get one of those inexpensive non contact thermometers and look at the temperatures right at the exhaust, in our carbureted engines, there’s no compensation made for the leaner fuel mixture than ethanol blends deliver, and you may need to adjust the main jet to deliver a little more fuel to assure that you don’t exceed the temperatures your engine was designed to run at.
Engines made today are adjusted at the factory to run on ethanol blends and when things are right, they will run more fuel through the engine to keep it cool.
Of great interest to me are the claims that some fuel additives cure all the problems that ethanol blends create. I’d like to hear from a Chemist what type of additive can prevent the ethanol from combing with water and eventually dropping out of solution?
For those forced to run Ethanol blends, it does sound like we should apply these precautions.
- Make use of plastic fuel tanks with vents we can close when not in use to assure moisture laden air is not drawn into the tank during the daily temperature cycle and condensed into the fuel.
- Use a positive shut of valve or similar and run the unit out of fuel after each use. Do this during ‘no load’ conditions.
I welcome any discussion as to the technical merits of fuel additives to control this ethanol/water attraction.
Have you ever wondered how much coal we burn to make the energy to make a gallon of ethanol?