Environmental Science E85 Usage Essay

3547 words - 14 pages

ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETYENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PAPERETHANOLOur society continues to use more and more fuel, so the problem of fuel usage and its impact on our environment is not going to go away. As a result it is prudent that we search out alternatives for other optional fuel usage. One of these alternatives is the use of E85, a blend of ethanol and unleaded fuel. The production of E85 is a wise alternative because of the basis from which it is created, the fact that it is created from a renewable resource and it has a positive impact on the environment; however, with every alternative there are issues surrounding it.Ethanol is not a new fuel; it was used back in the 1850's as a lighting fuel. Because of a tax placed on ethanol during the Civil war the cost of ethanol became prohibitive when compared to other fuels, so it lost its appeal as a lighting fuel. However, when the tax was lifted in 1906, people once again began using the fuel source. In 1908, Henry Ford designed the Model T, and it was designed to run on a mixture of gasoline and alcohol. Even as early as 1908 they were calling the gasoline and alcohol mixture the fuel of the future. However, when Prohibition started in 1908, ethanol was prohibited because it was considered liquor. Then in 1933, with the end of Prohibition, ethanol was used again as a fuel. The use actually increased during World War II when other fuels were in short supply. Then again in the 1970's ethanol became popular because of the reduction in oil supplies from other countries. It has really been since the 1970's that ethanol has gained its popularity because of the tax incentives offered for producing ethanol, along with the fact that it reduces emissions.Ethanol is a colorless and flammable liquid that is the intoxicating agent in liquors and is also used as a fuel or a solvent. Ethanol is the most important member of a large group of organic compounds that are known as alcohol. Alcohol is an organic compound that has one or more hydroxyl groups attached to a carbon atom. In ethanol's pure form it is a colorless clear liquid with a mild odor. Ethanol has no basic or acidic properties. When ethanol is burned it produces a pale blue flame with no residue, but has a considerable amount of energy associated with it. These properties are what make ethanol an ideal fuel - it burns clean (Concept of ethanol taken from Ethanol Science & Technology Paper).Ethanol is a product of fermentation. When fermentation takes place it releases energy from the organic molecules in the absence of oxygen. As a result energy is obtained when the sugar is changed to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Changing corn to ethanol takes many steps. The starch in the corn has to be broken down into a simple sugar before the fermentation process can take place. In the process of fermentation, the ethanol retains a good share of the energy that was originally in the sugar, thus making ethanol a great use as a fuel.E85 is a usable fuel that is made...

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