Ethanol as a Motor Vehicle Fuel
Human society has been utilizing the limited inventory of fossil fuel for approximately 100 years. Due to its limited stock and availability a continuous search for alternative sources of fuel has proposed several alternatives to consider. Some of the alternative method includes rechargeable battery, fuel cell, alcohol based fuel, etc. There are two major types of alcohol that has been used as fuel. These are Methanol and Ethanol. Five to ten percent of methanol has been blended previously with the gasoline in the United States. Now the federal government of the United States of America has mandated to mix 10% of ethanol to be mixed with gasoline to sell as transportation fuel for most of the country.
Ethyl alcohol also known as ethanol is a volatile chemical substance produced by fermenting or petrochemical process. This is colorless liquid also known as a recreational drug consumed by human known as beer, alcohol, wine, hard liquor, etc. This form of alcohol has been used as a recreational drug for very long time in human society. It is also possible to apply this same alcohol as fuel in internal combustion engine to empower the automobile.
Ethanol is being used as fuel additive in different countries. South American country, Brazil is the one of the largest ethanol producers in the world. Brazil is using 25% ethanol blended with gasoline for motor fuel use. In the United States 95% of pump fuel are mixed with ethanol. The percentage varies from 5 to 10 percent. Most gasoline powered automobile engines are capable of running up to 10% ethanol blended fuel. There are other blends available than 10% to be sold as pump fuel. E15 and E85 are two other blends also available in some pumps. The flex fuel vehicle is capable of using E85 blend fuel. E85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline blend. Similarly E15 is a mix of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. The flex fuel vehicle users are not restricted to use only E85 gasoline. They can use any blend of regular gasoline up to 85% ethanol blended fuel. The popularity of E85 is not at peak yet. The popularity of E85 is growing based on the price difference with regular gasoline and availability. By maintaining the E15 fuel regulation E15 fuel is also being sold at some fueling station. Only 2001 and newer model year passenger vehicle and light duty trucks are permitted to use E15 fuel. In 2014, more than 70% of the top selling cars in the United States sanctioned the use of E15 fuel.
As many other fuel ethanol has different chemical property than traditional fossil fuel. The energy content of the ethanol is lower than the gasoline energy content. The meaning of less energy content is the driver has to burn more fuel volume to drive the same compare to gasoline volume. This will cause to have less mileage per gallon of gasoline. On the other hand, if the cost of the ethanol blended fuel is cheaper than regular gasoline than the cost per mile would be equal or even cheaper. The...