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balagast
08-19-2006, 06:53 PM
Here's a intersting read about Ethanol: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/08/21/8383659/index.htm

Basically, what its talking about is the fact that in order to produce ethanol, you must use an extremely large amount of grain that could be used to feed people. Kind of an odd spin on the new E85 craze.

Blackcloud
08-19-2006, 07:44 PM
well maybe with less food there will be less fat people...

MCcelica
08-19-2006, 07:51 PM
^There's always the hope

Punisher
08-19-2006, 09:45 PM
well maybe with less food there will be less fat people...

So true.. "but why do i have to buy 2 seats for this airplane ride?"

Playfortoday
08-20-2006, 07:21 AM
Actually, it depends on who you ask. From what I can tell, all positives are on the side of ethanol as far as production costs vs sale cost goes. Also, the whole argument against feeding people goes out the shitter considering we are only a few years from making ethanol from the stalks and leaves. There is an enzymes that can break that shit down now, and the stalks and leaves will be used for fuel while the corn grain will still be used to feed people. Not to mention there are more abundant grasses with higher glucose levels than corn, and we will eventually move to them instead, garnering huge yields or less land, leaving corn for food exclusively.

Taken from discover magazine:


On a brisk morning in early November, the semis are lined up four deep outside the front gate of the Corn Plus plant, waiting before a sign that warns, in big red letters, NO SMOKING. In this corner of sleepy Winnebago, a small town in southern Minnesota, smoke billows from stacks, and a hum from the plant shatters the silence of the countryside. A sour scent, redolent of a brewery, hangs overhead.

The "plus" at Corn Plus is ethyl alcohol, better known as ethanol. In a day Corn Plus takes the kernels of corn hauled by 45 trucks and turns them into 122,000 gallons of fuel. Tank cars wait on railroad sidings behind the plant, ready to carry it to New England, to Chicago, to California.

With the price of crude oil at record highs, times are good at Corn Plus, and the roll is likely to last. The expense of making ethanol has fallen steadily over the last decade, even as some energy analysts predict we might never see gasoline below $3 a gallon again. After a much-quoted warning that "America is addicted to oil" in this year's State of the Union address, President Bush called for "cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switchgrass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years." The ultimate objective: "to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

It was a remarkable position to take. In Washington, D.C., ethanol is commonly viewed as little more than a sop to the farm lobby. The conventional wisdom has become so entrenched that even fictional politicians embrace it: The presidential candidates on TV's West Wing, campaigning in faux Iowa caucuses, all criticized ethanol. "It takes more oil to transport it and fertilize it than we save using it," griped Representative Russell. Senator Santos complained about the logistics: "Transportation is difficult; storage is a nightmare. . . . Supporting ethanol's a mistake."

Still, the president's initiative was less an announcement of a new endeavor than an acknowledgment of work well under way. Nor is it as ambitious as it sounds; oil from the Persian Gulf accounts for just around 16 percent of U.S. consumption. Yet the researchers who know ethanol best believe that it represents an extraordinary opportunity. With a serious new push, they say, ethanol could displace 30 percent of domestic gasoline consumption within 25 years. Because ethanol is made from plants that pull carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, it could drastically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles, the second largest source here, behind power plants. Although President Bush did not say as much, the Department of Energy is also pursuing an even more ambitious outcome—a "biorefinery" that could make not only fuel but also plastics and other products currently derived from petroleum.

Those claims sound less outrageous when you consider that they are being realized abroad right now. In Brazil—a country of 188 million people with the world's 14th largest economy—about 40 percent of the fuel burned in passenger vehicles is ethanol derived from sugarcane. The pump price for ethanol is roughly half that of gasoline. Seventy percent of new cars in Brazil are sold with "flex fuel" engines, which can run on pure gasoline or E85, a blend of up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, and the Brazilian government has announced that it will wean itself from foreign oil imports completely by the end of this year. All this is happening with a fundamentally American technology: The flex-fuel engine and its precursor—the Model T, which Henry Ford expected to run on ethanol—were invented in the United States.

In fact, ethanol is already creeping into the mainstream. Last year about 1.6 billion bushels of corn were fermented in the United States to produce 4 billion gallons of ethanol, double the amount for 2001. Three percent of all gasoline pumped in this country is actually ethanol, which is often added as a component of low-emission "reformulated" gasoline. Some 5 million automobiles here can run on E85, even though most of their drivers probably don't know it. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the use of 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol by 2012, and the industry is ahead of the target. Thirty-five new plants, capable of producing another 2 billion gallons, are under construction. In small but significant ways, at various labs, factories, and filling stations around the country, an energy revolution is under way.

Rick Lunz's family farm, one county over from Corn Plus, is one of the patches where the new ethanol economy has sprouted. I pull up to find him loading grain into silos.

He had already spent about eight hours in the cab of his John Deere 9650 STS combine. We climb back inside, and Rick's brother Bob fires it up. Soon sturdy six-foot-tall corn falls before our advance, eight rows at a time. Pieces of stalk, leaves, and cobs dance as the kernels disappear underneath, but inside the sealed cab the noise of corn gnashed by steel teeth barely registers. It takes about three minutes to complete a single quarter-mile pass, then Bob swings the combine around again. A truck pulls up alongside, he flips a switch, and grain pours from the combine bin behind into the truck. This is not your father's farming operation. Perhaps that's why Lunz, who is 49, still has a boyish face.

In 1979, when ethanol was called gasohol, Lunz saw an ad in a newspaper for an on-farm ethanol plant. The energy crisis of 1973 was still fresh in his mind. President Jimmy Carter had persuaded Congress to pass a law promoting synthetic fuels, which included tax credits to ethanol producers. Lunz ordered a kit that could produce 150,000 gallons a year: "It took me a long time to get it built. I ran it for three months." Lunz lets out a hearty laugh. Then President Reagan ended the incentives, and Lunz couldn't make the payments. "I turned around and ripped it down and sent it on to somebody in Nebraska. They had a state program, and we didn't."

By the mid-1980s, Minnesota had a program too. A tax credit buoyed ethanol to about 4 percent of Minnesota's gasoline supply. When Lunz began meeting with a group of farmers near Winnebago in 1991, they could count on a state-sponsored cash payment of 20 cents per gallon, up to $3 million a year. Lunz and his associates eventually raised $13 million—about half the construction costs—to build an ethanol plant they named Corn Plus. The plant opened for business in November 1994, with the capacity to make 15 million gallons of ethanol a year.

Production has since tripled. Legs, drags, and augers convey corn kernels into storage bins and then to a pair of hammer mills that crush them into a fine powder. In the mix tank, the milled grain takes on water and enzymes, which begin to convert the starch to simple sugars. Eventually, the slurry arrives at fermentation tanks, where yeast goes to work on the sugars. Over the next 54 hours, the corn slurry becomes a mash containing 15 percent alcohol. The alcohol is stripped away at the still; molecular sieves then pull out the last drops of water. Finally, the ethanol—2.7 gallons from a bushel of corn—is cooled into a liquid and denatured with gasoline. The mash at the bottom of the still is dried and sold as an animal feed called distillers' grains.

Outwardly, the way ethanol is made has not changed much, but each step of the process has grown markedly more efficient, beginning with the farmers. Lunz, for instance, says his fields produce about 175 bushels per acre, 25 more than a decade ago, while using 25 to 30 percent less fuel.

Corn Plus started out as a farmer's co-op. Now it is the third-largest ethanol supplier in Minnesota, the most ethanol-friendly state.

Corn Plus has contributed significant advances of its own. Engineer Gregory Coil hands me a pair of earplugs and leads me into a room dominated by a giant stainless-steel cone that calls to mind an old steam locomotive's smokestack. This is a fluidized bed reactor, an energy-generation technology that has been used for decades to power paper mills and waste-treatment plants but that had never before been installed in an ethanol plant.

Every minute, 80 gallons of the corn syrup left over from distillation are pumped into a bed of 1300-degree sand agitated by compressed air so that it behaves like a liquid. The sand ignites the syrup. "Syrup solids have a BTU content similar to lignite coal," Coil says over the roar of combustion. "When it burns, when it oxidizes, it produces heat." The heat generates steam for boilers and dryers. The fluidized bed reactor has cut the plant's natural gas use by more than half. A new heat-recovery system may further reduce natural-gas consumption to just a third of what it was two years ago.

These improvements are crucial. From the start, the ethanol industry has been dogged by concerns about its net energy balance—whether ethanol requires more fossil fuel to make than it replaces. This is measured by adding up all the energy inputs at every stage of production, from growing corn seeds to cultivating and harvesting the grain, transporting it to the factory, and shipping the ethanol to a terminal. If ethanol runs a negative energy balance, as asserted by some critics (including those nattering West Wing characters), then the enterprise is doomed: What is the point of wasting fossil fuels that could be consumed directly somewhere else?

Studies by researchers at the Department of Agriculture over the last decade give reason for optimism. They consistently show a positive and improving energy balance. By 2001 every BTU consumed in ethanol production generated 67 percent more energy, when coproducts like distillers' grains are taken into account. Other researchers have reported a similar trajectory; taken together, their findings show an unmistakable upward trend.

Yet nagging doubts remain, stoked by two persistent skeptics: David Pimentel, a professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University, and Tad Patzek, a professor of geoengineering from the University of California at Berkeley who started the UC Oil Consortium, an industry-sponsored research group. In their latest studies they conclude that ethanol's balance is negative. The researchers, who found that ethanol requires 29 percent more fossil energy than it provides, question the morality of using grain to fuel cars in the face of world hunger. "Expanding ethanol production," they write, "could entail diverting valuable cropland from producing corn needed to feed people to producing corn for ethanol factories."

Most researchers agree, more or less, on the energy required in the conversion process, but unlike Patzek and Pimentel, they include an energy credit for the coproducts. Most of the discrepancy, though, comes from different measurements about the growing of corn. Patzek and Pimentel count many more inputs than the others, including labor energy expended by field hands and energy embedded in farm equipment and in the ethanol factory itself. Such external sources are not normally calculated when the fuel is gasoline.

A more relevant issue is whether ethanol's energy balance is better or worse than gasoline's. After all, as energy economist Philip Verleger points out: "We don't keep our balances in BTUs; we keep them in dollars and cents. So if I can find an energy source that's cheap and easy to use, then it may make sense to use a lot more of that to produce a gallon of gasoline."

By definition, petroleum's fossil energy balance is negative. Making a gallon requires 23 percent more energy than it contains. Even using Patzek's unreconstructed estimates, ethanol outperforms the incumbent. Corn Plus's fluidized bed reactor further tips the argument in ethanol's favor. Using Patzek's methodology for every aspect of ethanol production save the conversion process itself, a gallon of Corn Plus ethanol consumes less energy than it contains—even before factoring in credit for coproducts.

Meanwhile, ethanol's efficiency is continuing to improve. New machinery developed by Biorefining Inc. in Minnesota precisely breaks kernels into their constituent elements, which may convert more of the starch into ethanol at a lower cost, while also freeing up more of the valuable coproducts like corn oil. The biotech companies Genencor and Novozymes have developed enzymes that convert starches into sugars and ferment the sugars into ethanol in a single step, streamlining the process. Seed companies are trying to engineer corn that is tailored to ethanol conversion.

At some point, though, corn ethanol will hit a wall. Even if the United States decided to ferment its entire corn crop, that would displace less than 20 percent of our gasoline consumption. A more realistic, if still optimistic, scenario sketched by the National Corn Growers Association anticipates that corn ethanol production will quadruple to 16 billion gallons by 2015, not quite 7 percent of the likely demand. That's where President Bush picks up the story.

It turns out that Rick Lunz left a lot of energy out in his field that night. Corn stover—the husks, stalks, and cobs chewed up and spit out by the combine—is, in a sense, about two-thirds sugar. The problem is that the sugar is accessible only after it is chemically converted from the tough molecules that make up the walls of plant cells: fibrous cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.

Lignocellulosic biomass, as it is called, represents a vast, untapped natural resource. If we could find an effective way to convert it, corn residue could provide another 20 billion gallons of ethanol by around 2040, according to a recent report from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Better yet, every plant contains cellulose, so there is no need to restrict the fermentation process to corn stover.

Switchgrass, a tall prairie grass native to North America, is a much more promising raw material. It can reach nine feet high, and it grows easily from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian plains, from the Rockies to the Atlantic Coast. It can grow in poor soil as well as in dry climates, says agronomist David Bransby of Auburn University, so it requires little fertilizer and water and can grow in places that are not now useful cropland. An acre of switchgrass can produce more than twice as much ethanol as an acre of corn. By 2030 the Department of Energy envisions American farmers harvesting fields of switchgrass purely for their energy content.

People have coveted that energy for a long time. "When I first looked into the ethanol industry, there was this promise that the cellulose technology was just a few years away," Lunz recalled. "Well, it's been 25 years now." Biomass research that began at the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado, during the Carter years nearly came to a halt in the early 1980s and did not revive until George H. W. Bush became president. President Clinton expanded the facility, now called NREL, short for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Researchers there say they are tantalizingly close to fulfilling that early promise.

They have managed to solve a problem that has long bedeviled ethanol researchers: how best to split cellulose into simple sugars that can be fermented into alcohol. One method bathes the cellulose in sulfuric acid at high temperatures and high pressure, an expensive technique developed by Germany during World War II. Instead NREL researchers sought an enzyme that would do the job more cleanly and cheaply. Coincidentally, research into such a cellulose splitter, or cellulase, also dates to World War II, when the U.S. Army investigated the "jungle rot" that dissolved uniforms in the South Pacific. The most profitable application of cellulase so far has been to set it loose on the fibers in blue jeans just long enough to make them look "stonewashed."

In 2000, NREL made available a suite of patents for its protein research to Novozymes and Genencor, asking them to bring cellulase to the market while splitting the investment. Since 2004, each firm has announced that it has managed to cut the cost of a cellulase suitable for industrial production, although exactly how much is in dispute. The biotech companies claim a 30-fold reduction since 2000, from about $5.60 per gallon of ethanol to at most 18 cents; NREL puts the cost at 32 cents.

Thomas Foust, the biotechnology manager at NREL, says the cost of making ethanol from cellulose has dropped to $2.26 a gallon or less. The goal, however, is $1.07—what NREL and the Energy Department figured was the cost to make a gallon of ethanol from corn kernels at the time NREL made the enzyme pact.

Reaching that target will be a difficult, messy task. After handing me goggles and a hard hat, Foust and engineer Dan Schell usher me into the lab's pilot ethanol plant. It is clean and quiet, a collection of valves, tubes, and tanks unblemished by the grime of production because it is used mostly to test processes. We stand in front of a squat vessel. This is the pretreatment reactor, where hemicellulose is dissolved into a liquid of simple sugars, exposing the cellulose to enzymatic attack. Here, though, the lab still uses a variant of the old acid-bath technique, which is both expensive—this reactor is made of zirconium—and fussy. If the acid concentration isn't strong enough, some of the small polymers aren't broken up and don't get fermented. Too strong, and some degrade beyond use, inhibiting the fermentation of other sugars. Ultimately, NREL hopes to replace the acid bath with a more reliable cocktail of cellulase and hemicellulase enzymes.

That hasn't happened yet because hemicellulose is a tough nut to crack. It is an amalgamation of xylose, glucose, and small amounts of three other sugars, and so far NREL has been unable to engineer a bacterium that can digest all of these at once. "Twenty years ago, it seemed it was going to be real simple—just get your genetic tweezers out and away you go," Foust says. "It's proved infinitely more difficult than that." As a result, today's technology can coax only about 65 gallons of ethanol out of every ton of corn stover, instead of the 90 NREL is counting on.

A number of researchers think the solution is to abandon the whole idea of fermentation in favor of making ethanol through a technique called gasification. If a feedstock—grain, grass, husks, whatever—is burned in an environment where oxygen is limited, the reaction creates hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane. These can be burned in a turbine, but in the presence of the right catalyst, they will instead combine into ethanol.

BioConversion Technology, a start-up in Denver, claims to have developed such a catalyst and says that it can make more ethanol from a ton of feedstock for less money than NREL can by fermentation. "NREL has been extremely biased," says David Bransby of Auburn. "I think they're betting on the wrong horse." Foust does not deny gasification's potential—he considers the two technologies complementary. NREL, he says, has spent 40 percent of its biomass research budget on gasification. Still, BioConversion Technology has received no funding from the Department of Energy.

If the boosters of ethanol master cellulosic conversion, they will then have to find an effective way to deliver large quantities of the new fuel to the market. Like water, it is held together by the powerful bonds between hydrogen and oxygen atoms, so ethanol cannot travel through most petroleum pipelines. If ethanol encounters water in the pipes, it will absorb the water and become unusable. It also dissolves dirty petroleum gum residues on the walls of pipes and tanks. Robert Reynolds, a consultant who has studied ethanol infrastructure for the Department of Energy, says ethanol would have to make up at least 30 percent of the gasoline supply to justify the expense of making current oil pipelines fit for sharing.

Right now ethanol is used mostly as a fuel additive; about one-third of the gasoline sold in the United States contains a shot of ethanol (about 10 percent, typically) to reduce automobile emissions. That has given energy companies a chance to explore the transportation difficulties. Ethanol from places like Corn Plus travels by barge or railroad to distribution terminals, then is combined with gasoline at the rack where tanker trucks load up. To receive ethanol, these tank farms may have to add new railroad spurs, storage tanks, and blending systems. It costs roughly three cents to send a gallon of gas from the Gulf Coast to New York. Transporting a gallon of ethanol by train from the Midwest costs at least 12 cents, and the shipments are vulnerable to delays on the tracks.

But an interesting thing happened in recent years as many large markets phased out MTBE, a competing gasoline additive, in favor of ethanol: nothing. Adding new infrastructure at the terminals did not prove daunting; railroads delivered tank cars full of ethanol on time. When there were price swings, they were limited to the season of transition. In the long run, consumers did not appear to have been greatly punished at the pump for using ethanol. Reynolds even believes that if ethanol production hits 10 billion gallons and consumers embrace E85—the 85 percent ethanol mix—a dedicated pipeline from the Midwest to the East Coast could make economic sense, although the conventional wisdom remains against him.

For now, E85 remains a distinctly boutique concern. The roster of places to buy it grows every day, but the numbers are small: just over 600 stations, about a third of them in Minnesota. Many states have no stations at all. Detroit is trumpeting its commitment to build E85-compatible flex-fuel cars and trucks—1.25 million of them this year—but those are scattered on dealers' lots around the country, so most of their owners will have no access to ethanol. Furthermore, these vehicles incorporate rudimentary conversions of gasoline engines and do not fully exploit ethanol's high octane.

Even ethanol's fans concede that building up the ethanol infrastructure depends on government support, at least for now. A report by the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that developing competitive ethanol technology will cost $1.1 billion; deploying it could cost just as much. "It's a long-term investment, and it requires a commitment," says Purdue University bioengineer Michael Ladisch. Besides research, the commitment includes a federal 51 cent per gallon tax credit, local credits, and incentives for building E85 pumps. The raw feedstock, corn, is subsidized, too, with cash payments to farmers. In 2004 that amounted to 16 cents a gallon. (Not all the taxes are stacked in ethanol's favor; a 54 cent per gallon tariff effectively bars cheap Brazilian ethanol from the American market.)

Red Cavaney of the American Petroleum Institute cautions that "it is important that we not ask government to pick technology winners and losers before the science has caught up." Still, the Department of Energy's real problem may be not where it is placing its bets but how much it is wagering. For 2006, the Bush administration proposed just over $50 million for ethanol research, less than half what Clinton's budget requested in 2001. Originally NREL set its goal of $1.07 ethanol for 2010; by last year, the target had slipped to 2020. With the current renewed emphasis on biofuels, Foust's team is poised to get $27.5 million in 2007, a touch more than it spent in 2004. The Department of Energy would increase its total biomass spending to $150 million—a 65 percent bounce.

In the end, this is up to Congress. Over the years, it has held a middle ground between the Clinton administration's enthusiasm for bioenergy and the Bush administration's indifference. Lately, legislative munificence has come with strings: directed spending projects, the lifeblood of pork-barrel politics.

"It started about three years ago," says Bob Noun, NREL's executive director for external affairs, "but in the last year, they've doubled." In the 2006 budget, earmarks divert $61 million, two-thirds of the total biomass research budget. The earmarks are vaguely titled and have no descriptions; staffers in the Department of Energy have to confer with Congressional Appropriations Committee staffers to figure out who gets what. Although the Energy Department encourages recipients to work toward its research agenda, it can't force them—it is required by law to hand over the money.

The grants are mostly death by a thousand cuts: a hundred thousand dollars here, a half million there. One notable exception is an $11 million grant to establish a "sustainable energy center" at Mississippi State University, secured by Representative Charles Pickering. The largesse appears to have taken the school by surprise. Although the legislation passed in November, the university's PR team only heard about it in April. "There are many questions to be answered that we can all work on," says engineering professor Glenn Steele, a codirector of the new center. "We're looking at wood chips and other feedstock sources that are not necessarily in the mainstream for ethanol but are in abundance in our region. And we will be working with the national laboratories to make sure we're not duplicating research."

In an encouraging sign, the House recently voted to provide extra money to pay for its pork-barrel add-ons; the Energy Department's biomass request was fully funded. Tom Foust believes that if department scientists get all of their R&D dollars, cellulosic ethanol will be commercially competitive by 2012. "We know the tools, and we know the protein engineering," he says. "None of these breakthroughs that we're proposing are the skies parting and a tablet coming down from the heavens."

GT4SOM
08-20-2006, 09:11 AM
Excellent read play. It really does come down to the government for the conversion. Thats great they are trying to figure out different ways to produce it rather then just corn. You never know if a plague occurs and all of the corn is gone.

Playfortoday
08-21-2006, 03:59 PM
I thought so too.

Too bad the long article scared everyone away:hehe:

KoreanJoey
08-21-2006, 07:12 PM
Yeah... umm... didn't even read the article... but honestly there is more corn being grown than people consume. The left over corn usually goes to cattle feed and now is going into ethanol...

I'LL MISS YOU CORNED BEEF!

Playfortoday
08-21-2006, 08:41 PM
I'LL MISS YOU CORNED BEEF!

I can only hope for the sake of all that is good that you were kidding. PS. Way to expand your mind.:laugh:

If you read the article, you would have known your input would be irrelavant to the topic. There will not be an over-abundance of corn if ethanol was produced at any true kind of a scale. Right now it is ethanol production is the gasoline production, as your mom is to Angelina Jolie.

GT4SOM
08-21-2006, 09:57 PM
Haha. Nah they actually make ethanol and still have left over for cattle feed. What really makes me more confident about this ethanol conversion is that we are finding several different sources to make it out of.

LoKi The Infidel
08-22-2006, 05:45 AM
we waste food like no other culture.

look at this for an example.

you ever gone to the grocery store and have them tell you that they ran out of bread? there is shit loads of that stuff on the shelves all day, and it has a shelf life of about 3 days without being refrigerated, unless you are in a landlocked city, and you can get 5 days without mold.

also NOBODY buys bread that is about to 'expire'. its all dated on teh little tag, and you always buy the freshest shit available.

what happens to the rest? gets thrown in the garbage. just like that. lets imagine that 100 loaves of bread get tossed at your own grocery store every week. mulitply that by how many grocery stores there are in north america and you'd be staggered by the amount of food we throw away. and the actual numbers are probably higher than that.

and bread doesn't even take up a third of the grain we produce. the entire center portion of our continent is made up of farmers fields. there ain't much else out there.

hell, i know farmers would be happy as pigs in shit if ethanol was the next big thing. :bigthumbu

Punisher
08-22-2006, 06:19 AM
What makes me wonder is why people think that we need to use our crops to solve world hunger?

Punisher
08-22-2006, 06:21 AM
we waste food like no other culture.

look at this for an example.

you ever gone to the grocery store and have them tell you that they ran out of bread? there is shit loads of that stuff on the shelves all day, and it has a shelf life of about 3 days without being refrigerated, unless you are in a landlocked city, and you can get 5 days without mold.

also NOBODY buys bread that is about to 'expire'. its all dated on teh little tag, and you always buy the freshest shit available.

what happens to the rest? gets thrown in the garbage. just like that. lets imagine that 100 loaves of bread get tossed at your own grocery store every week. mulitply that by how many grocery stores there are in north america and you'd be staggered by the amount of food we throw away. and the actual numbers are probably higher than that.

and bread doesn't even take up a third of the grain we produce. the entire center portion of our continent is made up of farmers fields. there ain't much else out there.

hell, i know farmers would be happy as pigs in shit if ethanol was the next big thing. :bigthumbu

We don't waste that bread.. really it goes to a landfill and birds and rats eat it.. or the homeless get to it before it even leaves the stores dumpster :lolhittin

btw.. pigs in shit.. that made me :laugh: hard.

MCcelica
08-22-2006, 01:12 PM
Slight OT warning! We took my lady's civic si to get rebuilt. I would have done it myself but was working nights 40+ hrs a week and we needed it done quickly. So. I talked to the guy at the shop yesterday and he seems to think ethanol "Doesn't actually burn and it gets built up a bit much." and he also seemed to think that it cracked a valve because of it. Do you guys think he's right? Bear in mind that this car has been going through about a quart of oil/week and we've been using dyno oil to keep the rings as long as we could which worked untill about 2 days before the rebuild appointment.

Punisher
08-22-2006, 05:05 PM
Ethanol is indeed corrosive.

Crack a valve? No.

I haven't read anything about it leaving a lot of deposits either.

It is mainly corrosive in the fuel system though, not in the actual cylinder.

How about some more info on that civic and I assume you been running e85 on it?

85gtsblackman
08-22-2006, 05:41 PM
unless it was already done or it came from the factory like that, your cars gas systems must be retrofitted to use ethonol, if not it will eat your seals o rings and gaslines

extremeskillz
08-22-2006, 06:07 PM
the funny part is i new someone was goin to say it regardless. although i agree with you guys about fat ppl. Less grain feed for them lol (pigs). Anywayz we are the worlds biggest grain producer. We just need to balance our use of grain as fuel and food. and i think instead of e85 we should start with e50. 50/50 is always good and still drops our gas use.

But like anything else we still need alternative fuels. I perfer EV's. They are fast, quiet, and can beat most sports cars on the road. Ive seen and old porche 944 ev conversion beat the the c6 corvette. trust me i wasn't surprise because i basically now a lot about electric motors and the torque they produce is rediculouse.

Heres a read for you guys. AC propulsion just release their scion xb ev converison called the"ebox" www.evworld.com. they basically took a stock XB and coverted it in a EV that performs better then in gasoline counterpart. check it out.

LoKi The Infidel
08-22-2006, 06:13 PM
Slight OT warning! We took my lady's civic si to get rebuilt. I would have done it myself but was working nights 40+ hrs a week and we needed it done quickly. So. I talked to the guy at the shop yesterday and he seems to think ethanol "Doesn't actually burn and it gets built up a bit much." and he also seemed to think that it cracked a valve because of it. Do you guys think he's right? Bear in mind that this car has been going through about a quart of oil/week and we've been using dyno oil to keep the rings as long as we could which worked untill about 2 days before the rebuild appointment.
a quart of oil a week? well it is a honda. they all burn oil, its unavoidable. my civic (this is actually my 4th civic) goes down a quart in about a month unless i drive it with a little 'spirit' and then within 2 weeks i'm down.

what year is it? mine is a 90, and other than the minor oil consumption, its a great all around commuter.

LoKi The Infidel
08-22-2006, 06:18 PM
oh and i cannot see ethanol cracking a valve. 'Petro Canada' uses a 50/50 ethanol blend in one of their grades (94 octane) and nobody i know of has ever had any issues.

have you guys seen the mythbusters where they run a diesel merc. on pure used cooking oil? pretty amazing.

they also messed around with blowing hydrogen gas right into the carburator of an old pontiac and it ran just fine, until they got excited and let the stuff catch on fire. (spark from the starter i think, even though they didn't show why it happened.) hydrogen is relatively safe, but becomes flammable when exposed to air. it wasn't a bad fire or anything, but those guys tend to panic over small problems, and the world already has a terrible view on hydrogen vehicles.

was still very cool.

balagast
08-22-2006, 07:18 PM
The part about the ethanol build up makes no sense. The ethanol, actually has a tendency to eliminate carbon deposits, and makes your engine run much cleaner.

Schmleff
08-22-2006, 07:20 PM
ethanol burns cooler, so no, I don't think it cracked a valve.

extremeskillz
08-22-2006, 09:17 PM
Look im gonna clear up the ethanol myth once and for all for the last time on this site.

ethanol is corrosive to patroleum based objects. like fuel lines, injector seals, anything built before 97-98 has patroleum based products. the newer cars have synthetic based products in place of oil based making them corrosive free.

With that said ethanol has really good cleaning properties meaning if your running a car that was under gasoline for most of its life and you suddenly started using ethanol. be prepared! ethanol will clean your engine out like tilex on tile. All carbon deposits around you valves, pistons, etc will be cleaned away because ethanol is the opposite of gas. This will cause you oil to get dirty fast so normally you should do is get an oil change after you coverted to ethanol and have been running it for about 1000/miles. And by then i recommend using synthetic based oils. Depending how old you engine is, get it rebuilt. If it well maintain like mine is your ok but i recommend also to get all your seals coverted to synthetic based ones. Also since ethanol cleans very well it will loosen the dirt shit in you gas tank, cause the fuel filter to clog up. This should be studied if you using ethanol recently. To prevent this i recommend getting you fuel tank cleaned out or change the fuel filter after about 500 mile after using ethanol. you might have to do it twice depending how dirty you tank is, when you started using ethanol, and how long have you been running gasoline before switching to ethanol.

Ok kids you might be thinking how do i know all this. Im a ethanol expert playas. i experiment with shit like this and i know. Because as time goes on i see how the world has change and i need to start thinking about my future and alternative means to get my energy! hope this solve you ethanol questions.

Biodiesel don't even get me started how to make this. I can go on and on. It basically like ethanol being made from grains. Its basically used cooking oil, soy beans, peanut oil, etc. You can buy biodiesal kits online to make it at home in huge batches. All you need is a local restraunt to supply you with wasted vegi oil and if you say you'll get rid of it for free (because they pay to get it removed) they will love you. Just follow the instructions on how to make a batch and pronto you got biodiesel just pop it in you diesal vehicle. With that said all the stuff i said about ethanol ^ is still applied to diesal engines as well. anything before 98 still applies about seals, etc. This is because methanol is used in the mix to separate the fats from the vegi oil. Methanol or you can use ethanol mixed in the biodeisal also has good cleaning properties. So everythin i said still applies to diesal power as well. By the way biodiesal=0 carbon build up in close to 0 carbon dioxide because its natural. And like i said before if you know your plants and how they work you will know what im talking about. And no i don't smoke!

extremeskillz
08-22-2006, 10:04 PM
pardon the mistypes^

MCcelica
08-22-2006, 10:59 PM
Ok so the civic is a 2000, it had something to the tune of 125k miles on it. I picked up the valve from the shop today and it wasn't cracked...it had a huge chunk taken out of it and it had a bunch of "shit" on it. I'll post a pic of it later when I can find the damn camera. I remember somebody saying that ethanol burns hotter oddly enough, and apparently what happened to the valve was it got a little hot which weakend the structural integrity of the valve and it wasn't seating right (Probably because it's a honda) and that took a chunk out of it.

The gas we've been putting in there is 87 octane (Which is mid-grade for the altitude) mixed with ethanol. Apparently ethanol has been in use here for like 4 years + or-. Also the concentration of ethanol (in percentage) apparently varies from station to station. The grocery store gas pumps usually have a higher percentage mix than regular stations which explains why most times the grocery store pumps are usually a little cheaper. So yeah, I have no idea what the % of the mixture is.

MCcelica
08-22-2006, 11:40 PM
56K Warning!

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j146/Sorth/fa570713.jpg

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j146/Sorth/940f5ea3.jpg

Reason Numbers 1 and 2 respectively why you TAKE CARE OF YOUR FUGGIN CAR! (But we all know this.)

NSY

EDIT: Sorry for the fuzziness.

Schmleff
08-23-2006, 01:10 AM
was your car loacted near saltwater at some point in its life?

I had a valve that looked like that in an engine a 4afe that I stripped.

Punisher
08-23-2006, 02:30 AM
Look on the pump to see the ethanol content.

Almost all street gas now uses 10% ethanol, which replaces MTBE, which is god awful horrible shit to begin with.

MCcelica
08-23-2006, 03:34 AM
The car was originally purchased in Nevada by the first owner. My lady is the second actuall owner (Not including the dealership we got it from) We are in Colorado, sooo never been out of landlocked states.

I've seen shit get caked on to the bell side of the valve, but not the recessed side like that though. What's the dealio?

NSY

LoKi The Infidel
08-23-2006, 06:23 AM
wow. i'm stumped here. especially on a 2k+ car.

LKI

Edit by Play: Fixed for signature.

extremeskillz
08-23-2006, 01:07 PM
56K Warning!

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j146/Sorth/fa570713.jpg

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j146/Sorth/940f5ea3.jpg

Reason Numbers 1 and 2 respectively why you TAKE CARE OF YOUR FUGGIN CAR! (But we all know this.)

NSY

EDIT: Sorry for the fuzziness.
DUde alright first off seems you never did a engine flush. also there are adaptives you can use that can be added to you oil that eat carbon for dinner. I use Z-max engine and fuel formula. Stuff not only eats carbon around the cumbustion chamber, it cleans the the valves, injectors and since it uses Linkite(used in aviation oil) in the adaptive it has the ability to soak into the cylinder walls reducing friction. Its clear, clean, leave no residue (like slick 50 does), and it works well.

Ive been using it for 4 years now and everytime i check my spark plug they are damn clean. I use it after every oil change and it about 40.00 a kit. I do it with regular oil intervals, but you can also do it just twice a year. Look for it at you local auto parts store like Autozone, Pepboys, etc

MCcelica
08-23-2006, 03:04 PM
I use Zmax in my car every 6k. She's only had the car for... 10k miles and it's been burning since we got it. We tried various methods to keep it around untill we could get it rebuilt with marginal success. I just didn't want to zmax it and have the zmax tear the rings up worse than they already were, so that's why I didn't do it. The previous owner must have done as little as possible to just keep it running untill he/she sold it. That pisses me off cause we babied that car a lot and now we're like ricksta paying for someone elses shit. (not bashing him, it's true) Of course we didn't notice it burning right away otherwise we wouldn't have bought it. Dealership prolly kept it from smoking for like a day.

But hey, at least we know it's not the ethanol. I might print out this entire thread and hand it to him. :hehe:

NSY

Schmleff
08-23-2006, 03:13 PM
The likely explanation for this is that your rings are leaking oil into the cylinder. The burning oil caused the "cake" you see and eventually caused the valve to leak. After the valve started leaking, it burned from the hot gasses searing past it over time.

OR

The valve clearances were not maintained. The vavle stem stretches over time and will cause the clearance to be too tight. Then the valve leaks cause it does not close fully. Then it burned and the cake is just from the rings.

Edit: Your mechanic sounds like he should be working on lawnmowers if that is how he explains what you see

extremeskillz
08-23-2006, 04:23 PM
I use Zmax in my car every 6k. She's only had the car for... 10k miles and it's been burning since we got it. We tried various methods to keep it around untill we could get it rebuilt with marginal success. I just didn't want to zmax it and have the zmax tear the rings up worse than they already were, so that's why I didn't do it. The previous owner must have done as little as possible to just keep it running untill he/she sold it. That pisses me off cause we babied that car a lot and now we're like ricksta paying for someone elses shit. (not bashing him, it's true) Of course we didn't notice it burning right away otherwise we wouldn't have bought it. Dealership prolly kept it from smoking for like a day.

But hey, at least we know it's not the ethanol. I might print out this entire thread and hand it to him. :hehe:

NSY

Yea do it and see what he says!

MCcelica
08-23-2006, 11:33 PM
The likely explanation for this is that your rings are leaking oil into the cylinder. The burning oil caused the "cake" you see and eventually caused the valve to leak. After the valve started leaking, it burned from the hot gasses searing past it over time.

OR

The valve clearances were not maintained. The vavle stem stretches over time and will cause the clearance to be too tight. Then the valve leaks cause it does not close fully. Then it burned and the cake is just from the rings.

Edit: Your mechanic sounds like he should be working on lawnmowers if that is how he explains what you see

That makes sense to me. I went to the shop that day and he mentioned that the gaps on the rings on a couple of cylinders were "partially lined up" and I know they're supposed to be 180 degrees from each other. That would explain the initial burning of oil causing the chain reaction you stated. The thing that puzzles me about that is when we looked at the carfax report at the dealership before we got it, it did not say there was a rebuild on the car, and I doubt that honda would have put the rings on wrong, yet I don't see how they would be able to slip around to partial alignment.

NSY

Luni
08-24-2006, 12:02 AM
LOLzers for you guys running z-max


http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2001/02/zmax1.htm read up. That shit doesnt work Its actually BAD for your engine.

n00bs.

85gtsblackman
08-24-2006, 12:20 AM
seafoam bishes

Playfortoday
08-24-2006, 12:28 AM
Seafoam > z-max

Holy ownage. $40 a treatment? Damn. What is seafoam now? $5?

extremeskillz
08-24-2006, 12:32 AM
LOLzers for you guys running z-max


http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2001/02/zmax1.htm read up. That shit doesnt work Its actually BAD for your engine.

n00bs.
Wrong it works i used it in all my new and old engines and no problems to date

and if you read the article you just point you would have read the part that zmax advertised increase gas mileage by 5 -10 mile to the gallon. i only experience 5. but thats not y im using it. I use it to get rid of carbon and keep the internals clean. Trust me it works.

Since this is the first time im hearing this suite againt Zmax. I will look into the matter carefully. If its true they used false advertising i will not support the product anymore. I hate liers and they deserve to die.

O and i have tried seafoam before too and that works well too! just to let you know

Playfortoday
08-24-2006, 12:41 AM
Wrong it works i used it in all my new and old engines and no problems to date

and if you read the article you just point you would have read the part that zmax advertised increase gas mileage by 5 -10 mile to the gallon. i only experience 5. but thats not y im using it. I use it to get rid of carbon and keep the internals clean. Trust me it works.

You are kidding right?


According to the FTC, the CRC L38 test is a standard auto industry tool to measure the bearing corrosion protection properties of motor oils. In February/March 1997, an independent laboratory performed two CRC L38 tests of zMax for Speedway and Oil Chem. In those tests, motor oil treated with zMax produced more than twice as much bearing corrosion as motor oil alone. The complaint also states that the defendants fabricated one "report" from the two test reports, eliminating the bearing corrosion results and all other negative test results, and then used that report and the "official laboratory results" - similarly edited to remove detrimental data results - as sales tools in the infomercial and on the zMax Web site.

The FTC's complaint alleges that the defendants did not possess and rely on reasonable substantiation for the following claims in the infomercial, on the Web site and in brochures that zMax:

* increases gas mileage;
* increases gas mileage by a minimum of 10%
* reduces engine wear;
* reduces or eliminates engine wear at startup;
* reduces engine corrosion;
* extends engine life; and
* reduces emissions.

The agency's complaint also alleges that the defendants falsely represent that the results of the CRC L38 test proved that zMax:

* increases gas mileage;
* reduces engine wear;
* extends engine life;
* lowers fuel consumption by 8.5%
* lowers wear on valve stems by 66%
* lowers wear on piston skirts by 60%; and
* cuts carbon build-up on valve stems by 66%.

Finally, the FTC charges that in consumer testimonials and endorsements in their advertising, the defendants did not have substantiation for the representation that the endorsers' experiences were, "The actual and current opinions, findings, beliefs, and/or experiences of those consumers; and the typical or ordinary experience of members of the public who use the product."

The FTC is asking the court to bar the defendants from violating the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive acts and to order consumer redress or require that they give up their ill-gotten gains.

This case is the latest in a series of FTC law-enforcement initiatives targeting unsubstantiated claims made by auto additive manufacturers. The FTC previously halted allegedly deceptive advertising by the marketers of Dura Lube, Motor Up, Prolong, Valvoline, Slick 50, and STP, other major brands of engine treatment products.

The Commission vote to file the complaint was 5-0. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, in Greensboro, January 31, 2001.

I think I'll trust the report.

extremeskillz
08-24-2006, 12:49 AM
^ as im read it again. they do not metion they tested it with oil. They make it sound they tested it as if it replaces oil. If thats the case no shit is goin to wear fast and show more corrosion. Zmax is not a motor oil or motor oil replacement its just an addative.

Playfortoday
08-24-2006, 12:55 AM
^ as im read it again. they do not metion they tested it with oil. They make it sound they tested it as if it replaces oil. If thats the case no shit is goin to wear fast and show more corrosion. Zmax is not a motor oil or motor oil replacement its just an addative.

motor oil treated with zMax produced more than twice as much bearing corrosion as motor oil alone.

extremeskillz
08-24-2006, 12:58 AM
^ thank you i just found that.

extremeskillz
08-24-2006, 01:02 AM
luckily with the four years ive have my celica i only used it 3 times and my last oil change i started using high mileage synthetic oil so i don't need to use zmax (and now from what ive read) anymore.

Ill just stick to seafoam now! Thanks Play

Playfortoday
08-24-2006, 01:12 AM
No prob. Just regurgitating what I read. Thanks to Rob for finding it.:bigthumbu

extremeskillz
08-24-2006, 01:13 AM
Thats y this site is awesome! info everywhere.

Now because of this they lost me as a customer.

Playfortoday
08-24-2006, 01:51 AM
The interesting thing in that article is that they mentioned Dura Lube, Motor Up, Prolong, Valvoline, Slick 50, and STP in the lawsuit. That's funny, because when I think about it, I have not seen an infomercial for a lot of those product in a really long time. There used to be at least 10 different channels with duralube, prolong, and Slick 50 going every night. I have not seen one in like 5 years.

Schmleff
08-24-2006, 01:57 AM
I hear that seafoam will even replace missing pieces of metal.

MCcelica
08-24-2006, 02:17 AM
Thats y this site is awesome! info everywhere.

Now because of this they lost me as a customer.

Werd, I'll prolly stop using that stuff now myself. Good lookin out for us all Luni!

NSY

Playfortoday
08-24-2006, 02:54 AM
:laugh: at Schmleff. I heard seafoam is also a great laundry detergent.

ciento44
08-24-2006, 03:10 AM
It makes Chuck Norris cry, which in turn, cures cancer.

Playfortoday
08-24-2006, 03:12 AM
Chuck Norris references are a bannable offense on Celicatech. Ask any mod or admin.

:hehe:

extremeskillz
08-24-2006, 01:25 PM
Werd, I'll prolly stop using that stuff now myself. Good lookin out for us all Luni!

NSY

WORD!

extremeskillz
08-24-2006, 01:27 PM
The interesting thing in that article is that they mentioned Dura Lube, Motor Up, Prolong, Valvoline, Slick 50, and STP in the lawsuit. That's funny, because when I think about it, I have not seen an infomercial for a lot of those product in a really long time. There used to be at least 10 different channels with duralube, prolong, and Slick 50 going every night. I have not seen one in like 5 years.

Your right. Zmax, the reason y I started using it is because they showed there lab results and had the paper work to back it up. All those other addatives didn't and Slick 50 has compounds in it that over time build up at the bottom on you oil pan.