View Full Version : Flex-Fuel Bad, EBS Good!

06-09-2007, 02:45 PM
I was just reading in Car and Driver about a new engine technology called EBS, or "Ethanol Boosting System."

We all know that E85 simply doesn't have the same amount of energy in it as gasoline, meaning that you have to burn more E85 per mile and get less peak power from it. In addition, there is simply no way that we can grow enough plant material to fully replace gasoline...even if we stopped producing food and grew plants purely for the Ethanol. But here is an interesting solution.

Ethanol does have one very good quality. It is quite a potent octane booster. So the EBS system would use a tough, high-compression engine (about 13:1) with port fuel injection using standard fuel and use a turbo or supercharger to produce about 25psi of boost. Normally you would get massive detonation and blow a normal engine in minutes at these levels. EBS would counter that with a direct injection system feeding E85 from a seperate tank into the cylinder, effectively raising octane levels to 150+, and therfore avoiding a fragged engine. When you're just cruising (or if you forget the fill the E85 tank), the engine management system would turn off the boost and EBS and run like a normal engine, thus maximizing efficiency.

The end result could be (with good engine management and forced induction tuning) 260hp+ and 260ft-lb+ with a flat power curve, from a mere 1.8L. Meaning a small I4 could replace V6s and a V6 could replace a V8. Fuel savings can be as high as 25%, and the technology would prove cleaner and/or cheaper than a turbo diesel or electric hybrid. Lastly, it uses technology that already exists, all it needs is some fine tuning.

06-09-2007, 03:02 PM
That's awesome! Where did you find this article?

06-09-2007, 03:37 PM
That's awesome! Where did you find this article? Ummmmmm...
I was just reading in Car and Driver about a new engine technology called EBS, or "Ethanol Boosting System." ;) ;) Sounds like an interesting idea, am surprised Iwe haven't heard about it before..... sounds doable

06-09-2007, 06:36 PM
well i would have to argue that ethanol doesn't nessary have to come from food. Hell grass can be made into ethanol. It how you approach it i guess.

06-09-2007, 07:32 PM
well i would have to argue that ethanol doesn't nessary have to come from food. Hell grass can be made into ethanol. It how you approach it i guess.

True, but where are you going to grow the grass? Where are you going to get the water? How are you going to compensate for the fact that, while grass grows faster than corn, it also takes more grass to produce the same amount of ethanol?

I'm not saying that we shouldn't make an effort to produce ethanol from grasses and agricultural wastes (I really think we should when technology makes the process efficient enough), it's just that ethanol alone is not enough to make us energy self-sufficient. We can't just replace gasoline with ethanol, we have to make an effort to get more out of every drop of gasoline and ethanol we use.

06-09-2007, 09:37 PM
The thing is, you have to have a completely separate fueling system for the ethanol, injectors, tank, pump, lines. You also have to lug around all the extra ethanol and these two factors combined will add a lot of weight. E85 is only rated at 110 octane so it will not boost gasoline to 150+ octane. You do loose gas mileage when you run it, but its cheaper and cleaner than straight gasoline. A direct injection system just for the E85? $$$

As for production, there is already enough to satisfy the few northern states that use it and more stations are converting to E85. There will be breakthroughs made soon that will aid production and reduce space required to produce ethanol.

06-10-2007, 02:14 AM
Yea the fact you need to fuel systems makes me want to convert to a complete electric drive two rain with hydrogen fuel cell to power it and ethanol as the fuel and 100mpg+ everytime and still out run a corvette any day. Yes this is possible.

Another is to just by a Telsa Roadster

06-10-2007, 04:41 AM
The article doesn't actually say it raises the octane to 150, but rather that it tricks the engine into behaving as if it were (it doesn't go into detail into how this happens), which is why I used the qualifier, "effectively".

While the two injection systems do add weight, complexity, and expense, it is not as much as you think. The E85 tank would only need to be 2-3 gallons since it's only used to stave detonation. In the end it is still less complex and expensive than the system in a modern turbo-diesel, and far less complex, heavy, and expensive than the systems in gas-electric hybrids. And, unlike fuel cells, it is feasible with current established technology (no battery or hydrogen storage/infrastructure breakthroughs required).

E85 is not cheaper than gasoline. When you factor in the reduced economy it generally ends up being more expensive (I live in one of those northern states that use it). In addition, when you count the amount of energy required to grow the biomass, plus the less effieceint infrastructure requirements of E85, it takes more energy to produce ethanol than the ethanol can provide. However, I believe that when tied to a system that will dramatically increase fuel economy in our cars (EBS), the energy deficit is dramatically reduced and given time and development, it may even become a surplus. I'll have to double check and crunch some numbers, but I'm positive that the potential 25% fuel savings using E85 in this manner will reduce our dependance on foreign oil more effectively than using E85 as a primary fuel.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't strive to further develop ethanol as a fuel, or hydrogen, or electricity, but rather that this is an idea that can be implemented in a very short time, using our existing infrastructure, and serve as a temporary means of increasing our energy independence, reducing our emissions, and putting less strain on our economy. Giving us the time we need to overcome the hurdles still remaining for more complex alternatives.

06-10-2007, 09:37 AM
I see, its a cool idea and all but my biggest concern has to be the direct injection setup. Thats going to create a very complex and expensive cylinder head to say the least, direct injection is definatly worth it though and has its benefits. The ability to run a high compression ratio and maintain a knock free engine is a huge plus!

06-10-2007, 05:15 PM
Actually, you can already buy ethabol supplemented gas at the pump in some major metor areas now. It's called k96 or something like that. Ethanol is a major octane booster as has been used as such at drag strips since the early 80s. There isn't much a of a problem making ethanol. As you may know it's made by the distilling process. What most people don't know is that distillation recycles itself. When you distill something your leftover trash from the process is called pulp. This can continuously be reused in the process overe and over, and in fact, in large distilleries, the machines used must have a certain amount of pulp put back into the system to operate properly. Moreover, ethanol can be made from any plant source including weeds, which we all know grow faster and more abundantly with fewer needs than anything else. You can obtain grants from the government just for distilling ethanol, the catch is you have to be able to produce mass amounts. Ethanol is handy stuff, but the way of the future it is not.