SLAKING THE AUTOMOTIVE THIRST (ALCOHOL/GASOLINE FUEL)

Alcohol is viewed as a possibility in the search for a man-made fuel derived from readily available and inexhaustible sources. Ethanol and methanol can be mixed with gasoline as fuel extenders and octane boosters, but production methods for both alcohols are more complicated than current oil refining and coal mining. Ethanol production provides as a byproduct an octane booster (methyl tertiary-butyl ether, MTBE) which permits higher unleaded gasoline production per bbl. of crude oil. In Brazil, where ethanol is produced from sugar cane, automobiles are run on pure ethanol. The Publicker Chemical Corporation has been exploring the most efficient methods of producing alcohol by fermenting available crops (corn, cereal grains, sugar beets, sugar cane, sweet sorghum, potatoes and cassavas) as well as solid waste (garbage). It currently takes more energy to produce a gallon of alcohol than there is in a gallon of the final 200-proof product. When byproducts are considered, the energy recovery is over 100%. Production of methanol, made from fossil fuels (natural gas and coal), is expanding, led by the DuPont and Celanese corporations. Tests of methanol and ethanol in present cars indicate that these additives provide smoother operation. Methanol is corrosive to aluminum and certain types of fuel hoses. Environmental problems in methanol production are noted. Gasohol (alcohol/gasoline blend) is gaining in popularity in spite of its higher price. Incentives by the Department of Energy are recommended to reduce the price of gasohol.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Petersen Publishing Company

    8490 Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA  United States  90069
  • Authors:
    • Nerpel, C
  • Publication Date: 1980-7

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 87-90
  • Serial:
    • Motor Trend
    • Volume: 32
    • Issue Number: 7
    • Publisher: Petersen Publishing Company
    • ISSN: 0027-2094

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00389090
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-029 574
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 28 1984 12:00AM