Bio-ethanol Fuel

Road-race engines and ancillaries - general discussion
Piero

Bio-ethanol Fuel

Post by Piero » Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:11 am

Does anyone have an opinion on the use and benefits - if any - on this fuel. Is there any power gains to be had using it?
What is the octane level etc.?

(GC note: Bio-ethanol fuel is an alcohol made by fementing crops like wheat. Or so I read in Autosport)

Guy Croft
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Post by Guy Croft » Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:44 am

That's not a fuel readily you can buy at present in the UK. It is only being tried and tested by one or two racing teams only, operating under a government sponsored motorsport programme.

Frankly I doubt that it will come to anything unless the government goes to the next level and embarks on a comprehensive programme of support for its adoption for production cars and motorsport. They can dream that we're going to convert to it till then, far too costly.

GC

edited by GC after being told Morrisons sell it see below
Last edited by Guy Croft on Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Piero

Post by Piero » Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:57 am

http://www.morrisons.co.uk/1424.asp
Have a look at this link!!

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Post by sumplug » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:12 am

There was a report on Fifth Gear this week showing the Lotus Exige 265E which runs very very well on this fuel. And the only place Tiff Needell could find fuel was Morrisons!!

Andy.

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Post by Guy Croft » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:58 am

Another good reason for shopping at Morrisons?

(Sorry about that)

Best get down there Piero - and give us a full report!

GC

benlilly
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Post by benlilly » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:13 pm

I while ago I read about Tesco offering 99 octane fuel, the highest available at the the time in the uk. I remember the article talking about the use of bio ethanol to boost octane levels, and apparently, this was what Tesco were using. In the tests they ran, it produced the most power and torque. It was only available at garages in the south east.

Sorry I can't remeber the magazine title but here is a link to the fuel supplier http://www.greenergy.com/products/99_octane.html

There is a small independent garage near me that offers petrol with 10% bio-ethanol content. My car seems to like it.

thank you,

Ben

Piero

Post by Piero » Thu Nov 16, 2006 4:15 pm

I would love to give it go and let others know what I think, but at the moment, I only have my diesel van!!!
Still working on the Fiat twin cam.
Does any know if there is any facts availible for this fuel??

Evodelta

Post by Evodelta » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:10 pm

benlilly wrote:I while ago I read about Tesco offering 99 octane fuel, the highest available at the the time in the uk.

thank you,

Ben

BP do some 102 now, only for Southerners though it seems and I've heard (unconfirmed sorry) that it is around ‚£2 per litre. (I wonder how much of that goes in the governments pocket?)

http://www.bp.com/genericsection.do?cat ... Id=7017179

Sorry for the thread diversion, but I thought it was worth pointing out that this stuff is available for some of us.

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Post by Fahrell » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:17 pm

Please, let me tell a story: In 1980 Brasil began to use alchool (ethanol refined from sugarcane) in 100% alchool based automobile engines. The project peaked in 1984 when 94% of the country total car fleet was 100% alchool based cars.
The project began to fallback when the petroil crisis went away and gasoline began to drop prices. But we still have a considerably big number of Alchool cars running on the streets and EVERY gas station have alchool pumps along with gas pumps. Today almost ALL models of cars available here, including the imported, have factory developed bi-fuel "flex" engines, who uses either gasoline or alchool or a mix of them...

My car uses 100% alchool which is a fuel much more capable to withstand compression (either static or dinamic like turbos) and have a much more capacity of cooling the mixture due to the alchool caracteristics... As it's not a carbon based fuel it doesn't have "octanes" like gasoline, but the antidetonation caracteristics of alchool can be translated like a 100~107 octanes gasoline, but with a much greater cooling power when the injectors or the carburator sprays it...

Alchool ethanol hidrated (don't know how is in english, sorry) have less specific power than the gasoline, which leads to need of a 30~33% richer mixture than the gasoline one, a greater compression ratio (or pressure on turbos) and a timing advance from 6 to 7.5 degrees. And alchool engines consumption are also greater than gas engines.

Tha't all, excuse my mess with the english text but I think you will understand.
Andr’‚© Farkatt

Piero

Post by Piero » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:40 pm

Can petrol engines run this Bio fuel or do they need any type of mods??

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Post by Fahrell » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:55 pm

Piero wrote:Can petrol engines run this Bio fuel or do they need any type of mods??
as I said in the previous post, IF what you call "bio fuel" is similar to the Ethanol Alchool hidrated used here in Brasil, Yes, petrol engines can use it, richen the mixture from 30 to 40%, increase the CR to at least 11~14:1 and advance the timing spark at least 6 degrees...

the only drawback will be less mileage and corrosion in some metal parts... Brasilian parts, even the petrol engine ones, are more resistant to corrosion because even our petrol contains 20% of anidre alchool. but my experience using many parts are that they will withstand the alcool... maybe a little less than petrol, but will do the job.

check regularly: fuel pump catch sump, catch tank, fuel pump and fuel tank for corrosion. change the fuel filter in small intervals and use niquel treated carburators, no need to worry about Fuel Injected systems, the regulator, lines and injectors are not damaged in any way by the alchool.
Andr’‚© Farkatt

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Post by Guy Croft » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:35 am

Well done Andre!

Well written and informative. I know you are from Brazil and it's marvellous that you are prepared to 'have a go' in English. Few of us will have known any of that technical information, I did not either.

Don't worry about any errors in English, it's very clear, we all understand I'm sure.

GC

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Post by Julian » Fri Nov 17, 2006 7:53 am

Just to add a few pennies worth of thoughts to the matter.

The government is pushing biofuel (petrol) by cutting the tax on it where it is available by about 20% making it a fairly attractive proposition but sadly any savings made this way are lost through the fact you have to run a richer fuel mixture and the government gets its money regardless - nice bit of spin there.

The few cars already available to handle biofuel have the differences programmed in so they can switch back and forth between ordinary premium unleaded and biofuel.

For the rest of us attracted by the higher octane rating (such as BPs 102 octane fuel) the gains in performance that the rating suggests are only really available if you have a higher compression ratio (although there is some gain to be made for most modern engines).

The real question then is who gains from it (the government) and those few people with cars specially tuned to take advantage of the fuels characteristics (not even 1% of the population). Everyone else is set to lose more money.

One last point - methanol based fuels have been in use across the world for drag racing for decades. This isn't quite the same thing but it does offer an awful lot of expertise in the field.

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Post by Guy Croft » Fri Nov 17, 2006 10:29 am

Judging by what Andre says and by what I have been reading it sounds like there are some real engine survivability issues with this fuel.

There is one team (Tech Speed) using it in BTCC, as far as I know they are the only ones. This is a race engine website - I'm not interested in whether someone puts it in his tank to drive to the pub.

There is a lot of 'guff' (chat) floating around in government and the MIA (Motorsport Industry Assocation) and MDUK (Motorsport Development UK) and the usual ‚£millions of public money available for 'green motorsport'. I wonder where it's going?

Read, if you can be bothered:
http://www.eemsonline.co.uk/whatiseems? ... mgi99gtzi4

Now I know a bit about these organisations. I recently wrote a blistering letter to MDUK, in which I told them (among other things) what it's really like to be involved in competition engines - the very type of firm they should be supporting if they want to get eco-friendly fuels introduced.

The truth is none of these suited types have the faintest idea how many race engine firms there are in the UK (I do - and it's well under 100), and they make no effort at all to approach them by letter or personal contact to brief them and bring them into the scheme. If they don't do this it throws the onus onto individual owners of firms to fund the changes themselves. Why the heck should they??!! It's hard enough making a living in this field.

I said to MDUK - that as a race engine builder...
"You feel you have a right to part of the thing, you¢ž¢re not really, because no-one visits you, encourages you, rings you, supports you, writes about you, does anything to make you part of the thing. So really, you¢ž¢re a statistic (if you¢ž¢re lucky), completely ‹Å“out on a limb¢ž¢, something vaguely used to make a point, no more than that"

A Labour MP recently wrote to Autosport crowing (as they do) about Labour's commitment to (green) motorsport. What nonsense. I don't hear my phone ringing. I say - you can't introduce this kind of thing without financial support and incentives to the people operating at point of sale.

Call me political? You bet I am.

GC

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Post by Mats » Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:04 am

You can buy E85 which is a 85%ethanol 15% petrol mixture from the pumps here in Sweden. This opened up the opportunity to use it as fuel in some group N type series here since they specify "pump fuel". Most of the teams that have the budget have switched to is because they can squeeze some extra power out of the engines.

Drawbacks as far as I understand it is that you need to carry more fuel since it has less energy/mass. Also the cold start is difficult but that is not really an issue in racing.
/Mats Strandberg

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