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Bio Ethanol and The Future of Fuel Racing

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Bio Ethanol and The Future of Fuel Racing

Old 04-29-2015, 08:03 AM
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Default Bio Ethanol and The Future of Fuel Racing

A very interesting article on Bio Ethanol and how it may very well help save fuel classes from extinction. Well worth the read.

http://www.neobuggy.net/2015/04/29/m...re/#more-58082
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:11 AM
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Save fuel classes from extinction from what? I don't get it. We are currently using methanol in our fuels. Both are alcohols, and both capable of being bio produced. 0% nitro oft used in airplane is just methanol and oil.
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:22 AM
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To clarify, currently our fuel is three basic ingredients. Methanol, Nitro and oil. Methanol is the chief ingredient and very cheap. I'm own paint manufacturing company and buy methanol in drums, costs me about $3.00 per gallon, and I don't buy much of it. It is the cheapest by far of the half dozen or so alcohols I purchase. Our fuel suppliers buy it in much larger quantities and more than likely pay less.

Sounds like a way to convince people to switch so they can sell a higher priced product with better profits.

.02
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:27 AM
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Denatured alcohol on the other hand is ethanol blended with a small amount of methanol to make it undrinkable. Denatured alcohol is almost twice the cost of methanol, at least for me it is.
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:47 AM
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I like the idea except, will it smell like nitro?
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaymancd View Post
I like the idea except, will it smell like nitro?
Not trying to flame or troll but what do feel will be the advantage of this? The smell comes the oil. So yes it will smell and will cost significantly more. Fuel at my LHS is $40 for a gallon of 30%. I do not want to pay more. What will kill fuel classes is more expensive fuel.

I've looked into making it myself. Could probably do so for $12-15 per gallon tops.
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:57 AM
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I was just wondering what it would smell like. I am addicted to the smell of nitro. Have been since the first time I ever went to an NHRA race. (I was like 5 or 6). Speaking of that, In sportsman level Alcohol/Nitro cars all run together. Why not find a way to use just alcohol. Its close to the same idea as the ethanol. The only problem with all of this is, the pros still run nitro, and probably always will. The fire power of nitro is almost unparalleled. I also see run time problems as it will take more fuel to make the same power as nitro cars.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:00 AM
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And in the same engines alcohol and nitro run together. Look at top fuel cars. They all warm up on alcohol
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaymancd View Post
I was just wondering what it would smell like. I am addicted to the smell of nitro. Have been since the first time I ever went to an NHRA race. (I was like 5 or 6). Speaking of that, In sportsman level Alcohol/Nitro cars all run together. Why not find a way to use just alcohol. Its close to the same idea as the ethanol. The only problem with all of this is, the pros still run nitro, and probably always will. The fire power of nitro is almost unparalleled. I also see run time problems as it will take more fuel to make the same power as nitro cars.

You can run 0% but performance will suffer greatly. Large glow airplane engines can run 0% also known as FIA fuel because of the larger engine size. Smaller engines need that extra oxygen that the nitro provides. Even a sportsman level driver would notice the difference.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:06 AM
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So if we ran engines larger than .21 or .28 than the alcohol might be an option? Same thing with gasoline?
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:10 AM
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the team are hard at work on throttle response due to the fact that ethanol is twice the size of methanol, therefore providing a slower ignition as a result of the current design of carburettor, thus a sense of ‘turbo lag’ is felt if nitro isn’t used to bridge the gap – however in the end there will be more power and runtime, just a slower response, unless the carb is redesigned…
Hrmmm ... so an evolution in fuel and carb design = more power and longer runtimes out of slightly higher fuel costs?

Kinda sounds like a win/win?

Guess it depends exactly what kind of radical redesign of the carb/engine that needs to be done.

Gallon of fuel - stores better - ships easier - has high availability - more power - longer run times per tank[s] - last longer et al ... seems like that "prolongs" the life of the fuel based classes?

Kinda thinking - Flashlight power is a few good lipo fires in the pit area away from a crack down like we're seeing with nitro fuels and noise abatement issues.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaymancd View Post
So if we ran engines larger than .21 or .28 than the alcohol might be an option? Same thing with gasoline?
Our current engines will run with 0%, but we lose the little bit of extra power the nitro gives us. Nitro also reduces the amount of compression and heat required to keep the engine running so nitro fuel makes the engine idle better as well.

I could be wrong about all of this. But I'm more of a if its not broke don't fix it guy.
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by SoCalTazer View Post
Hrmmm ... so an evolution in fuel and carb design = more power and longer runtimes out of slightly higher fuel costs?

Kinda sounds like a win/win?

Guess it depends exactly what kind of radical redesign of the carb/engine that needs to be done.

Gallon of fuel - stores better - ships easier - has high availability - more power - longer run times per tank[s] - last longer et al ... seems like that "prolongs" the life of the fuel based classes?

Kinda thinking - Flashlight power is a few good lipo fires in the pit area away from a crack down like we're seeing with nitro fuels and noise abatement issues.
I don't see any potential or perceived advantages with storing, shipping or availability.

Anyone can make a claim that something is better. Proving it is better is something altogether different.

My other problem with ethanol as a fuel is we are turning potential food and water into a fuel. I know the rc industry's use of ethanol would be insignificant but the ethanol industry as a whole is taking fresh potable water and potential food sources and turning it into fuel... when there are starving people in the world. How dumb is that?
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Old 04-29-2015, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Apco1 View Post

My other problem with ethanol as a fuel is we are turning potential food and water into a fuel. I know the rc industry's use of ethanol would be insignificant but the ethanol industry as a whole is taking fresh potable water and potential food sources and turning it into fuel... when there are starving people in the world. How dumb is that?
I had similar thoughts with regards to this particular point. It's actually a considerable problem because of full-size cars and in that respect, I think that the ethanol craze has been a case of two steps forward, 2 steps back. That said, I think that the idea of nitro-less fuel that (may) yield more power down the line and improve run times is worth keeping an eye on.

When people are spending thousands per year to race, even if the cost of fuel jumps 50%, it's not a huge factor. What I think will be the death knell for fuel racing if alternatives aren't sought is ever-encroaching environmental regulation, I think that the article does get that point right.
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:53 AM
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Even environmental concerns do not seem to be present to force a shift in the fuel we use. Methanol is a naturally occurring, biodegradable alcohol. No serious environmental concerns here. Nitromethane also is not a serious environmental concern Dow chemical corporation says this about Nitromethane:
Nitromethane is practically non-toxic to aquatic organisms. Testing has shown that the
bioconcentration potential of nitromethane is low and its potential for mobility in soil is very high.
This material is not considered readily biodegradable; however, these results do not necessarily
mean that the material is not biodegradable under environmental conditions. Degradation is
expected in the atmospheric environment within months to years.
Also

Nitromethane and furfural are unlikely to persist in the environment. If released to air, both compounds will degrade by reaction with
photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals. Since nitromethane is inherently biodegradable (Organisation for Economic and
Cooperative Development test 301D) and furfural is readily biodegradable (OECD test 301C), the compounds are expected to be
removed from soil and water environments, including biological wastewater treatment plants.
So what I take from this is that on its own Nitro does not break down naturally, but when exposed to sunlight it decomposes. So again, in reality nitro isn't even a major concern.

That leaves the oil, most of which are a blend of synthetic and castor. Potentially the most harmful thing in the fuel for the environment is the synthetic oil.
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