Bio-Fuels Myth Or Reality
The United States is currently in an uproar over the price of
automotive fuel. Industry insiders are projecting the average
cost of fuel to go above $3.00 per/gal. in the coming months.
Many people are starting to reconsider summer vacation plans. So
what solution do we have on the horizon to fight the ever
increasing cost of Gasoline.
Today's latest term of indearment is Bio-Fuel. What could
this actually be, are we going to place corn-cobs in our fuel
tanks. Do we simply pull up to the local Fast Food restaurant
and order a #3 and 10 gals of grease. Well not exactly, let's
discuss each of the alternatives currently in the mass media
First up the french fry grease myth. Yes with
the properly equipped fast food restaurant we could drive up and
fill up our diesel car. However one big issue with this fast
food fad, their isn't enough grease generated to supply the
nations thirst for fuel. If we are going to convert over then we
must have the supply to meet the demand or the price of the fuel
will not be reduced to a usable level. While the technology is
available the fuel supply opportunity is not readily available.
This technology is commonly referred to Bio-Diesel.
let's take a step back tot he farmers who generate the oil that
we are discussing. Can we generate enough Bio-Diesel to feed the
nations thirst? This question is hotly debated in academic
circles as well as farming circles. Current estimates are that
if we convert over at the fuel consumption rate we are currently
utilizing that we will have to have 75% of all of our US farm
capacity to meet demand. While this will put many of the farmers
currently out of work back to work, we would then be dependent
on other nations for our food supplies. This may or may not be
palatable to most involved.
What other options are
currently on the blocks. E85 and M85 are both standard unleaded
alternatives. The E in E85 stands for Ethanol, it is a product
of corn and can easily be manufactured by todays farmers. The M
in M85 stands for Methanol, which is a product of landfills and
biodegradables (grass clippings, and other items). The 85 in the
title is representative of the % of Methane or Ethanol present
in the fuel. Are these options viable, again we have the debate
of supply versus demand. To convert over enough farm land to
make these a reality will probably cause food supply issues. The
final issue against E85 and M85 is that they have a 25%
reduction in fuel mileage adding to the cost of operation of
your vehicle if you use them.
Current replacement fuels do not make the cut for long term
viability. The auto industry is hard after alternatives to
middle eastern automotive fuels. They are listening to their
customers and will create a solution. So don't run out and buy
that Bio fuel vehicle just yet the industry is still maturing.
About the Author:
Charles has a Problem Solving BlackBelt from Daimler Chrysler.
He has spend 11 years in the automotive industry. This article
may be reprinted freely as long as all links remain active.