Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ethanol Combustion

Ethanol combustion is:

C2H5OH + 3O22CO2 + 3H2O + heat

The CO2 generated by biologically produced ethanol came from the atmosphere in the first place so this creates no extra gas. The nett effect is lauded as zero production of this greenhouse gas, whereas fossil fuel generates new CO2. Although the biofuel (ethanol produced biologically) contains methanol and purification by distillation will not work, this is likely to form a method of producing illicit ethanol for inclusion in cheap and illegal alcoholic drinks. Cheap and illegal because there is no duty involved. This will produce a highly dangerous (to health) situation.


To illustrate the likelihood of the criminal mind exploiting a weakness, agricultural or marine diesel fuel is a "tax rebated" (cheaper) fuel. The duty is much less and the fuel was dyed red (red diesel) for easy visual identification purposes. Fuller's Earth removes the colour and so this agricultural (and marine) use fuel formed an illegal source of diesel. Back in 1964, the mafia were involved in a 'salad oil' swindle. Currently, adding 'flavouring' to a lubricating oil (Colza oil) enables passing into the human food chain as (re-labelled) olive oil.

Cosa Nostra

If a 'biofuel' mixture contains around 15% ethanol, then a gallon (4.5 litres) will contain around 750ml ethanol and at current prices, if this was to cost £5 per gallon, then three quarters of a litre of pure (100%) ethanol could be produced from 1 gallon. The 0.85 gallon residue ('pure' petrol) could be used separately or treated to become a useful fuel. This is effectively denaturing petrol by adding ethanol so removing the ethanol would restore purity.

In principle this would probably work.

Spirits like vodka are 40% v/v ethanol to water and so almost 2 litres of vodka substitute is possible for about £5 and this ignores the value of the petrol. Highly profitable to the criminal classes and purity won't be a concern at all. Consumers are not likely to appreciate (or care - DA) the origins of cheap, but lethal, 'alcohol'. This would not bother the criminal.

The 'elephant in the room' and obvious flaw in the proposal is that if the content of any biofuel is only around 15% ethanol, then some 85% will still be petrol. Engines do not function outside certain fuel limits. It's a large elephant and a very small room. The potential reduction in CO2 is at best about 1/6th, yet seriously threatening starvation around the world. And all to make a lot of money at the expense of a few million lives. Cheap to the unconscionable. It gets worse... ...enter GM and Monsanto.

If it can be conceived then it can be expedited. The arguments supporting biofuels are very weak in the extreme:


Food vs fuel Petrol combustion