These are the pros and cons of ethanol fuel

You might have seen the word ethanol fuel as you drive to different fueling stations. But, it is possible that you aren't sure whether this fuel is appropriate for your vehicle. 

Let's take a look at what ethanol is to help you choose. This biofuel is also evaluated. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. What's Ethanol Fuel?
  2. Pros of Ethanol Fuel
    1. 1. Lower Greenhouse Gases
    2. 2. Makes use of existing fuel stations
    3. 3. Useable Byproducts
    4. 4. Multiple raw materials are used to create this product
    5. 5. Creates Positive Energy Balance
    6. 6. Renewable Source of Energy
  3. Ethanol Fuel Cons
    1. 1. Prices can change 
    2. 2. This reduces fuel economy
    3. 3. Infrastructure is lacking
    4. 4. Corrosion: Causes
    5. 5. Farm Space Required
  4. Is Ethanol fuel a good choice? Do you think so?
  5. FAQs about Ethanol
    1. Why is ethanol so bad?
    2. Can ethanol damage your engine?
    3. Does ethanol affect gas mileage?
    4. Is ethanol good for horsepower?

What's Ethanol Fuel?

The fermentation of plants produces ethanol fuel. Most cases of fermentation rely on sugarcane and corn. This is a source of renewable energy because it contains living organisms as well as a range of biological elements such manure and algae.

It’s true that this fuel is considered a renewable resource, but energy is still needed to produce it. Although ethanol is cleaner burning than other fuels, it has some drawbacks. However, environmentalists see ethanol in a positive light and encourage its use for the environment. 

Pros of Ethanol Fuel

1. Lower Greenhouse Gases

Car Emissions

Ethanol fuel is able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30% per mile. This can be a big difference, and it has a great impact on our environment. 

Ethanol fuel will cause far less greenhouse gasses than other cars, which counteracts the harm done by them. Additionally, because ethanol is made from plants, any spillage won’t be destructive to the environment. 

2. Makes use of existing fuel stations

It’s a common misconception that additional infrastructure is needed to supply ethanol fuel, but that’s not the case. It is possible to use existing fueling stations for distribution of ethanol fuel.

However, there are some pipelines that need adjustment and other storage areas. The benefits of using ethanol fuel outweigh any minor cost.

3. Useable Byproducts

There are many by-products that can be produced from ethanol. You can also use these DDGs or carbon dioxide byproducts. 

In several pneumatic systems, and cryogenic freezing, carbon dioxide is used to create dry ice. Plus, dried distillers’ grains (DDGs) are used for animal feed instead of using cornmeal or soybean meal. Ethanol fuel can be more economical because you can use by-products.

4. Multiple raw materials are used to create this product

By-products from nature are what create ethanol. The majority of American ethanol is made from corn. However, sugarcane can be found in many countries. 

Cellulosicethanol can be made from many living plants such as alga. Cellulosic ethanol is made from plant fibers, not seeds or fruits. This construction allows ethanol to be a renewable source of energy. 

5. Creates Positive Energy Balance

It has been argued that the power used to create ethanol is more than what is received, but again, this isn’t the case. If you examine the numbers objectively, ethanol creates an energy balance that is positive. 

We earn 1.3 units energy per unit corn in the United States. For a better return, each unit of sugarcane in other regions of the globe can yield eight energy units. 

You can get 36 units of energy per unit from each raw material unit if you choose cellulose construction. You can also get by-products that increase the product's value. 

6. Renewable Source of Energy

Ethanol, which is made entirely from plants, can also be created using other sources. It is sustainable, too. Only sunlight and water can be used to grow plants. 

In fact, ethanol could be created from virtually any type of plant, so there’s less chance that we will run out of the resources required. We should be able continue to produce ethanol because plants grow every day. 

RELATED: E85 vs. Gasoline – Which one should I choose?

Ethanol Fuel Cons

1. Prices can change 

Gas Station Prices

The price of ethanol varies greatly depending on where you live. Some areas can get 25c per gallon of ethanol compared to gasoline. Other locations may charge almost $1 more.

Most cases, price differences are based on the availability. You can, for example, expect to pay less in Midwest because of the abundance of corn.

2. This reduces fuel economy

Ethanol produces less energy than gasoline. This lower energy will result in a decrease in fuel economy. Sometimes, it can even be as high as 30%.

Newer engines are helping to reduce these negative effects. Vehicles can achieve nearly the same fuel economy as gasoline thanks to advanced technology.

3. Infrastructure is lacking

We discussed the ease it would take for fuel stations in transitioning to sell ethanol. However, this is not true of all. Drivers are left with limited options for fueling stations.

Because ethanol is mainly produced in the Midwest, most ethanol stations can be found there. If there is no station nearby, it can prove problematic for those who own flex-fuel vehicles. 

4. Corrosion: Causes

Ethanol cannot absorb water. This is why all pipelines should be retrofitted for corrosion resistance. Because of this extra requirement, ethanol isn’t often piped for long distances.

The fuel may also become contaminated by too much water. If the fuel sits too long, it can lead to engine damage. Considering ethanol is a fantastic solvent, you can also expect it to dissolve fiberglass, plastic and rubber, which isn’t good for the car either. 

5. Farm Space Required

To make ethanol, you need crops. Farm space is limited in order to grow these crops. Ethanol production could prove more difficult if the farms are too small. 

Corn prices can be unpredictable. It’s difficult for farmers to determine if there will be a profit made, which is why many don’t produce corn. Aside from that, corn can be eaten by animals which is why many farmers plant it. 

Is Ethanol fuel a good choice? Do you think so?

It’s clear that ethanol fuel can have a positive impact on the environment, but there are also some clear setbacks to this form of energy. More adjustments are needed in order to ensure the process's efficiency is sufficient to reap its full benefits.

Also, future price regulation is needed. With that said, it’s obvious that ethanol will become a more popular option as the infrastructure grows. 5

FAQs about Ethanol

Why is ethanol so bad?

The downside to ethanol fuel is its lower amount of energy than gasoline. Therefore, vehicles must use more to cover the same distance. It’s also corrosive, which can damage parts of your fuel system quicker.

Can ethanol damage your engine?

Ethanol can cause damage to parts of your engine. Ethanol can cause damage to your fuel system. This includes fuel injectors. Although ethanol is not corrosive, it can cause fuel system damage from the inside. However, ethanol vehicles have caused parts to be removed.

Does ethanol affect gas mileage?

Yes, ethanol does affect gas mileage. The energy density of ethanol is lower than that of gasoline. Therefore, it takes more to generate the same amount power. This is why ethanol-powered engines typically consume 20% to 30% more fuel than the gasoline-powered ones.

Is ethanol good for horsepower?

It is unlikely that an ethanol-fueled car will have more horsepower than a regular one. If done right, however, ethanol can increase horsepower in race cars.

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