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Re: Ethanol

Postby Midlana1 » 10 Mar 2015, 12:18

I realize that the casual reader may come here and conclude that my thoughts are scattered, with me typing one thing but doing another. Fair enough, but it's part of my learning curve. As I figure things out, my thinking shifts along with it. When I started the car project, I had zero interest in ethanol because:

1. It's more expensive than gas to go the same distance.
2. There are very few stations around where we live.
3. No tracks sell ethanol.
4. It isn't compatible with some parts of fuel systems.

So what changed? The thinking went something like this:

- When we go to track day events, if the track even sells fuel, it's rediculously expensive.

- Because of the availability and cost, we bring our own jugs of fuel.

- If we're bringing our own fuel, we're free to both buy what we want and where we want.

- There are two ethanol stations near home, so getting the fuel locally and trucking it to the track is no different than filling up the same jugs with gas.

- If the fuel system is designed with ethanol in mind, it costs little or no more than designing for gas.

- Ethanol has an octane of 115, or around 110 for E85.

- Ethanol has about 25% better cooling properties when it vaporizes ("latent heat of vaporization"). Because approximately 30% more ethanol is required than gas, the cooling effect is actually about 37% better than gas.

- For a turbocharged car that can change boost to take advantage of the higher octane and cooling properties, ethanol is a clear winner for forced-induction applications.

So that's how I came around to using the stuff. That said, for a normally aspirated engine, there's little to no reason to use it since the engine can't take full advantage of the fuel (other than advancing timing slightly).

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