Friday, October 4, 2019

Ethanol Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 words

Ethanol - Essay Example It was mostly used industrially and for lamps until 1862, when the U.S. Congress placed a $2 per gallon tax on it to help fund the Civil War. In 1896, Henry Ford built his first vehicle, a Quadricycle, which ran entirely on pure ethanol. The first hybrid flexible engine was also built by him for his Ford Model T; made from 1908 until 1927. It could run on ethanol, gasoline or kerosene. As World War I and the depression created a need for more fuel, more research was done to provide the necessary means for energy when gasoline was not readily available. During the prohibition years, extensive taxation made it impractical to produce alcohol, although in the 1920's, the Standard Oil company started using ethanol as a fuel additive to reduce engine knocking and raise the octane of the fuel to enhance performance issues with automobiles. As the advancement of the combustion engine progressed, so did the need for ethanol research. It was also at this time that Brazil discovered a way to us e the ethanol made from sugar cane in their automobiles. It was in the 1930's that gasohol; fuel comprised of 6-12% ethanol was first used. Brazil passed a war time law in 1943 requiring automobile fuel to contain 50% ethanol, in order to reserve petroleum resources for the military use. They have continued to develop that technology into a world class economy today. Due to the oil embargo, in 1974, the U.S. began doing extensive research regarding turning organic materials into ethanol. In 1980, the U.S. placed foreign excise tax on all foreign made ethanol in an attempt to stimulate the domestic economy and reduce flooding the market with cheap imported ethanol. That tariff remains in place today, securing the place for the U.S. as the number one ethanol producer in the world. By that time, Brazil was considering fuel rationing, when Fiat built the first, ethanol only, modern car; within three years, 90% of the cars in Brazil were ethanol vehicles. Today, Brazil continues to be th e leading sugar cane ethanol producer, refining more than 40% of that country’s domestic ethanol. By 1992, the Energy Policy Act passed, requiring automakers to create and sell cars capable of using alternative fuels; also giving tax deductions to those selling those cars or ones capable of being converted with a special conversion kit. This kit made adjustments to the fuel-to-air ratio through the use of fuel sensors that determined how much ethanol was in the system to prevent engine damage. Ethanol as a fuel additive can be derived from many organic sources, such as corn, wheat, sugar cane, sugar beets, sweet sorghum, sweet potatoes, switch grass, and miscanthus. There is research constantly being conducted to search for new sources of feedstocks to produce this valuable renewable source of energy. Potential non-corn feedstocks include cotton stalks, and trees as well as certain forms of algae. This would require a special and complicated process to separate cellulose from the sugars for the fermentation process and much more research is needed in this area. There are many other uses of ethanol than just for car fuel. It is also used to make industrial compounds and solvents, antifreeze, vinegar, perfume, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paint, and alcohol wipes and antibacterial hand sanitizers. The grain alcohol that is used for human consumption is of a much higher quality and therefore a different product entirely. One

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