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Use of Ethanol as a Fuel - Research Paper Example

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Use of Ethanol as a Fuel
No doubt they are a very convenient and rapid source of transportation but the dangerous compounds released from the exhaust of automobiles contribute a lot to the environmental pollution…
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Use of Ethanol as a Fuel
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Download file to see previous pages Unfortunately, inside an automobile engine, fuel undergoes incomplete combustion and as a result unburned hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and compounds of sulphur are released, which are extremely dangerous to mankind (Rao, 1989).
Many organizations all over the world are participating in developing awareness and making such standards that are environment friendly. Among them is U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA which is constantly trying to make such standards and regulations which can lessen the effects of the exhaust of the automobiles on the environment. An Energy Policy Act has been passed by EPA which is considered to be an attempt in fighting energy problems. It contains a national renewable fuel standard program RFS, developed to make use of a certain amount of renewable fuel within transportation fuels. Ethanol is one of the environment friendly gas or liquid recommended in EPA and RFS programs. It is, in actual, the ethyl alcohol found in drinking beverages and it is being used as a transportation fuel too for decades. It is termed as an oxygenating factor for gasoline and is used purposely for oxygenating fuel in many parts of the country. It is blended as an alternative fuel to the gasoline of about 5-10% concentration initially, but now it is mostly in the form of E85 and E100 which contains 85-100% concentration of ethanol alcohol (Renewable Fuel Standard Program. 2011). Using Ethanol as E85 has quantitatively replaced the gasoline in flexible fuel vehicles, which have engines designed for this special purpose so that they are compatible with the high concentration of ethanol. It has a high octane rate than gasoline and thus provides good performance and engine efficiency, but at the same time it has lower energy content and thus it gives less mileage as compared to gasoline of the same amount. United States was the world’s top producer of ethanol with 50 billion liters out of 86.9 billion liters all over the world in the year 2010. Every other car or automobile in US uses a blend of gasoline ethanol up to 10% as it is considered mandatory by the RFS program. There are also a great number of flexible fuel vehicles which use E85 and E100 as a fuel, but it can be affirmed that more energy is consumed as compared to gasoline (Lichts. 2010). As ethanol is a biofuel, it is mostly seen to be produced from the natural sources and products. Agricultural feed stocks such as sugar cane or corn which are considered renewable are being processed into ethanol by fermentation, distillation and dehydration, when after they undergo the process of photosynthesis for their growth. Petroleum is also a source of ethanol production in the world. About 5% of world’s ethanol is produced by the catalytic hydration of ethylene which is obtained from oil, gas, coal and other petroleum resources. Apart from sugar cane and corn, other feed stocks can also be used for the production of bio-ethanol, which include bagasse, miscanthus, sugar beet, sorghum, grain, switch grass, barley, hemp, kenaf, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, sunflower, molasses, stover, grain, wheat, straw, cotton and other biomass and cellulose harvestings. The only condition is that the process of photosynthesis should completely occur, i.e., plants absorb sunlight for their growth and all the minerals they produce like phosphorus etc should return to the land (Ethanol. 2012). Apart from its ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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