Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More on the energy intensity of E85

From Autoweek

The ethanol used to make E85 comes mostly from corn. One bushel of corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol. The corn is ground into a powder, which is treated with water, enzymes and ammonia. It is heated and stirred, then cooled before yeast is added. That starts the process of converting sugars in the "mash" into alcohol. There are a few more steps before the ethanol is ready to be mixed with gasoline.

The bottom line: Making E85 is an energy-intensive process. Researchers are divided over whether ethanol is an energy loser. It can be if the corn has to be shipped long distances to an ethanol plant. Much of the cost-effectiveness of producing ethanol depends on where the refinery is.


E85 said...

You should be ok putting quite a bit of E85 in your tank. Even if you fill 80% of your tank with E85, what is that, 35% will still be gasoline? Max.

There's an article by John Gilbert in the April 2006 issue of Sport Truck magazine. The Saab 9-5 2.0 BioPower cranks out more power with the E85, he states.

buzzcut said...

Dude, turbos love ethanol. The octane means that you can run a lot more boost and advance the timing as well. Thus, you can get MORE power from E85 than gas.

It does increase your mileage considerably, however.

buzzcut said...

Hey e85, you need to supplement your Tahoe with a Saab 9-5. Use the Tahoe for towing, the 9-5 for your daily driver.

You can get an ECU reflash for the 9-5 that makes it flex-fuel. You can essentially get the "Biopower" version of the 9-5 for nothing more than an ECU reflash.

I think that when my lease is up on the 9-3, I'm going to try and find a good used 9-5. Easier said than done, they don't make very many.

Chris said...

Hi Buzz,

You should set up some sort of way to track local E85 prices. With gasoline going up so much, I'm sure people wouldn't mind know how much E85 is going for at various stations in the area.

buzzcut said...

Chris, I drive by Meijer every morning, I could always just post the price I see.

It's been $2.84 for the last few days. $3.14 for regular.

Anonymous said...

I have an '04 Saab 9.3 2T Aero w/6 speed manual non-flex. The preferred fuel for me in it is E20-E30. With 90 octane NL the turbo will only spool to red zone- with E20 it will peg if you nail it and you better get ready for some torque steer. I buy this for about 25 cents less than what 90 octane NL costs. While I have tested E10-E60 in my none flex vehicles and all blends in my flex vehicles for mpg-- I have not yet done this on the Saab. (I picked it up last fall and as a 2wd and low skirt Aero version- it was parked for the winter)

1outlaw said...

I can buy E85 (E70 winter version) for $2.499 vs $3.299 for conventional NL and E10. E20 is at $3.189. Premium NL is about $3.39-3.49. The E20 is 91+octane

Chris said...

I saw E85 in Winfield for around $2.69 or something like that today. The price was looking pretty nice in comparison to regular unleaded. If I think about it, I might start doing a 1/2 and 1/2 -- alternating between E85 and reg. unleaded to fill up if the prices go up to $4.00 for regular unleaded like they've been predicting.