Bioethanol: FAQ

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The ethanol fuels questions and answers.

Keywords: biomass, biofuel, ethanol fermentation, how, benefits, figures, GES.

What is ethanol?

Ethanol is a liquid alcohol resulting from the fermentation of sugar or starch converted to sugar. In Canada and the United States, ethanol fuel is produced from grains such as corn, wheat and barley. A small amount of ethanol is currently produced on an experimental basis, from agricultural cellulosic biomass.

We use either ethanol as fuel mixtures ingredient or as a main fuel. There are two types of ethanol fuels:

  • The gasoline-ethanol blends low ethanol content (up to 10%). It can be used in today's vehicles. They are the main ethanol fuels used in Canada.
  • The ethanol-blended fuels with high ethanol content (in 60 85%). It can be used in special vehicles, called flex-built factory.

Why do we put ethanol in fuels?

The addition of ethanol to gasoline increases its octane index (an indicator of the knock resistance and resistance to premature ignition). Furthermore, ethanol contains oxygen, which is a cleaner and more complete combustion. The environmental quality is improved.

The development, production and sale of fuel retail ethanol are also the source of important new activities in rural areas and are creating new markets for grain grown in Canada.

How is it used ethanol benefit the environment?

The combustion of ethanol fuels, compared to gasoline, emits less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change. Ethanol is made from plants, which absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) during their growth. The complete life cycle of the fuel - that is to say the beginning of plant growth to the combustion in engines - gasoline blends to 10% ethanol produce up to 4% GHG least if the ethanol is produced from grain, and 8% less if from cellulosic biomass. Mixtures containing 85% ethanol (E85) can reduce emissions to 60 80%. So the use of ethanol-blended gasoline can help Canada meet its targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

Can we make use of ethanol fuels in any vehicle?

All automobiles manufactured from the 1970 years can be fed fuel containing up 10% ethanol.

(If in doubt, consult the owner's manual.) As for flex-fuel vehicles, they are designed for gasoline blends with higher ethanol content, but these mixtures are currently selling at any commercial fueling station in Canada.

Can we make use of ethanol fuels throughout the year?

Certainly. In fact, gasoline-ethanol qualities antifreeze gas line.

Vehicle manufacturers they approve the use of ethanol blends? These mixtures they affect the vehicle warranty?

All vehicle manufacturers approve the use of gasoline blends containing up to 10% ethanol in regular late model vehicles and a higher content of ethanol in flex-fuel vehicles. Moreover, several manufacturers are already producing flex-fuel vehicles that consume mixtures whose ethanol content can reach 85%. The warranty vehicle allows the use of ethanol-blended gasoline.

What is the effect of ethanol blends on vehicles?

Ethanol contributes to the cleanliness of the engine and cleaning the injection system. But since it helps to loosen contaminants and residues in the fuel system, its use may require you to change the fuel filter more often. Since 1985, all gasoline-ethanol blends and nearly all species without ethanol containing dispersant additives, which helps prevent the formation of injector deposits. Furthermore, ethanol-blended gasoline in no way impairs the functioning of the engine and its components.

Can you mix gasoline and ethanol-gasoline?

Yes, you can mix the gasoline-ethanol and gasoline "pure" in the same tank.

All types of gasoline used in Canada (including mixtures with low ethanol content) must meet regulatory standards.

What is the effect of ethanol-blended gasoline on fuel consumption?

Although mixtures 10% ethanol contain about 97% of the energy of gasoline "pure", this gap is partly offset by more efficient combustion.

The use of ethanol-blended gasoline could increase fuel economy in 2 3%. Several other factors have an effect on consumption; for example, driving 120 km / h increases fuel consumption 20% more than driving 100 km / h.


More details

synthetic scheme the biofuel sector (including ethanol).

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Other documents:
The Flex Fuel vehicles
Bioethanol report on France2
The cost of biofuels
Videoconferencing CNAM


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