Friday, July 10, 2009
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What is ethanol?
Ethanol is pure grain alcohol, or ethyl alcohol. Fuel-grade ethanol is 200-proof ethyl alcohol denatured with small amount of gasoline to render it non-potable, or unsuitable for human consumption. Such fuel-grade alcohol is later mixed with a larger percentage of unleaded gasoline (usually 10-85 percent) to create fuel for combustion engines. Will my vehicle run on ethanol? All vehicles since the 1980s are capable of running on E10 with no engine modifications necessary.

Will ethanol hurt my car's fuel system?
No, E10 will not harm your fuel system. Ethanol-blended gasoline absorbs moisture in a fuel system and helps prevent frozen fuel lines in the winter. Ethanol is also a solvent and keeps injectors and other components clean.

Can ethanol be used in small engines?
Yes, the manufacturers of small engines, such as outboard motors, lawnmowers, and chainsaws, build them to use E10 with no modifications just as automakers do.

Can my vehicle can use E85?
E85 is an alternative fuel comprised of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline for use in Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) which are identified and marketed as such. Use of E85 in non-FFVs is not covered by manufacturers' warranties. If your vehicle is not identified as an FFV, you can check your owners manual and your gas cap to see what kind of fuel is acceptable.

How does ethanol affect gas mileage?
Studies have indicated that fuel economy with ethanol-blended fuels may decrease. However, it is not likely with E10. E85 has approximately 27% less energy then pure gasoline, but fuel economy loss varies from 10 to 25%.

What is ethanol made from?
Ethanol is made by fermenting almost any material that contains starch. Grains such as corn, sorghum, potatoes, and sugarcane are good sources, but new technology makes the creation of ethanol from cellulosic material such as corn stalks, paper pulp, and switch grass possible.

How is ethanol made?
Ethanol is produced by taking the starch or sugar portion of feedstock and fermenting it. The fermented starch is then distilled into alcohol. The excess water is removed so the resulting ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is pure, or 200 proof.

How much ethanol can be made from a bushel of corn?
A bushel of corn produces about 17 lbs of carbon dioxide, 16 lbs. of distiller's grains and 2.8 gallons of ethanol.