The Ethanol Papers - Paperturn manuscript - Flipbook - Page 126
gasoline engine. The results are due to engine optimization, not energy content
of the fuel.
My guess is that if diesel engines had continued to be
fueled with peanut or seed oil that the petroleum oil industry would have found a way to make peanut butter illegal.
The BTU argument is simply a marketing and labeling
strategy used by the oil industry. There is no Law of Physics involved. The oil industry uses British Thermal Units
like the Wizard of Oz used smoke and loud noises to confuse the public, but behind the curtain, it's all due to mechanical contrivances.
An ethanol-optimized internal combustion engine running
on ethanol will match or outperform a comparable gasoline
optimized internal combustion engine running on gasoline.
An ethanol-optimized ICE will power a vehicle to go faster and go farther per
gallon of fuel than a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle. And gasoline used
in an ethanol-optimized engine will get less MPG than if ethanol is used.
Here's another take on the BTU issue: In 1936, William J. Hale, Ph.D., published a book titled "PROSPERITY BECKONS - Dawn of the Alcohol Era." Hale
was a leading chemical engineer of his day. He was Director of the DOW
CHEMICAL Organic Research Laboratory, Chairman of Division Chemistry and
Chemical Technology, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., consultant to the Chemical Warfare Service, visiting Professor of Chemurgy at Connecticut, and President of the National Agrol Company.
In his book, Dr. Hale writes that the inefficiency of burning gasoline in a gasoline-optimized internal combustion engine loses 25% of its energy value,
whereas alcohol (ethanol) "enters into complete combustion" in the engine.
Therefore, instead of comparing gasoline's 116,000 BTUs to ethanol's 76,000
BTUs (and advancing the idea that ethanol has 33% less energy than gasoline,
as the oil industry lays out their story), you should deduct one-fourth of the gasoline BTUs. This makes the comparison 87,000 BTUs for gasoline versus
76,000 for ethanol, presumably giving ethanol 12% less BTUs, not 33% less.
"Thus," Hale writes, "the custom of comparing fuels on their potentially available
British Thermal Units becomes at once obsolete."