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High compression motor optimized for Ethanol fuel.

Discussion in 'Engine Building' started by where eagles dare, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. where eagles dare

    where eagles dare Member

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    I would like to publish a manual that would describe the process of optimizing a D or B series motor to burn Ethanol or grain alchohol. The properties of Ethyl Alcohol would make it an ideal candidate for a high compresion motor. The trade off is, of corse, more fuel is required.

    I already have a working, small scale distillery that has the ability to produce enough fuel to meet my transportation requirements. Currently, my ethanol is used in the production of biodiesel to run a generator, and power another vehichle. however we are not going to produce biodiesel any more because the generator has been replaced by new equipment and the home-brew process is very time-consuming. This leaves me with the need for a new use of the Ethanol. Naturally, I chose my Del Slow.

    For my ethanol: The feedstock comes from a variety of sources listed from worst to best:

    1. Cellulose (newspaper, sawdust, corn husk, etc)

    2. Starches: Corn, Potatoes, Wheat, etc.

    3. Sugar crops: sugar beets, sugar cane, sweet sorghum, ripe fruits.

    For those of us who live in an urban place, the first option may be more economic. Although I am able to obtain "expired" produce from small groceries and markets in my area and use this to make my mash.

    Knowledge on making alcohol is easily available and the process is beyond the scope of this short post. Most people could produce a usable fuel in their back yard with minimal equipment.

    I'm interested in gaining any knowledge or experience from those who have used ethanol, methanol, or other high octane fuels in a modified, high compression application of our honda motors. I know there is a wealth of this kind of experience on this forum. I look forward to our discussion.
     
  2. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    I don't know anyone personally who has tried to run a setup like this- but if you do have any information about it- please post it up! I'm very interested in seeing how you're able to run home-brew alcohol fuels in your car.

    How do you control the alcohol fuel mixture properties? You have to keep it fairly consistent in order to have any kind of stable engine tune...
     
  3. where eagles dare

    where eagles dare Member

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    I have a two part process. The critical, and most labor intensive part is the fermentation process which requires just the right circumstances regardless of the feedstock. (amount of fermentable sugars in the mash, temp, PH, strain of yeast). Once I have a good batch of beer, (anywhere from 12-20% alcohol depending on the success of the fermintation) it goes to the 'still.

    The "control" for my process is in the design of the distillery. That is actually the easy part because it runs itself. I have an old hot water heater w/ two electronic heating elements connected to a thermostat. I use a reflux column design which is very efficient. (The design for a reflux-column distillery is described in depth in Perry's Chem. Handbook).

    The still is able to produce anywhere from 10-15 gallons in 36 hours. The actual labor I put in including "collecting" fruits and sugar crops for the mash ends up being around 10 hours per week. Gas here is around 2.50 per gallon right now. I'm paying about .10 cents per gallon in production cost, plus 10 hours per week of my time. If I were to produce my own crops to distill, the cost and labor would go up quite a bit, but it would still be more economical than 2.50 per gallon for petrol.

    But back to the point. I want to build a motor that is optimized for this fuel source. Most of the liturature on this involves uping the comression, advancing the timing, and adding some type of heating element to the intake to help the fuel vaporize better. There is no documentation on the overall reliablility of the methods used to convert existing engines to run ethanol. But i know there is a wealth of knowledge in the racing community on running high compression motors. I think the honda D, or B series would be ideal, because there is already a large maket for aftermarket pistons, and engine work. Also I assume the stand alone management systems like the hondata could be programed to optimize perfomance running ethanol.

    I might be interested in eventaully marketing a kit that could be purchased and installed by a mechanic, or a handy owner. There is a lot of interest in alternative fuels and it will continue to rise. Ethanol can't meet all of our energy demands, but it would make a good suplement. It is clean, renewable, and domestic. Unfortunently petrol can't make a claim for any of these benefits.
     
  4. jimboburgess

    jimboburgess Go fast, Go Cheap

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    Can't drink Gasoline, either! If you are going about this leagally, Do you add anything that would cause irritation if you drank the ethanol, similar to N2O?
     
  5. where eagles dare

    where eagles dare Member

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    Well, ethanol is the same type of alcohol used in beverages, but mine is fuel grade, it still contains fusel oil and other contaminents which are not to kind to humans. You could drink it, but you would probably go blind, or worse. I have a "fuel distillers' permit" from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Also I'm required to denature (poison) the alcohol to avoid the taxes on beverage alcohol. My opperation is legit.

    However, I do lend my knowledge to some folks on the block who are mashin' corn, at it's not for their cars either :)
     
  6. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    how have you tuned the engines that are running on alcohol? are you running 100% alcohol or is it a fuel/alcohol mix? what mixture if so?
     
  7. where eagles dare

    where eagles dare Member

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    That's just it, I'm haven't tuned an engine to run alcohol yet. I'm trying to gain said knowledge. Most of the "guides" for converting an internal combustion engine to run ethanol are from the 70's and deal w/ altering carburetors. I think the fuel supply problem could be solved w/ a programable ECU. And i know you could run a pretty high compression to take advantage of the insane octane rating (equivalent to 110 octane).

    The ethanol I produce is as pure as you can get through distilation. To get 200 proof, anhydrous ethanol you would need a molecular sieve. It's really not worth it either. Many people have had success with running 160 proof and above, and this was without the aide of Programable Fuel Injection. I think the vast knowledge-base of ECU programing (PGMFI.org) combined with the availability of high-comression aftermarket engine parts makes the Civic a perfect candidate for DIY alcohol cars.

    And to answer your other question GSRCRXsi: My alcohol is not mixed with petrol at any ratio. It would have to be 200 proof to do so, because ethanol and petrol will not mix in the presence of water.
     
  8. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    ok heres a question. if the octane rating is high, around 110 as you say, why is it necessary to use more of it? why not just through it in and tune it as if it were gasoline? would o2 sensors and stuff still work with an alcohol fuel? im talking wideband sensors to actually tune with.
     
  9. where eagles dare

    where eagles dare Member

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    Ethyl alcohol contains only about 60% of the energy of gasoline. I'm assuming that more would be needed to provide the same power. However this could be counteracted by raising the compression ratio of the cylinder if I'm correct...
     
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