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Old 03 March 2012, 05:38   #1
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Fuel and the alternatives UK?

Asf uel prices go through the roof again, what alternatives are open to us folk in the UK/Ireland?

I have though about distilling Ethanol for fuel (ONLY FUEL) and as we Irish are good at it using potatoes :-) I was wondering could Ethanol distilled from potatoes be used as a fuel for outboards?

OK first the legal aspect. Just what way does the law stand in the UK/Ireland on distilling for FUEL?

Ethanol can be used for two stroke engines with a fully synthetic oil without a great deal of modification to the engine.

So what else is available?
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Old 03 March 2012, 09:35   #2
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Sorry but....using even a 10% ethanol blend in a modern outboard engine will completely wreck it. I know that many modern car engines need little or no modifications to run on 25% or higher but I'm afraid this is definitely not the case for outboards. In the US people have to drive tens of miles to fill up their boats because finding ethanol free fuel over there has become very difficult.
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Old 03 March 2012, 09:36   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotchiguy View Post
Sorry but....using even a 10% ethanol blend in a modern outboard engine will completely wreck it. I know that many modern car engines need little or no modifications to run on 25% or higher but I'm afraid this is definitely not the case for outboards. In the US people have to drive tens of miles to fill up their boats because finding ethanol free fuel over there has become very difficult.
He's right about not using ethanol fuels. Not sure on the 10%, but you definitely won't be any good running on a high % of the stuff.
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Old 03 March 2012, 10:38   #4
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Even getting the stuff to the engine in the first place can be problematic...off the shelf plastic fuel tanks and hoses (of the sort designed for marine use) not specifically designed for ethanol contact can demonstrate accelerated degradation.
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Old 03 March 2012, 11:04   #5
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Originally Posted by gotchiguy View Post
Sorry but....using even a 10% ethanol blend in a modern outboard engine will completely wreck it.
I'm not sure this is true. There's a lot of hyperbole out there about ethanol laced gasoline, and very little in the way of hard data on failures. Do a search for ethanol-caused failures in the marine industry and you'll probably be surprised at how much theoretical evidence you come up with, how much supposition exists on failures ("it broke, so it must be ethanol"), and how few can be positively attributed to ethanol. The phase separation thing that scares most people off doesn't seem to be an issue (phase separation occurs when the alcohol absorbs moisture either from water ingress or from the atmosphere; in certain circumstances, it will cause the water and alcohol to drop out of the gasoline.) I have not heard of any more phase separation occuring than I did about water contaminated fuels using straight gasoline (which implis that it's simply water contamination rather than phase separation.) There is a known issue with some 1960's fiberglass fuel tanks that are not alcohol intolerant, and helped fuel the alcohol debate (if you'll excuse the pun), but they were limited to just a few makes: Bertram, Hatteras, and one other, as I recall; due to a specific vinylester resin used in the fiberglass itself.


Brazil has been running E85 for quite a few years, with minor alterations to vehicles and boats. As stated, it's mostly a matter of ensuring that plastic and rubber components are alcohol-compatible. There is a reduction in power using ethanol, as it's a lower energy fuel compared to gasoline (at least that's what I've heard.)

That said, production of ethanol is not exactly cheap. The arguments against include diesel costs for ethanol production at 2 gallons per gallon of yield (this being corn-based ethanol in the US.) Any end user savings tend to be offset by the increase in food prices due to shortage of the base stock (i.e. corn prices went up here since so much was diverted to ethanol production.


Quote:
In the US people have to drive tens of miles to fill up their boats because finding ethanol free fuel over there has become very difficult.
Yes, but people in the US are terror-stricken and misinformed, in the same manner that you are. E10 has been quietly run in about half the gas stations in California (and probably elsewhere) for about 20 years without anybody noticing or complaining. I'm sure a good deal of this went into marine engines on trailer boats. I use it without a thought and have for the 6 years I've been running this boat (and 5 on the last one) and have yet to experience any fuel related problems.

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Old 03 March 2012, 11:16   #6
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I know of several people in the USA that run home produced ethanol in both car and boat in Evinrude 75 and 150 outboards and all they changed was the type of oil used?

They have run it since new and one is 1975 vintage.
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Old 03 March 2012, 11:32   #7
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4.2.1 Exempt producers/users

If you have produced or used less than 2,500 litres of:
any biofuel, or
any other fuel substitute or additive

within the last 12 months, and/or expect to produce or use less than 2,500 litres in the next 12 months, you are an exempt producer and do not need to register with us and account for duty. However, there are simple record keeping requirements, which are described in paragraph 4.9.1.
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Old 03 March 2012, 11:55   #8
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Wonder how much the cost of producing ethanol in low volumes compares to the cost of buying petrol?

S'pose it depends on whether you have a still?
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Old 03 March 2012, 12:23   #9
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When the petrol prices went up to 30p a gallon the 1970s our company converted all the petrol cars to Lpg ,suppose one advantage nowadays is that the valves on older cars couldn't cope without absence of the lead in the petrol and every 60 miles or so you had to switch back to petrol for a few mins.where as modern unleaded valves could cope better with gas.

Speaking on the subject I have a few liters o emergency synthetic petrol,
engine needs to be hot to run but it's not a petrol Or alcohol based.
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Old 03 March 2012, 15:35   #10
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Also Ethanol absorbs water which causes even more problems its hygroscopic so it attracts water.
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