Is ethanol a useful fuel for electricity generation?

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Oneil

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Oneil asked the Naked Scientists:

Dear Dr. Chris is Ethanol an efficient alternative to Generate Electricity with a Gas turbine engine or Internal Combustion Engine?

What do you think?

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Offline RD

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Is ethanol a useful fuel for electricity generation?
« Reply #1 on: 23/08/2008 18:04:51 »
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The use of pure alcohols in internal combustion engines is only possible if the engine is designed or modified for that purpose. However, in their anhydrous or pure forms, they can be mixed with gasoline (petrol) in various ratios for use in unmodified automobile engines.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E10_fuel

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Ethanol, like other alternative/renewable fuels, has a lower calorific value than petrol.
This results in ethanol/petrol blends having a lower calorific value than that of neat petrol.
http://www.environment.gov.au/atmosphere/fuelquality/publications/ethanol-limit/pubs/ethanoljan02.pdf

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Offline daveshorts

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Is ethanol a useful fuel for electricity generation?
« Reply #2 on: 19/09/2008 11:22:21 »
The other problem is how you produce it, if you do it from Maize (corn) you don't gain much as it uses lots of energy to grow. If you can make ethanol from cellulose it makes more sense, but if you are generating electricity you should probably have burnt the cellulose

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Offline teragram

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Is ethanol a useful fuel for electricity generation?
« Reply #3 on: 21/09/2008 18:50:55 »
Forget burning the fuel, is there such a thing as a direct ethanol fuel cell, as there is a direct Methanol fuel cell (DMFC)? This would promise much better efficiency surely.