Is there ethanol in petrol here?

IIRC the questions come up before, but not been answered.

There’s some muted grumbling in the UK press because the EU is apparently moving to 15% ethanol, which is likely to damage cars, especially older ones.

Since I run an older one, I thought I should try and find out if its likely to be an issue here.

There’s an ongoing urban myth that CPC “waters down” its petrol, presumably with ethanol. I can’t think why they would, and I’ve never seen any actual confirmation that they do.

The EU are moving to ethanol because there’s another urban myth that it’s “green”. I can’t imagine Taiwan being concerned with such things.

It will probably be seen as Eco friendly i feel. Unfortunately my Rally car runs on Race fuel which is currently $9 US per litre. At least it does 1 km per litre :cry:
Article from Bloomberg Business week

Where’s the Logic?

First, the primary job of the Environmental Protection Agency is, dare it be said, to protect our environment. Yet using ethanol actually creates more smog than using regular gas, and the EPA’s own attorneys had to admit that fact in front of the justices presiding over the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1995 (API v. EPA).

Second, truly independent studies on ethanol, such as those written by Tad Patzek of Berkeley and David Pimentel of Cornell, show that ethanol is a net energy loser. Other studies suggest there is a small net energy gain from it.

Third, all fuels laced with ethanol reduce the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and the E85 blend drops gas mileage between 30% and 40%, depending on whether you use the EPA’s fuel mileage standards (fueleconomy.gov) or those of the Dept. of Energy.

Fourth, forget what biofuels have done to the price of foodstuffs worldwide over the past three years; the science seems to suggest that using ethanol increases global warming emissions over the use of straight gasoline. Just these issues should have kept ethanol from being brought back for its fourth run in American history.

Don’t let anybody mislead you: The new push to get a 15% ethanol mandate out of Washington is simply to restore profitability to a failed industry. Only this time around those promoting more ethanol in our gas say there’s no scientific proof that adding more ethanol will damage vehicles or small gas-powered engines. With that statement they’ve gone from shilling the public to outright falsehoods, because ethanol-laced gasoline is already destroying engines across the country in ever larger numbers.

I heard it’s not so much the ethanol itself that damages the engine, it’s contaminants (principally water). Any idea if this is true? I think it’s common knowledge that ethanol is environmentally and economically damaging, but the destruction happens in other countries (mostly Brazil), and that doesn’t count.

Anyways, I can’t see this happening in Taiwan because the situation is different. For reasons unknown, Taiwan has a crusty, outdated petrochemical industry which the gov’t has vowed to protect with its citizen’s lives. It does not have an ethanol industry, a vocal farmer’s lobby, or any interest whatsoever in environmental issues.

it took a hell of a long time for taiwan to even stop making leaded gas. I think its all unleaded now right? or still leaded?

how much is a gallon of 92 now? (say 4 liters).

We are paying bout 4.25/gallon for regular these days .

[quote=“finley”]There’s an ongoing urban myth that CPC “waters down” its petrol, presumably with ethanol. I can’t think why they would, and I’ve never seen any actual confirmation that they do.

The EU are moving to ethanol because there’s another urban myth that it’s “green”. I can’t imagine Taiwan being concerned with such things.[/quote]

I thought the myth was that Formosa was the lower quality petrol.

I agree that there is this myth about ethanol being green but I also think there is a myth about it damaging engines.

Gas is 36 NT/liter for 95 octane or 4.55/gallon. You can’t directly compare US and TW octane numbers because they use different measurement systems and I don’t know how they compare.

I thought it unlikely (and, IIRC, said so in the “watered-down gas” (2 misnomers there) thread,) for the above reasons.

OTOH, Taiwan does tend to follow fashion, particularly US fashions, without much consideration as to whether they actually make sense, so I wasn’t completely sure.

The downsides I’ve heard of are attack of rubber and plastic components in the fuel system, corrosion of alloys, especially those used in carburettors, absorbtion of atmospheric water (though that could sometimes be a benefit) and increased fuel volatility, leading to vapour lock and fuel starvation, especially when its hot.

Only Upside I know of is a raised octane number, and perhaps a bit more charge-cooling. Higher octane fuel blends are apparently more likely to contain alcohol, even where this is not mandatory, as I believe is the case in Taiwan.

I understand regular in the USA equates to 92 in TAiwan
And Premium in the USA equates to 95 in Taiwan

one US gallon is 3.78541 liters.

nt 36/liter for 95 would equate to roughly usd 4.62 / gallon (using 1/29.5 FX)

which is pretty similar to here. premium here is roughly 20cent / gallon more then regular.

The interesting thing is that we have a huge variance in prices between gas stations, whereas IIRC All stations in Taiwan sell CPC gas at the same price and FOrmosa gas at the same price (but of the two Formosa is cheaper).

We see 20cent/gallon or more differences between stations just even a mile apart even.

Taiwan definitely doesn’t have pricing competition. the only time that I’ve seen higher prices is if I’m out in the boonies. In the US the pricing is due to competition but not for gas sales. It’s all about convenience store sales.

Thinking about it, I suppose Its not inconceivable that a lobby could develop. The remains of Taiwan Sugar Corporation might have an interest, and they have relevant experience, since they used to run trains on ethanol by-product of sugar-refining, and they own filling stations.

OTOH, apart from some “industrial heritage” sites, the refining infrastructure is mostly scrapped, [EDIT:Actually, website says they run 4 refineries “right now” with a “melting capacity” (?) of 1200 tons/day, though they don’t give a date for “right now”.ENDEDIT]

I’d guess they’re making too much selling off the land assets to be interested in something like this, though.

[quote]Thinking about it, I suppose Its not inconceivable that a lobby could develop. The remains of Taiwan Sugar Corporation might have an interest, and they have relevant experience, since they used to run trains on ethanol by-product of sugar-refining, and they own filling stations.

OTOH, apart from some “industrial heritage” sites, the refining infrastructure is mostly scrapped, and I’d guess they’re making too much selling off the land assets to be interested in something like this.[/quote]

There was some foolish talk about brewing ethanol from sweet potatoes a couple of years back. In that regard, the land price bubble is a very good thing, because it ensures that these hairbrained schemes are not financially viable.

[quote=“finley”][quote]Thinking about it, I suppose Its not inconceivable that a lobby could develop. The remains of Taiwan Sugar Corporation might have an interest, and they have relevant experience, since they used to run trains on ethanol by-product of sugar-refining, and they own filling stations.

OTOH, apart from some “industrial heritage” sites, the refining infrastructure is mostly scrapped, and I’d guess they’re making too much selling off the land assets to be interested in something like this.[/quote]

There was some foolish talk about brewing ethanol from sweet potatoes a couple of years back. In that regard, the land price bubble is a very good thing, because it ensures that these hairbrained schemes are not financially viable.[/quote]

Depends how you define “financially viable”. Arguably the US/European schemes aren’t either, but with govt subsidy/mandate, which can perhaps be stimulated by some pump-priming red envelopes, that doesn’t necessarily matter.

Ethanol is a joke unless you are Brazilian. The US has too much natural gas now , why don’t they convert to that instead?

I remember reading the Japanese made methanol from either sweet potato or sugar cane during WII in Taiwan, t was bombed out by the Americans.

[quote=“headhonchoII”]Ethanol is a joke unless you are Brazilian. The US has too much natural gas now , why don’t they convert to that instead?

I remember reading the Japanese made methanol from either sweet potato or sugar cane during WII in Taiwan, t was bombed out by the Americans.[/quote]

History reverses itself?

I think that’d be ethanol, though. AFAIK you can’t make methanol on an industrial scale by fermentation, the most likely method if you’re starting from sugar cane. (Some bacteria do produce it, though.)

I saw some big shiny new fermentation plants in Thailand a couple of years ago, and IIRC the signage indicated they were for alcohol biofuel.

The Japanese were making ethanol from sugar cane according to this - aiche.org/sites/default/file … 120441.pdf

In WWII they were also producing methanol which they need for aircraft fuel.

You can make methanol from bagasse (sugar-cane residue) by oxygen-limited combustion producing CO + H which can then be synthesised into methanol. First large-scale synthesis was in the 1920’s, (though not from biomass) so the technology might have been available to the Japanese.

The “traditional” source is destructive distillation of wood. I’d guess that might work with bagasse, but I’d think the yield would probably be low.

I remember reading somewhere that the first postwar Honda motorcycles ran on a distillate from pine tree roots. The technology was developed during the war for aircraft fuel, the pine roots being dug-up and gathered by school children. I dunno if roots offer any chemical advantage, but I’d guess they used roots because all the above-ground timber had gone.

“Interesting Times”

[EDIT: Looks like roots are actually the preferred feedstock, despite the difficulty of getting them. ENDEDIT]

http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/Tom%20Reels/Linked/TOM%20231%20Complete/TOM-231-0866-0915%20X38N-4%20Encl%20C.pdf

I finally found the link, the Japanese were producing Ethanol and Butanol (not Methanol). This is an excellent book to get an idea of Taiwan in the 1940s, pre and post war. It shows the damage done to Taiwan by KMT incompetence and corruption AND bombing of the industrial base by American forces. Chiayi was a relatively important city during the Japanese colonial era, it has returned to being a backwater for the last 60 odd years.

homepage.usask.ca/~llr130/taiwan … alling.pdf

[quote]The Japanese made great efforts to become independent as far
as possible from outside fuel supplies and developed the manufacture
of alcohol both from molasses and from the sweet potato. An alcohol
factory was often found adjacent to a sugar factory. In Kagi, however,
a large factory controlled by the China Petroleum Company, a branch
organisation of the Government National Resources Commission, also
produced under the Japanese butanol, acetone and ordinary alcohol.
Butanol was used for making 100 octane aviation petrol. Naturally it
came in for very special attention from American bombing and was
ninety percent destroyed, fire adding to the destruction.
In this, the whole town of Kagi also suffered and was very
seriously damaged. In full production the factory employed 3,200people but the number employed after the change-over was gradually reduced to about 130. The unemployment in this town was therefore
serious and as much of the surrounding country was devoted to
growing the sweet potato for the factory, the farmers had difficult times
also. The fact was that the factory was the biggest in the Far East and
one-fifth of the population of Kagi depended on it.[/quote]

My mother-in-law often talks about how they had nothing to eat but sweet potato back then.

I’d guess Taiwanese schoolchildren were also dragooned into collecting pine roots. Perhaps you could ask your mother-in-law?

It’d be a wee “living history” footnote. :slight_smile: