It looks like they have finally found a new source of plant life to make ethanol out of: Algae. I have read lots of reports over the years and scientists have been trying to find alternatives to corn. If it grows, it has been tested. There are many plants out there that can be made into ethanol but one must also look into other factors as well. Items such as cost in producing the ethanol; how much ethanol per acre and so on.
Right now corn has been the easiest to convert into ethanol. Depending upon the report, corn can produce 300-450 gallons of ethanol per acre per year. The cost per gallon is approximately $1.75. Most of that cost is in the fuel it takes to make the fuel.
Another issue that corn ethanol faces is the perception of the general public. So many people think that ethanol is taking food from our plates. This is not true. First, there are four categories of corn: sweet corn (corn on the cob), corn for human food (cereals etc.), corn for animal food, and corn for ethanol. The US produces so much corn that we exported more than 30 million tons last year alone according to www.grains.org. So everyone that thinks ethanol is taking food from our plates is mistaken.
A recent article in Biofuels Digest talks about how a company called Algenol has developed a way to produce ethanol from algae. The actual production process is so much more efficient compared to corn ethanol. So much so that the actual cost to produce a gallon of algae based ethanol is only $1.30. That is $.45 less than corn based ethanol. In addition, the “algae farm” can produce 8,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year. Whereas corn is only produced once per, algae is continuously growing all year long. That is almost 200% more ethanol per acre than corn ethanol and it is cheaper.
Algenol is based in Ft. Myers Florida and says it will go into production for next year and, “…will distribute and market the fuel for E15 and E85 applications for both retail stations and general public consumption, as well as fleet applications.”
With this new type of ethanol will there still be issues with it like we have now? The answer is yes. When you compare the two processes to make the ethanol, it all comes down to getting the sugars out of the plant life and then making it into ethanol. So it will be the same stuff as corn ethanol. We will still have the fast decay, the fuel lines getting hard, the hard starting and so on. Do not get me wrong. Ethanol is great as it does decrease our dependency on foreign oil, it reduces emissions, it helps the economy. It just has an “evil side” to it that if dealt with properly is very manageable.
Fortunately, B3C Fuel Solutions makes products that will protect the fuel systems from the ethanol related problems. If you are one that has an issue with gas going bad in your equipment, Mechanic In A Bottle will fix fuel related issues without the need to remove any of the fuel system parts. Once the equipment is running properly, protect the fuel system from ethanol problems by using Ethanol Shield. Ethanol Shield will prevent the gas from going bad for a year and it will protect the fuel system from the evils of ethanol. In addition, Ethanol Shield has extra anti-oxidants, anti-corrosives, and vapor corrosion inhibitors to protect the equipment and prolong the life of the fuel. Our Combustion Cool Technology will prevent equipment from running too hot making equipment easier to start and operate.
And remember, B3C Fuel Solutions does not use alcohol, petroleum distillates, or enzymes as a base for our products. The base of each product is fully synthetic.