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Bio-Ethanol

Many scientists predict that the Earth will have run out of oil by 2050. If this is true then we have less than 50 years to find a suitable alternative to it. Many people are starting the think that the best alternative to oil is BioEthanol. hat is Bio Ethanol! "#$ Bio-Ethanol has the sa%e che%ical for%ula as regular ethanol "& 2'5('.$ In its pure for% it also shares the sa%e che%ical properties as regular ethanol. )his is because Ethanol and Bio-Ethanol are e*actly the sa%e co%pound. )he only difference between the% is the + water co%position and that Bio Ethanol is %ade fro% Biological %atter. Ethanol has 0+ water where as BioEthanol,s water concentration varies fro% -5+ - .5+ depending on what starting %aterial was used. 'ow do you %ake Bio-Ethanol! "/0#$ Bio-Ethanol is %ade using a fer%entation process. In this process a carbohydrate "usually grains i.e. %ai1e$ is heated to about 250c with a bacteria or fungi "usually yeast$ in anaerobic conditions. )he %i*ture is then left for a few days. 3uring this ti%e the yeast converts the carbohydrate to ethanol carbon dio*ide and water. Bio-Ethanol fro% beer! "4$ Bio-Ethanol can also be created in a si%ilar way using beer. Beer is %ade using e*actly the sa%e reaction as Bio-Ethanol accepts other food stuff,s are added for flavour. 'owever during this process a large a%ount of beer at the 5botto% of the barrel6 cannot be sold as it does not have the correct taste. )his beer generally has a low alcoholic content "75+.$ 3ue to its low alcoholic content it has to undergo other processes in order to %ake it usable. )hese processes %ainly include fractional distillation. hat can you use Bio-Ethanol for! "2-5$ )he largest use for Bio-Ethanol other than alcoholic beverages is fuel. )he water content of the Bio Ethanol depends on what the ethanol can be used for. /5+ Ethanol has li%ited uses generally s%all0 poor 8uality spirit burners. 90+ Ethanol can be used as a antibacterial wash. .0+ Ethanol can be used in boiler to heat houses. .5+ Ethanol can be used in so%e cases for engines with very low :;M /00+ Ethanol can be used in %ost car engines. )his ethanol generally has to be %i*ed with -0+ petrol in order for cars to run without any conversion. &ars can be converted to run on /00+ ethanol. Ethanol general run,s 8uite

well in %otorbike engines in lower concentrations due to the s%aller engine si1e.

hy is Bio-Ethanol considered a good fuel! "202$ Bio-Ethanol is considered a good fuel because it is renewable. )his %eans that we will always be able to %ake %ore ethanol. )his is in co%parison to fossil fuels such as petrol which have a li%ited 8uantity and will eventually run out. Burning fossil fuels also produces large a%ounts of &(2 it also can produces s%all a%ounts of <(20 and =(2. )his &(2 builds up and contributes to cli%ate change. )he <(20 and =(2 produce acid rain. >sing Bio-Ethanol as a fuel produces no <(20 and =(2 because of this it is better for the environ%ent. Bio-Ethanol is also %eant to be carbon neutral. )his is because when the sugar is growing it absorbs carbon dio*ide. hen the Bio-Ethanol is then burnt it releases all of the carbon dio*ide that it had absorbed0 this %akes it carbon neutral. Because of these two reasons %any people regard Bio-Ethanol as the proble% to cli%ate change. Because supplies of BioEthanol should re%ain constant "dependant on cli%ate$ the price of BioEthanol should re%ain constant as well. &urrently it is cheeper to run a car on Bio-Ethanol than on petrol costing around ?0.-0 per @ to produce -0+ ethanol at ho%e. ;roble%s with Bio-Ethanol it as a fuel! "202$ Although fro% the previous paragraph it sea%s that Bio-Ethanol is the solutions to the fuel crisis0 it has several proble%s. 1. Bio-Ethanol isn,t actual carbon neutral. &arbon dio*ide is produced in the fer%entation process. =ot only that0 but &arbon dio*ide is produced in the harvesting0 distribution and purification process. Although this &arbon dio*ide can be reduced by using solar power and ethanol powered vehicles0 the reaction will never be carbon neutral. 2. Making Bio-Ethanol is a slow processes it takes generally takes about a week to produce a batch. Because of this it would re8uire %assive infrastructure to produce Bio-Ethanol at the rate re8uired for co%%ercial use. 2. In order to %ake Bio-Ethanol you re8uire a large a%ount of carbohydrates. )his cannot be grown all year round and so%eti%es not in certain countries. )his %eans that you would have to stockpile large a%ounts of sugar in the su%%er %onths and ship it around in the winter %onths. #. Ethanol is a poor fuel for vehicles0 although producing less heat in its reactions this %aking it %ore fuel efficient0 the ethanol reacts with the %etal and rubber parts of the vehicle thus reducing its life and increasing its %aintenance cost.

5. =ot all of the plant %atter is converted into ethanol. )his %eans that the reaction has a very low percentage yield. )his %eans that it produces lots of unwanted waste. 4. Binally growing large a%ounts of carbohydrates uses lots of space. )his space could be used to grow carbohydrates for use as food. )he carbohydrates are often grown in poorer countries such as Bra1il. In these countries the space for growing carbohydrates used for fuel could be used to produce food for people. Many people say that richer people are killing third world people needless because of there want of lu*uries such as vehicles. 'owever starvation rates in Bra1il sea% not to have changed even with a %assive increase in land used for fuel. Although I went into this research with a negative attitude towards BioEthanol0 I have co%e to relies that it is not as bad an alternative to oil as I first thought. It sea%s that Bio-Ethanol can be produced econo%ically and that it is a safe and cleaner fuel. 'owever I don,t think that it is the solution to the world,s energy crisis. )his is because the a%ount of carbohydrates re8uired to produce that %uch ethanol would be %assive to the point of inpractablilty0 because of this I think ethanol is a s%all scale solution to a big scale answer. &ould you save %oney by %aking your own Bio-Ethanol at ho%e! It currently costs ?0.//Clb for sugar. )he boiler would use 2.4kw. )he current rate for electricity is 0./5pCkwh. )his %eans it costs 2-pChour to run the boiler )he fer%entation process takes about / week. Ber%entation is e*other%ic0 therefore if the vessel is insulated properly0 should generates enough heat to keep the %i*ture at the opti%u% 2#0&. )he distillation takes around 20%ins per @ /0lb produces around 2.5@ of E/00 )herefore /@ of E/00 costs ?0.425 /@ of petrol costs ?/.29

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