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Energy And Environment: Bio-ethanol As The Cleaner Fuel

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Introduction

In today’s time where the world is facing a financial global crisis the oil prices being dropped down to an extent where water is more expensive. We all could conclude one thing that we need a better ecofriendly and sustainable source of energy. Petroleum has been the back bone of all most all major industries post the industrialization era it has clearly been dominating the world global trade because it never had an alternative. A cleaner one a fuel much easier to produce and transport. But today as times change, we face this global crisis. As we come out of all this , one thing we need to understand clearly is that never take anything we have for granted.

Keeping this spirit in mind and in search of a cleaner and better alternative we decided to work on the project of bio-ethanol. As the name itself suggests this fuel itself is produced from bio-mass. So any country which consumes food can produce this fuel, the direct consequence of which would be the dominance of oil producing countries in the global trade would see a decline. The products being produced would be cheaper as energy is much more affordable for the industries.

But our motive for this project had never been a political one where we decrease the dominance of one over the other. This has to be the by-product of our major objective which is ‘To cherish what we have.’

We hence decided to work on an eco-friendly fuel which could be easily produced, stored and transported. After spending hours on research and discussing it with our teachers. We came to the conclusion that answer to our all our questions is BIO-ETHANOL.

Therefore, in this report we try to present to you how we wish to execute our plan to produce bio-ethanol. How we would store it? How would we transport it? What would be its applications and future of this project. The objective of this project is making a cleaner and cheaper fuel. But the long term aim always remains sustainability doing good for the mankind and making this world a better place to live in.

Literature Review

Bio-ethanol is an alcohol made by microbial fermentation, mostly from carbohydrates produced in sugar- or starch-bearing plants such as corn, sugarcane, sweet sorghum or lingo-cellulosic biomass. There are various different methods of producing bio-ethanol but the easiest and most economic methods are fermentation from sugar, fermentation from grain, fermentation from cellulose, direct hydration of ethylene etc. However, there are many other uneconomic methods but they are not a part of this report. After production of bio-ethanol it’s very important for us to store it. Hence, some preventive storage measures include keeping the ethanol produced, away from direct sunlight, store it in a cool and dry place. Choose a steel, UL-listed fibreglass or HDPE storage container for it’s storage and make sure to clean your tank before storing ethanol in it. The future of bio-ethanol appears to be bright as the need for renewable energy sources to replace dependence on foreign oil is in high demand. Hence, bio-ethanol is a cleaner and better alternative to be used as a fuel. Besides, it’s eco-friendly nature and easy methods of production, storage and transportation, it is renewable alternative diesel fuel that actually reduces a major greenhouse gas components in the atmosphere such as carbon monoxide, ozone forming hydrocarbons etc

History of Ethanol Production and Policy

The Energy Information Agency (2005) describes the history of ethanol. Ethanol’s first use was to power an engine in 1826, and in 1876, Nicolaus Otto, the inventor of the modern four-cycle internal combustion engine, used ethanol to power an early engine. Ethanol also was used as a lighting fuel in the 1850s, but its use curtailed when it was taxed as liquor to help pay for the Civil War. Ethanol use as a fuel continued after the tax was repealed, and fueled Henry Ford’s Model T in 1908. The first ethanol blended with gasoline for use as an octane booster occurred in the 1920s and 1930s, and was in high demand during World War II because of fuel shortages.

Early History of Ethanol Fuel in India

In 1977, six technical committees and four study groups were set up to examine the issue of blending of ethanol in petrol [4]. However, the findings of all the studies came into limelight only in the year 2000, when the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas took up the pilot project in three locations of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh to study the blending potential of ethanol in petrol and in diesel. These projects were implemented during the year 2001 at Miraj and Manmad in Maharashtra and Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh. Under these projects, ethanol blended petrol was sold through 300 retail outlets. During the year 2002, six more such projects were commissioned in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Simultaneously, Research and Development studies were also carried out on the effect of ethanol blended petrol on automobiles. After successful trials of pilot projects and the recommendations of Research and Development studies, Government of India proposed to implement this program to sell petroleum fuel blended with 5 % ethanol from January 2003 in nine states and four union territories. The combined demand was estimated to be 363 million litre/ year, whereas the oil companies could only purchase 196 million litre of ethanol. Difficulties in ethanol procurement were reported in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Production and Storage of Bioethanol

Production

Ethanol can be easily produced in small quantities at home with ease. Although a few pieces of equipment and a little bit of hard work would go along a long way to make more than a few small batches of usable ethanol.

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Gathering Raw Material

  1. Collect sugary fruits and vegetables past their prime and likely to be thrown. Usually, corn is used for making ethanol but we obtain the same with other produces of naturally high sugar content.
  2. For example, apple, bananas, pineapples, peaches, potatoes, and sugar beets have a higher amount of sugar than the rest of their counterparts.
  3. Take a big container and fill it with all your rotten materials up to a third. Make sure it doesn’t fill above a half or else it might flow when fermented.
  4. Mash up all the stuff inside the container with any blunt object until it resembles nothing but pulp this helps not only allowing the natural sugarsand creates room to add other necessary ingredients.
  5. Remember to cover your face as the bad smell is sure to be released by the rotten foods.

Fermentation

  • Adding Yeast: As a thumb of rule for every 9 kg of biomass, add 1 yeast packet. I’d suggest using distiller’s yeast as it is alcohol resistant, thus making it best to produce ethanol. Now churn the mixture until the yeast is completely mixed.
  • Adding Water: More like sprinkling just enough water so as to cover your biomaterial and keep it moist. Use warm and distilled water.
  • Cover It: Make sure the container is sealed so as to make it work.
  • Patience: Allow the material to ferment for around 10 days and avoid opening if at all possible.

Storage

A few basic qualities need to be kept in mind while storing ethanol. This can help prevent contamination of fuel and store it for a longer period of time. These basic points are useful for both storing for commercial purposes as well as storing in small quantities at home.

  1. Keep the biofuel out of direct sunlight. This will reduce the chances of evaporation by helping to maintain a stable and cool temperature. If possible, try storing the ethanol in a climate-controlled, cool environment.
  2. Store ethanol somewhere dry. Ethanol is hygroscopic in nature, which means it will attract moisture from the air. The mixing of water in ethanol has a significant effect on its use.
  3. Choose steel, UL-listed fiberglass, or HDPE storage container. Ethanol is corrosive to many common metals and plastics, such as aluminum, zinc, copper, polymers, rubbers, elastomers, glues, and sealants that have a dissolved alcohol base. Be sure your storage container is resistant to these effects. For personal storage needs, HDPE jerry cans are one of the most popular options. They can be found online and in hardware and automotive stores.
  4. Clean your tank properly before inputting your biofuel. Keep it open in the sun and allow the container and cap to dry completely.

USEFULNESS & Advantages of Ethanol fuels over Gasoline

Today, pollution is occurring on a vast and unprecedented scale around the globe. And in addition to this we are aware about the fact that, pollutants cause immediate and long term effects on the environment. One of the mostly used fuel in gasoline which v=can be replaced with ethanol fuel, in order to reduce the adverse effects on the environment.

Overall, ethanol is considered to be better for the environment than gasoline, which is a traditional option. For example, ethanol-fueled vehicles produce lower carbon dioxide emissions, and the same or lower levels of hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions.

  • E85, a perfect combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, also has fewer volatile components than gasoline, which implies fewer green-house gas emissions.
  • In add ion to this, adding ethanol to gasoline even in low percentages, such as 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline (E10), reduces carbon monoxide emissions from the gasoline and improves fuel octane{ 87 (regular), 88–90 (midgrade), and 91–94 (premium) }.
  • Ethanol production also supports farmers and creates domestic jobs.
  • And because ethanol is produced domestically—from domestically grown crops—it reduces country’s dependence on foreign oil and increases the nation’s energy independence.
  • Ethanol reduces the greenhouse emissions by up to 46 percent as compared to gasoline and in addition to this bio ethanol does not rely on the harmful chemical processing i.e. it further minimises the harmful effects of gasoline fuel.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, ‘unlike gasoline, pure ethanol is non-toxic and biodegradable, and it quickly breaks down into harmless substances if spilled.’

Unlike the fossil fuels including petroleum, bio ethanol is a form of renewable source of energy that can be produced from agricultural feed stocks. It can be made from very common crops such as hemp, sugarcane, potato, cassava and corn. Because they are renewable, bio fuels have been held up as probably the fastest and easiest fix to a large part of the carbon problem.

A National Geographic Magazine overview article (2007) puts the figures at 22% less CO2 emissions in production and use for corn ethanol compared to gasoline and a 56% reduction for cane ethanol.

Bioethanol

Depletion of fossil fuels is a global concern. It being the primary transportation fuel, its ever-rising demand clubbed with its environmental impacts like global warming and climate changes are red-flags that are bothering the governments, researchers, scientists, environmentalists alike. Therefore, biofuels (bio-based fuels), i.e. bio-alcohols (bioethanol and biobutanol) which are produced from natural materials have emerged as promising alternates for the fossil fuels. Their sustainability and environmental benefits make them as a viable option for the crude oil.

Future

  • Bioethanol is fast gaining usage as alternative option for transportation fuel or additives to gasoline in spark ignition (SI) engine due to its attractive properties of high octane number and reduced exhaust emissions.
  • Coming from renewable resource i.e. crops and not from a finite resource it is a “green Fuel”.
  • Encouraging bioethanol’s use can help avoid heavy reliance on oil producing nations.
  • It will serve as a boost to the rural economy by encouraging the farmers to grow crops necessary for the production of Bioethanol.
  • By using bioethanol in older engines can help reduce the amount of carbon monoxide produced by the vehicle thus improving air quality.
  • Bioethanol can be easily integrated into the existing road transport fuel system. In quantities up to 5%, bioethanol can be blended with conventional fuel without the need of engine modifications.

Indian perspective

India is a fast growing economy with an inherent increase in demand for energy. While keeping a huge population and limited energy resources in mind, the nation is looking for alternatives and bio-ethanol and biodiesel have been identified as the principal biofuels to be developed for the nation.

Challenges

  • Shifting the transport sector from petroleum and gasoline towards more sustainable, renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources such as bioethanol is one of the grand challenges in engineering.
  • Increase the cost-effectiveness of ethanol production, transition from the laboratory to the industrial/commercial scale, increase efficiency of the fermentation process to the point where all sugars (pentoses and hexoses) released during the pretreatment and hydrolysis steps are fermented into ethanol.
  • Technical barriers to second generation biofuel production include the variable composition of biomass, generation of inhibitors during presaccharification treatment, end-product inhibition, osmotic and oxidative stress, and ethanol accumulation.

Conclusion

Our world today is moving fast the growth we are experiencing is appreciable. But with this growth we must not forget the concept of sustainable development. As it has rightly been quoted by the father of our nation Mahatama Gandhi “ Be the change you want to see in this world.

Let us all be a part of this change and work towards a cleaner environment. Obviously we would not be able to see the results instantly but there would be changes and for good.

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430251/
  3. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-ethanol-fuel-1203777
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel#Carbon_dioxide
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofuel
  6. https://www.liveabout.com/vintage-cars-and-ethanol-fuels-726196
  7. https://sciencing.com/effects-car-pollutants-environment-23581.html
  8. https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/ethanol/
  9. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/energy/biofuels/energy-briefs/history-of-ethanol-production-and-policy
  10. www.sciencedirect.com
  11. www.biofueljournal.com
  12. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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Energy And Environment: Bio-ethanol As The Cleaner Fuel. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/energy-and-environment-bio-ethanol-as-the-cleaner-fuel/
“Energy And Environment: Bio-ethanol As The Cleaner Fuel.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/energy-and-environment-bio-ethanol-as-the-cleaner-fuel/
Energy And Environment: Bio-ethanol As The Cleaner Fuel. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/energy-and-environment-bio-ethanol-as-the-cleaner-fuel/> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
Energy And Environment: Bio-ethanol As The Cleaner Fuel [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/energy-and-environment-bio-ethanol-as-the-cleaner-fuel/
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