May 06 2011

Brain Dead Reporting from Fox News

I was recently pointed to this news report from a local Fox affiliate – about an inventor who has developed an engine that can burn water. This is a topic well-covered in skeptical and scientific circles. The inventor, Denny Klein, makes all the typical claims that are made for such systems.

Briefly – you cannot use water as a fuel source. What Klein is doing is using electricity to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen. Then he burns the hydrogen gas back with oxygen, creating a flame and water. The news report begins with his demonstration of his “oxyhydrogen” torch. But then it goes on to claim that Klein can also use his technique to fuel a car. The problem with this approach is that it takes more energy to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen then is recouped by burning the hydrogen back with oxygen. Water is therefore not a source of energy. At best it is a source of hydrogen which can be used to store energy – but you have to put the energy into it in the first place. All Klein’s process adds is an unnecessary step that decreases engine efficiency.

Klein’s device is nothing new, and his crank claims for it only demonstrate his lack of Google skilz. In fact, the oxyhydrogen torch was the first type of welding torch developed. This technology is 200 years old – it was first developed by chemist, Robert Hare.

The real story here is the horrible quality of the reporting. The reporter, Craig Patrick, and the Fox news outlet needs to be called on their absolutely brain-dead reporting. Clearly they did not actual research, no journalism, and they reported the story without a hint of skepticism. It’s as if they let Klein write the story himself, and all they did was add in obligatory cheesy comments.

The electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen is nothing new, and using hydrogen gas as a fuel for a blowtorch is nothing new (by two centuries). Using water to fuel an engine, such as a car engine, is the equivalent to claiming to have developed a perpetual motion machine. The reporter lets Klein get away with the bait and switch that has occurred so often it is a cliche – demonstrating a “hybrid” car that runs on gasoline and water, but claiming that a water-only model is possible. The vehicles that run on gasoline and water are running on – gasoline. That is the only fuel source. The water is an entirely unnecessary step. All Klein’s engine is doing is wasting energy converting water into hydrogen and oxygen and then back into water again. He chasing his chemical tail. And he marvels that he can travel 100 miles on only four ounces of water (oh yeah, and all that gasoline he burned).

All this, of course, does not mean he can run a car on water alone. If he thinks he can do that – then demonstrate an actual water-only car. That’s the thing we never see – because it’s impossible.

Reporter Craig Patrick follows with a gushing report of how Klein is developing a Hummer for the military and was invited by Congress to demonstrate his technology. This is followed, of course, by breathless reports of how this can change the world, and make us independent of fossil fuels. The anchors then gush about how this technology is passing all safety inspections and looks  good to go. Now all we have to worry about is the price of water going up (don’t you just love local news humor).

The one thing I am never sure of when watching these ridiculous news stories is whether or not the inventor is a crank or a scam-artist. (Okay – with Dennis Lee we can be pretty sure, given his convictions for fraud.) The news report is basically a commercial for his company. Can this guy really be so clueless that he is unaware that he just reinvented the same electrolysis device that has been reinvented 1000 times before? Is he blinded by hubris and ambition, or does this guy know exactly what he’s doing?

A real journalist would have done a story exploring free energy scams, and exposing this nonsense for what it is, so that their viewers don’t get taken in by scams or pseudoscience. Instead, Fox News misinformed their viewers and did everything they could to make them more susceptible to free energy scams. That’s some fine reportifying.

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51 responses so far

51 Responses to “Brain Dead Reporting from Fox News”

  1. OxRodon 06 May 2011 at 9:23 am

    Bad science reporting on Fox news? For real?

  2. DocMon 06 May 2011 at 10:11 am

    [quote]Water is therefore not a source of energy. At best it is a source of hydrogen which can be used to store energy – but you have to put the energy into it in the first place.

    [...] The vehicles that run on gasoline and water are running on – gasoline. That is the only fuel source. The water is an entirely unnecessary step. All Klein’s engine is doing is wasting energy converting water into hydrogen and oxygen and then back into water again.[/quote]

    I don’t want to be pedantic, but if you look at the complete lifecycle of the gasoline, it is not the fuel source either. It is just the chemical storage for energy that ultimately came from the sun.

    That may look like nitpicking, but in the current situation it could help to remember that our problem is not so much energy production as energy storage and our limited possibilities for that. Hydrogen offers interesting possibilities for energy storage (as well as a huge amount of problems), which is what gives this scam some appearance of plausibility.

    Of course that is totally besides the point when you want to bemoan the state of science reporting.

  3. Karl Withakayon 06 May 2011 at 10:30 am

    “It is just the chemical storage for energy that ultimately came from the sun”

    If you really want to get nit pickety, the energy form the sun is a result of the the sun’s gravity producing energy through hydrogen fusion (mostly) via the proton-proton chain in the sun. So it’s really fusion power initiated & sustained by gravity. E=mc^2

  4. Steven Novellaon 06 May 2011 at 10:37 am

    But the energy is already in the gasoline – so it is an energy source. You don’t have to put energy into it from some other source.

    Hydrogen would also be an energy source if there were free hydrogen on the earth – but their isn’t.

  5. Enzoon 06 May 2011 at 11:11 am

    Everyone involved in this story deserves to be called out. Cold-fusion and perpetual energy machines are bad enough but this is high-school chemistry. Klein doesn’t even bother to invoke quantum mechanics to provide a layer of impenetrability. By this standard, a kid in chem lab makes the news every night with a simple electrolysis setup.

    Why can’t reporters spend five minutes on Google looking for legitimate research in gasoline energy sources? At least copy NPR SciFri for goodness sake.

  6. Karl Withakayon 06 May 2011 at 11:19 am

    Good point, Steven. Most energy sources ultimately trace back to gravity sustained fusion or gravity, but that’s rarely relevant to most discussions.

    Fossil fuels: Solar energy into biomass into hydrocarbon fuels.

    Alcohol, biodiesel, etc: See previous, but with shorter turn around.

    Wind power: Result of weather driven by solar energy.

    Hydroelectric: Water cycle driven by solar energy.

    Horse/oxen power: Solar energy into plants, plants consumed by animals in food chain, animal produce work from consumed food energy.

    Nuclear fission: Result of fission of heavy elements generated in supernova explosions due to gravitational collapse.

    Tidal power: Harnessing the gravitational forces of the moon and the rotation of the Earth to produce electricity.

    Geothermal: Harnessing heat from a combination of radioactive decay of elements (formed in supernova’s) in the Earth’s core, heat generated by the formation (gravitational accretion) of the Earth, and solar energy absorbed by the Earth.

  7. tmac57on 06 May 2011 at 11:21 am

    “Klein says his prototype 1994 Ford Escort can travel exclusively on water,but he currently has it rigged to run as a water/gasoline hybrid.”

    I think there is a clue in this statement as to whether or not this guy is a scam artist.

  8. tmac57on 06 May 2011 at 11:29 am

    Whenever I read a blog, discussing the problems with fusion energy research,I like to say something like “If only there were some existing fusion source in our solar system ,and we could somehow harness it’s energy…man,that would be amazing!”

  9. phidauexon 06 May 2011 at 11:34 am

    When I worked for a major science museum I was often asked to comment on things like this as a “member of the science community.” It was always hard to respond in a way that was completely supportive, as you can imagine.

    I see things like this as an insidious symptom of all of our (as in scientists and the science-supporting community) advocacy. “Science is Awesome” we’ve proclaimed, and now people are believing it (while still missing the point).

    I call it the “truth is stranger than fiction” heuristic failure. People get used to science being wacky – so they begin to think that the wackier something is, the more likely it is to be true. In a way this is a backhanded compliment to science – they are amazed by science, confident about it’s possibilities, but sufficiently blinded that they walk right past the truth.

    Popular science education may be a little bit to blame – we tend to make the biggest deal about things when they are really crazy or unexpected.

    It is easy to identify when people are being openly anti-science, but things like this (also reference the “bloombox” that got much press recently) are sneaky, because they are, on the surface, very pro-science, but inside the thin candy shell, very anti-science.

  10. Karl Withakayon 06 May 2011 at 12:35 pm

    tmac57,

    I assume that if there were more filling stations at which one could pump 20 gallons of water into the car’s tank, I assume he would not need the gasoline anymore, right?

    Also, I have developed a car that can run exclusively on cheap and abundant air, but currently it runs on a combination of gold plus air. I just like wasting the money on the gold.

  11. Karl Withakayon 06 May 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Beware of partially revising a comment without re-reading the whole thing. I assume that I assume so. :)

  12. daedalus2uon 06 May 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Fox News is not a news source, they are a source of entertainment. A new source would check to make sure that what they are reporting is in fact news, is it correct, does it violate the laws of physics, causality, those sorts of things.

    Being able to suspend disbelief is a necessary skill to enjoy many forms of entertainment. It is also necessary to watch Fox News and not have your head explode.

  13. eeanon 06 May 2011 at 12:53 pm

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/05/nuclear-fusion-startup-gets-jeff-bezos-backing-wont-be-droppin/?a_dgi=aolshare_twitter

    have you all (SGU) covered General Fusion before? Bezos just invested 4 billion, so I’m guessing its legit. However it has that same “10 years to market” that all whizbang technology has (weren’t we supposed to be driving fuel cell cars by now?)

  14. usernameisalreadytakenon 06 May 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Fox News viewers are content to trust in mythologies. Ignoring the reality of the situation is perhaps completely fine with their viewers. After all, the average reaction will perhaps be “nifty!” and nothing further.

    But while we’re discussing lazy thinking, it’s important to note that Fox affiliates’ news are not THE Fox News that comes to mind when one states “Fox News.”

  15. SARAon 06 May 2011 at 1:48 pm

    It would be interesting to know whether any of the reporters on some of these stations have ever been to journalism school? Or do their credentials amount to working on their HS news paper?

    Or perhaps they have been and they are discouraged from exercising journalistic investigation and research?

    Its probably a combination of the two, since most media outlets today are centered in entertainment. 24 hours news channels of any sort are notoriously bad at decent reporting, with very few exceptions.

  16. TheBlackCaton 06 May 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Nitpick:

    “Using water to fuel an engine, such as a car engine, is the equivalent to claiming to have developed a perpetual motion machine.”

    It is not “the equivalent”, it is literally a perpetual motion machine, specifically a type-one perpetual motion machine, that is one that produces more energy than it conumes.

  17. Smileson 06 May 2011 at 1:51 pm

    While I found this post both informative and appropriately cutting, I had to wince at the notion that this was about Fox News individually and less about the way the media reports about science in general or in this case about a pseudoscience. I certainly don’t think the blatant scientific incuriousity and general journalistic malfeasance exhibited by this journalist and his supervisors is somehow unique or isolated to Fox News and I don’t think that Steve thinks it is either. Thats why I’m confused about how to explain that inconsistency. I’ve reread the post numerous times to make sure I’m not missing some reference to this point but I haven’t found it.

    I also find some of the pettiness against the viewers of Fox News and at Fox News in some of the comments here disturbing as well.

  18. Physicaliston 06 May 2011 at 2:02 pm

    It’s obviously a scam to call water a fuel, but could you use the electrolysis as a way of storing energy rather than wasting it when braking?

    I take it this is what electric hybrids do. How does the production of hydrogen gas compare in terms of efficiency with charging a battery with a generator?

  19. SquirrelEliteon 06 May 2011 at 2:39 pm

    The Popular Science article that they refer to on the company’s web site is titled “This Machine Might* Save The World”

    with a sub-comment “that’s a big fat might”.

    http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-12/machine-might-save-world

    I would say a big big big fat fat fat might. These guys are a couple of mechanical engineers who got their start designing thermal printer heads like the one in your cash register receipt printer. If they went on to ink jet design, they might know something about squirting liquids.

    To summarize their concept:

    First you run a heavy water cooled nuclear fission reactor to generate tritium.

    Then, you mix the tritium with the deuterium from the heavy water to make a hydrogen gas.

    Then, you expand the gas to low pressure and heat it or zap it with electric current to make a plasma.

    Meanwhile you heat a mixture of lead and lithium to liquid (probably over 600K, the melting point of lead).

    Then, you squirt the lead-lithium liquid into a cylinder at high enough speed to get it to produce a toroidal vacuum in the center.

    Then, you use the magnetic field that is confining your near vacuum D-T plasma to puff a small bit into the toroidal vacuum in the middle of the cylinder.

    Then, you smash the lead-lithium liquid (L3) with 200 steam powered pistons weighing 220 pounds each (that’s just the piston, not the housing, which weighs 10 times as much) to compress the D-T plasma and produce fusion. Most of the $150 million or so they’ve put into research so far seems to be on these pistons.

    Then, you spin up your cylinder by squirting more L3 into it and repeat the process.

    If they manage to do all this just right, they may manage to produce D-T fusion and generate a few neutrons. They might even get lucky and get some L-D fusion as well if deuterium smashes into lithium-6 or a neutron gets sucked in by lithium-7.

    But, there is so much energy using excess going on that I would be very surprised if they manage to achieve energy breakeven.

    I think the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor which is currently under construction based on decades of research in magnetic confinement fusion or one of the inertial confinement approaches such as Sandia Laboratory’s Z-Pinch research are a lot more likely to produce useful results. The scientists at Sandia have been studying inertial confinement fusion for over 20 years and their research has at least generated results good enough to publish in Physical Review Letters.

    http://www.gizmag.com/break-even-nuclear-fusion-reactions-possible-within-three-years/16944/

  20. jaranathon 06 May 2011 at 2:39 pm

    FYI, this is several years old. I’ve shot it down at least a couple times in responses to hyperventilating chain letters that my dad forwards, it shows up as early as May of 2006 on the JREF boards, and it’s been thrashed by skeptics like Dan Rutter.

    Not that it isn’t a platinum example of brain-dead reporting, well worth calling people’s attention to. It’s just worth noting that there’d be little point in complaining to Fox or the affiliate station.

  21. SquirrelEliteon 06 May 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Sorry, eean, I left out the name of General Fusion.

    Any idea how much of that $19.5 million Jeff Bezos contributed?

  22. TheBlackCaton 06 May 2011 at 2:50 pm

    “General Fusion”, that sounds like a good name for a comic book villain.

  23. Steven Novellaon 06 May 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Smiles – I did not write anything to indicate that this report is about Fox New specifically, and not a generic problem with science journalism (although some outlets are clearly better than others).

    I simply identified the culprits in this case.

  24. mdm172on 06 May 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Hello,
    The only thing I’m concerned about is not specifying that this is from a Fox Affiliate and not the Fox News Channel. The equivalent of CNN getting blamed for a bogus report from KTLA in Los Angeles. As some comments of this article have proven, The implication was that it was the FNC. I’m pretty sure nobody at FNC even knows this story exists. If I’m wrong about that, I stand corrected.

    If you ignore the common deceptive headlines (Like: Brain Dead Reporting from Fox News) and read the meat of the articles, Fox News Channel has a knowledgeable AND skeptical editorial staff working on their Sci/Tech stories.

    Just wanted to make this small point. And NO I don’t work for Fox.

    Michael

  25. tmac57on 06 May 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Karl Withakay-I read your response to my 1st post 4 times,and I still can’t tell if you got my drift or not,so to be clear:
    I think this guy is pulling a scam.

  26. Enzoon 06 May 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Would this car run longer, cleaner and more efficiently with homeopathic solutions? Or should homeopathy be used in place of NOS for street racers?

  27. daedalus2uon 06 May 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Generating H2 from electricity is probably pretty efficient, maybe 80%? The major (and usually unavoidable) loss is the overpotential at the O2 electrode. Simultaneously taking 4 electrons off of two water molecules and making an O2 molecule is pretty difficult.

    Burning H2 in an engine to generate work is (at best) something like 30% efficient. Generating electricity from that work is maybe 90% efficient (if you use high-tech rare earth magnets and stuff.

    Overall, maybe 20% efficient. Using a battery with regenerative braking is probably more like 90% efficient.

    This is a scam, but Fox News falls for global warming denalism too, so what does anyone expect?

  28. DLCon 07 May 2011 at 4:29 am

    Actually, burning hydrogen (or Oxyhydrogen or Brown’s Gas) in an internal combustion engine is more practical than it might seem at first glance. However, you won’t be able to do the electrolyzing on board the car — the process is too slow and requires too much energy to work. However, you could possibly set up a small field of solar panels and use that power to make your oxyhydrogen gas.
    The advantages here are first that the gas has a very low environmental impact — steam or warm water vapor emitted from the exhaust; and second that it would be relatively easy to retrofit to an existing auto. The down side is, there is currently no satisfactory method of storing large amounts of hydrogen (or oxyhydrogen) on board a car without going with high pressure flasks, which have a huge weight/space cost in terms of meeting DOT safety regs. Research into better storage methods is ongoing, but I do not expect anything in the near future. However, it would be useful for a runabout — say with a 50-60 mile range per fill-up.

  29. petrossaon 07 May 2011 at 2:51 pm

    # DLC

    You overlook a tiny detail. Metal combustion engines and water don’t mix well. You’d need to use premium quality materials to not oxidize your engine/exhaust real fast making it a very expensive prospect.

    The solution, as always is very simple.

    Turn natural gas into diesel/petrol and keep everything as is. If you count the ocean methane deposits you have enough to last millenia.

    All the money you safe on wonky ‘alternative’ energy sources can then be used to speed up fusion development, which in turn can be used to power the gasfactories. Nothing beats matter/energy conversion in energy production.

    All the infrastructure stays the same, no need for costly changes to the transport systems.

    Everybody happy, especially the plants with the added CO2 from the combustion.

    Problem (which wasn’t there but still) solved.

  30. Minon 07 May 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Wow, cue all the knee jerk anti-Fox News responses. It has become almost Pavlovian. Reminds me of the days when people would mention Microsoft and everyone would have to chime in with their “Micro$oft” hate. I think some of you could stand to use a little bit of skepticism with regards to your Fox News hate. Do you hate them because they have a bit of a conservative slant? That would be quite sad but apparently the norm in today’s polarized political environment. Do you hate them because you think their reporting is that bad? Are you sure you aren’t just applying confirmation bias? How many of you just added a +1 to the “Yep I hate Fox News” column as a result of this article when it clearly has nothing to with Fox News but won’t add +1s to the columns of any other news agency for anything they do?

    I guess everyone has their blind spots.

  31. DLCon 07 May 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Petrossa: you’re telling me that an internal combustion engine can’t stand a little water, but it can handle all the gasoline you can throw into it ? Sorry, I’m not buying it. I’ve seen too many cars with water injection or even cracked water jackets to believe that it would dissolve into a pile of rust. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile_emissions_control for some interesting details on what comes out of most automobiles.

    Min :
    Spend one week watching or listening to BBC. or CNN if BBC isn’t available. Fact-Check the stories as they are presented, and then compare them to the same stories as presented on Fox.
    My own results of doing this indicate that BBC is as neutral as they can make it, CNN is slightly left-wing and Fox is considerably conservative. Further, Fox consistently gets details wrong, either through mistake, lack of fact checking or simply presenting the most slanted report they can.

  32. petrossaon 08 May 2011 at 2:14 am

    # DLC

    Even now, with petrol exhaust systems rot away. And the percentage of water is small. Of you combust hydrogen the cylinder gets filled with superheated steam. Trust me, superheated steam corrodes like acid. Even alcohol doesn’t work in standard engines. I just bought a 4 stroke motorcycle, the vendor strongly advised me (to the point of not being responsible for the consequences) not to fill it up with E10 (ethanol 10%) because they had too many engines failing.

    And he is legally right. If you use another fuel then the manufacturer prescribed you forfeit the guarantee.

    You’d need ceramics and a stainless steel exhaustmanifold to guarantee any kind of lifespan.

    BBC is the worse then FOX in reliability. There is this guy who keeps a site with all the more flagrant examples (with well-founded proof) of bias. Google: biased-bbc

    I guess your idea of neutral is that they say what you want to hear.

  33. Steven Novellaon 08 May 2011 at 8:11 am

    I think it’s a reasonable approximation to say that all news outlets are biased (although some more than others) and therefore it is good to rely on a variety of outlets, and to go to original sources whenever possible.

  34. daedalus2uon 08 May 2011 at 12:51 pm

    The corrosion problems with alcohol occur before combustion not after combustion. The differences in the combustion products of alcohol containing fuels are not sufficiently different than the combustion products of non-alcohol containing fuels to matter as far as the corrosion of the exhaust system is concerned.

    Superheated steam is (in general) less corrosive than air at the same temperature. Where water containing combustion products become highly corrosive is at the dew point, where there is condensation of water, usually along with sulfuric acid if the fuel contains sulfur.

  35. petrossaon 08 May 2011 at 1:56 pm

    # daedalus2u
    “Superheated steam is (in general) less corrosive than air at the same temperature.”

    Only difference being one finds very little air after petrol combustion in an engine, but quite a lot of steam after hydrogen combustion.

    Already one needs to replace the entire exhaust system with stainless steel in order not to have it rot away withing a short time.

    Aluminum and water under high temperatures also cause faster oxidation then without water.

    Alcohol burns way hotter then petrol causing more damage to the valves. Ask any tractor puller or dragracer.

  36. jreon 09 May 2011 at 3:19 pm

    The tag beneath the video reads “Uploaded by texasaggie1 on Jun 18, 2007.”

    The discussion here is lively and enriching, but the subject is rather old news.

  37. CivilUnreston 09 May 2011 at 7:54 pm

    The video in question may be old, but the claim is still alive and kicking:

    http://exopermaculture.com/2011/05/03/uranus-square-pluto-water-fuels-dodge-truck/

  38. starskepticon 09 May 2011 at 8:13 pm

    ‘…also find some of the pettiness against the viewers of Fox News and at Fox News in some of the comments here disturbing as well.’

    not pettiness– good taste, maybe righteous indignation; I do find it quite appropriate for pseudo-science to be covered by a pseudo-news network though…

  39. TheBlackCaton 10 May 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I don’t think anyone uses hydrogen in an internal combustion engine, fuel cells seem to be the standard.

    @ Min: I suppose you aren’t aware of the study showing that, unlike other major news outlets, people watching Fox news actually know less about current events after watching Fox news than they would watching nothing at all.

  40. jreon 10 May 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I don’t think anyone uses hydrogen in an internal combustion engine, fuel cells seem to be the standard.

    Interestingly, hydrogen-combustion engines are well worked out, though fuel cells are more practical for a variety of reasons.

  41. ccbowerson 10 May 2011 at 4:38 pm

    “Alcohol burns way hotter then petrol causing more damage to the valves. Ask any tractor puller or dragracer.”

    My understanding is that this is a myth. Ethanol added does not cause it to “burn hotter,” but may theoretically cause problems in older engines for various reasons unrelated to temperature. I suspect much of the blaming of ethanol on older engines is confirmation bias.

  42. crumvocon 10 May 2011 at 7:48 pm

    That’s nothing. Look at this fox news program from yesterday on the “Major announcement linking autism and vaccines”. Arrrggghh…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXp4hM3eQuI&feature=player_embedded#at=113.

    A couple points:

    “Dr.” Sarah Bridges, who’s specialty is never discussed, is a Phd Psychologist who has been chasing this anti-vax stuff for years.

    Alisyn Camerota is, well, a moron. Where have all the journalists gone?

  43. petrossaon 11 May 2011 at 1:35 am

    ccbowers

    Alcohol burns blue, petrol burns yellow. You figure out which one is hotter.

  44. petrossaon 11 May 2011 at 11:32 am

    # ccbowers

    Petrol burns yellow/orange, alcohol burns blue. Says it all i guess

  45. ccbowerson 11 May 2011 at 1:23 pm

    “Petrol burns yellow/orange, alcohol burns blue. Says it all i guess”

    Actually that says very little at all. Engines do not simply light things on fire… just the ratio of fuel/oxygen alone is a more important factor for temperature than fuel type alone in these examples. So far your evidence involves asking a tractor puller, and looking at the color of a flame, neither of which informs the question sufficiently.

  46. petrossaon 12 May 2011 at 2:43 am

    # ccbowers

    Well, i guess if you deny the laws of thermodynamics and substitute your own anything goes.

    b. Combustion characteristics

    There are some important differences in the combustion characteristics of alcohols and hydrocarbons. Alcohols have higher flame speeds and extended flammability limits. Also, alcohols produce a great number of product moles per mole of fuel burnt, therefore, higher pressure are achieved.

    I can’t post links because then i’ll end up in the spambox, google
    “5. Alcohol and cotton oil as alternative fuels for internal combustion engines ”
    yourself. (no it’s not wikipedia)

  47. ccbowerson 12 May 2011 at 9:21 am

    “Well, i guess if you deny the laws of thermodynamics and substitute your own anything goes”

    Thats not what I’m saying. Burning a fuel in open air is very different than what takes place in an engine.

    An assertion was made that ethanol (or adding it to gasoline) results in an engine running hotter. I have seen no evidence of this, and in fact find that the opposite may be true (although the effect is pretty small)

    From your reference:

    “Another important property is the heat of combustion, or the energy available per unit of volume of a mixture chemically correct (stoichiometric) of a fuel and air: Gasoline=3600 KJ/kg, Ethanol=3412 KJ/kg”

    This means that less energy is released from the combustion of ethanol, which seems to counter the previous statement of running hotter

  48. ccbowerson 12 May 2011 at 9:36 am

    “Well, i guess if you deny the laws of thermodynamics and substitute your own anything goes.”

    Right back at you

  49. petrossaon 12 May 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Once more and now read carefully:

    b. Combustion characteristics

    There are some important differences in the combustion characteristics of alcohols and hydrocarbons. Alcohols have higher flame speeds and extended flammability limits. Also, alcohols produce a great number of product moles per mole of fuel burnt, therefore,
    ————————————-
    higher pressures are achieved.
    ————————————

    Higher pressure equals higher temperature.

    Right back at you again.

  50. ccbowerson 12 May 2011 at 1:49 pm

    “Higher pressure equals higher temperature.”

    I think the heat of combustion is more relevant than what you reference, but I think we need more specific data to determine the answer.

  51. petrossaon 13 May 2011 at 5:02 am

    OK, let’s recapitulate

    1) alcohol burns blue so burns at a higher temperature
    2) alcohol’s combustion specifics in a combustion chamber give a burn pattern that causes sustained increased pressure.

    From the horses mouth:

    The main reality, is that various combustion aspects of a gas engine have to be taken into account, as the volatility and thermal efficiencies of gas and alchohol (and thus alchohol-based fuels) are widely different. Inlet valves (particularly), exhaust valves and spark plugs all require consideration. As does lubricant, as some alchohol-based fuels have far greater cylinder “Wash-Down” properties.

    forums dot techguy dot org slash 3827183-post25 dot html

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