Prius Conversion to E85 Ethanol?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by adamorzol, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Re: scam for sure

    I believe what GM is saying here. They already sell many models that are flex-fuel capable, partly to take advantage of the E85 CAFE scam. The additional cost to the manufacturer is minimal if they've done all the R&D and are installing the E85 compatiable parts in the 1st place.

    If it just meant doing some "adjustmenst", they'd just throw the switch and make them ALL flex-fuel capable w/o any new parts, which would REALLY boost their CAFE numbers. The same goes for all the other automakers.
     
  2. johnson487682

    johnson487682 Junior Member

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    Ethanol does have its problems, but it has one huge benefit: carbon reduction.

    Burning one gallon of gasoline releases 19.36 lb of CO2* into the atmosphere (none is captured by a car's catalytic converter or other emissions subsystems), and all of that carbon was buried hundreds of millions of years ago. So, in the relatively short timespan of human existence, this represents a net gain of carbon in the atmosphere, which is the cause of global warming.

    Burning one gallon of ethanol also releases CO2 into the atmosphere, but all of this carbon was pulled out of the atmosphere by plants (usually corn) within the past few months. Therefore, this represents a zero net change to the carbon in the atmosphere.

    E85 will reduce your mileage, it may cost more than operating on gas, and some claim it will destroy certain parts of your engine over time, but widespread use of ethanol would help minimize the effects of global warming.

    Douglas (2002 Prius)

    ---------------------------
    * see http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/TechnicalGuidelines_March2006.pdf and http://www.carboncounter.org/offset-your-emissions/calculations-explained.aspx
     
  3. Alric

    Alric New Member

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    Add to it the use of fertilizer (from oil and natural gas) and diesel for machinery and all you have have left is laundered money from the government to oil companies through farm subsidies.

    Little or no improvement in CO2 emissions and to top it all off:

    Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land Use Change -- Searchinger et al., 10.1126/science.1151861 -- Science
     
  4. bigbird1

    bigbird1 New Member

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    IMO, anyone who burns E85 Ethanol made from corn in their Prius is totally missing the point of owning a hybrid. The whole reason for owning a Prius is that if enough Americans bought them, we wouldn't need to import foreign oil and we would dramatically reduce CO2 emissions in our cities. We would also help keep food costs down because we could tell the politicians what they could really do with corn ethanol. The Brazilians do not use corn ethanol and there's a darn good reason why they don't. It makes no sense to produce a product that takes at least 1 gal. of diesel fuel to make 1.3 gals. of a product with less energy content.
     
  5. MontyMan

    MontyMan Prius Driver

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    Bird, do you think if usage of alcohol as a fuel here in the USA continues to increase, that we might start to produce some from cane as well? I have heard that all Brazilian ethanol is from cane, and it grows well all along the gulf coast region.
     
  6. jambojambo

    jambojambo New Member

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    To run E-85 , all you need is 30 % percent bigger injectors. Just drop them in ..
    I bet with his mod you wont throw any codes either
    If theres a war with Iran , you bet you will all be running E-100 ... hehe
     
  7. MontyMan

    MontyMan Prius Driver

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    I ran for about 6 months on a 50/50 mix of E10 and E85. I did not install or change anything. I got no codes, and about 43 mpg vs the 47 mpg I had been seeing on straight E10. When I switched back to the E10, my fuel mileage shot up immediately to 51 and has remained there for over a year. It is my theory that running a higher mix of alcohol for that period of time cleaned some components of the fuel system. Since the six month fuel test, there have been two times when my engine has sputtered a little, as if I had a small amount of trash or water in my fuel. Each of these times I have run a couple of tanks of higher alcohol mix fuel, and both times the engine has immediately returned to normal. The car now has 148,000 miles on it, still on the original batteries.
     
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  8. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    I'd be a little concerned about the sputtering - maybe a seal is leaking somewhere due to the corrosion from the ethanol.
     
  9. MontyMan

    MontyMan Prius Driver

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    It could very well be. I knew when I started my fuel test that I was risking my system components. But there are so many opinions from so many perspectives of the alcohol debate, and the car was pretty well depreciated at that point, that I decided to try it. I was very pleased with the results, and they feed my hope that alternative fuels continue to be offered at more retailers, and that an alternative to cornstarch is developed in earnest here in the USA.

    I doubt there has been any permanent damage, though, since it has only happened twice and briefly at that. An occasional sputter is normal for a gasoline car this age. I drove it to the office this morning, not bad for approx 150k miles, but of course the engine only does half the work of a normal Toyota.
     
  10. Drew442

    Drew442 Junior Member

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    We use sugar cane for our ethanol production here in Australia. Our 'default' fuel is E10 and our biggest motorsport series is now all on E85 - V8 SUPERCARS (i cant post URLs yet)

    I'm thinking about it now. There are a few places in Sydney to get E85 from but with an 800km+ range on the Prius it doesn't really matter.

    There's also a big push for homologation of E85 for the motorcycle class my father races in. The sticking point seems to be the invisible flame that ethanol produces. These home built E85 engines will be getting up to 200bhp/litre specific power. The v8 supercars are getting about 130bhp/litre specific power, which isn't bad for an american, 50's technology, overhead valve, pushrod engine running on a fuel which is a 'scam'.

    I've worked with fuel injection and carburetors and tuned them on the street and on dynos. I've also worked with Petrol (Gasoline in the american language) and Gas/LPG (Propane in the american language). If you are running E85 ONLY (not any blend at any time aka 'flex') then fueling it up and tuning it is all that needs to be done. If you are running fuel injection then the requirement for a larger volume of fuel may require a larger injector or more fuel pressure under maximum load and maximum RPM.

    If you want 'flex' and you want a reliable power output, modern emissions standards and all that stuff we've grown accustomed to then you're on your own. Other than tuning it to be too rich on E0 and too lean on E85 and then hoping to get a good result when using a random blend I have no idea. How the hell does that sensor listed above work out the fuel blend ???? (it can't weigh the fuel as it comes past, it doesn't burn any of the fuel to measure its energy output, what does it do?)

    I've read some fuel mileage tables where people have been logging their calculated blend and their MPG and it seems based on mileage the too-rich/too-lean method is what is being used...
     
  11. MontyMan

    MontyMan Prius Driver

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    Dear Drew:
    This is an interesting perspective on alternative fuels; I hadn't thought about what they might do for the racing world. Living in Houston, a city built on a petroleum legacy, I am accustomed to the vilification of alternative fuels in general, and alcohol in particular. Some people say that wasting corn in the production of ethanol has driven up the price of corn products, and others say that removing the excess starch from corn makes an even better animal feed, but since it's moist the ethanol factories must be collocated with ranches and dairies in order to make use of it. And I'm just about convinced that both sides in the shouting match have more ego than information.

    I have also heard and read that the reason we use corn starch rather than cane for our alcohol production is that in the USA cane farming is too labor intensive to make a profitable business model. Of course, if producing ethanol from corn were per se profitable, then the federal government wouldn't be subsidizing it, so I don't know what the real-world supply and demand curves look like for fuel ethanol.

    The silliest argument I've heard against using ethanol for fuel is that it is not a source of energy, only a storage medium for it. But of course, that is the case with all fuels. We don't think of fuel sources like crude oil and uranium as being energy storage media rather than energy sources, because they were created before we were born. Any renewable fuels we invent will always be storage media for energy, and their creation can be expected to be less than 100% efficient in our real world.

    I shouldn't sound like a tree hugger; I am a proponent of continued exploration, drilling, and production of our domestic fuels but I would love it if one day we could stop importing oil.

    I have noticed more "flex" vehicles on the road here, and of course with the ebb and flow of the markets it is very likely that today they're burning the E10 we have on every street corner, but a year from now if it goes back to huge prices these drivers may seek out alcohol, at least temporarily.

    Best,
    ....MontyMan.
     
  12. Drew442

    Drew442 Junior Member

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    I'm sure how corn would be less labor intensive than sugar... it shouldn't matter anyway both our countries have illegal immigration problems, there should be plenty of cheap labor to go around.

    It's actually quite amazing the way sugar cane is harvested here. What people were saying before about how much diesel and other fuels are burnt to create the ethanol, 1 litre of diesel to create 1.3 litres of ethanol, none of that is required for sugar.

    The sugar cane harvesting in Broadwater NSW actually generates electricity, enough to power the whole population of the Richmond Valley which is about 30,000 I'd say.

    It's pretty smart what they are doing.

    Traditionally you set fire to the crops to make it easier to collect and ship. Now instead of burning that in the fields they burn it in a furness, turning a turbine, turning a generator, powering the town. They also sell the excess electricity back to the grid and during the recent drought they made more money burning what would normally be ash in a field than they did selling their primary product.
     
  13. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    E85 is FANTASTIC for high-boost forced induction applications.
    See: Nothing like a little E85... - evolutionm.net

    However, it is probably not particularly useful in a Prius due to low relative energy density (you end up with a significant mileage hit).
     
  14. MontyMan

    MontyMan Prius Driver

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    The fuel efficiency is not as great, it's true. So one ends up using a little more fuel, which costs a little less by volume, since the USA subsidizes it currently. So economically it doesn't make sense to go out of one's way. It is only interesting from the standpoint of driving on renewable fuel, and not everyone is interested in that.
     
  15. brad_rules_man

    brad_rules_man Hybrid electric revolutionizer

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    I haven't seen this in the 2010 forum. I have a 2010 Prius and the new motor (atkinson) seems to run at a higher compression ratio naturally. Due to the higher compression ratio on the 2010, and the fact that they did not put in a fuel bladder, I felt over confident that I could try the e85 conversion system now. (Even though I feel it's safe with older Prii.)

    I talked extensively with a company about what their product was going to do to the car. It effectively changes the ignition system to think it is running lower emission fuel, but allowing it to adjust the fuel mix. Basically, the car is capable of changing itself to match a much lower octane rating incase you buy really old or crappy gas. The conversion kit bumps the firing up to match the e85. However, if you put in regular gas, the car thinks that it is crap gas and slows things down. This however, doesn't cause a drop in performance or worse emissions, because even though it thinks it's slowing things down, it is actually as it should be due to the intermediary fuel injection system.

    I probably worded this like a moron, but that's the best way as a commoner on how to explain this. (It's sort of like putting an amplifier on a radio system, you can still turn it down, but it enables a higher overall volume.)

    The cars tubes, plastics and fuel pump as well as piston rings have been proven to be compatible with ethanol. The biggest slap in the face is that in other countries you can have your car chipped at the dealer to run different fuels. It's mainly a software issue, even though the big 3, and foreign car companies (in america) tell you it's also a physical problem.

    The biggest problem seems to be someone converting an older high mileage car to ethanol. It will clean things out so aggressively and dislodge them into different components... not good.

    I am sure this might stir a comment response or two, so I will try to follow up and keep you guys in the loop on how my vehicle progresses on e85!
     
  16. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    "Proven" by whom? The guys selling the conversion?

    If you do this, good luck. Please let us know when things fail and whether you have trouble getting service under warranty.
     
  17. David Beale

    David Beale Senior Member

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    The 2010 IS NOT equipped to run E85! RTFM! It tells you NOT to run E85, as it will destroy the fuel system components. But if you'd rather listen to "fly by nighters" on the internet, go ahead.
     
  18. MontyMan

    MontyMan Prius Driver

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    Dear Brad:

    I actually tried a 50/50 mix of E10 and E85 for about six months. Of course this was a 7-year old car with about 100k miles on it already, so I was willing to take the risk. The mixture of fuels worked well, and I found when I switched back to E10 that the fuel efficiency was slightly better than it was before the test, and has remained at these higher levels. The car now has 165k miles on it and I still mix in a few gallons of alcohol now and then just to keep things clean.

    I have heard that some of the biodiesel guys have had to go through a process similar to what you describe: replacing filters etc while the crud caused by dinosaur oil diesel is cleaned out, after which they just continue burning biodiesel.

    Richard makes a good point: whence comes your information that the higher level of alcohol in E85 is well-tolerated by modern Toyota fuel system components, given that they don't ship an officially-sanctioned flex fuel vehicle?

    I have read about the conversion kits and I look forward to hearing your results. One thing though: the pulse stretching of the conversion kit will throw a "fudge factor" in the onboard computer's fuel efficiency estimate, so you'll need to track gallons at the pump, if you want to include fuel efficiency data in your experience.

    Best regards
    .....MontyMan.
     
  19. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    We may need a 'carfax' for owner ran car on wrong fuel and is selling now that the damage is done.
     
  20. brad_rules_man

    brad_rules_man Hybrid electric revolutionizer

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    The responses on here to my post haven't even been well thought out responses. They've been rude replies. There are several people I listen to on here big time, and you guys are not them.

    Yes, it has been proven in various studies disassembling many cars of the same model with the same model numbers purposely driven to prove the fact. Do you not find it odd that when you buy a toyota prius in Australia as my friend Joey did that they ask if you want to run on e85?! They flashed his software AT THE DEALER to adjust the timing. Everything else is fine! Here in the America their bed-buddies are the oil companies and guess what, here they act as if it is some big deal.

    They say that it will dry out the plastics and all that crap. Fact is, if your car was made in the last 20 years gas made from petroleum will do more harm to your car.

    The kits that are sold "legally" in the united states (except california, they don't allow it) are APPROVED by the EPA. And in order to sell it legally, they have to comply with the warranty of 100,000 miles on the emissions. The kit I bought comes with an epa warranty.

    If something goes wrong with the car, Toyota has the burden of proving it was due to the component. If it does hurt the car then the company holding the warranty has to fix it. If it's simply due to the fuel, then I have to pay to fix it. I have no problem doing so, because I feel strongly about this.

    If I get a thoughtful response asking for me to respond to a specific thing with information or my take on it then I will, but I'm not going to respond to any more of this typical forum-hating bashing stuff. This is priuschat, and I'm not going to play this response cat and mouse crap that you see on other more immature forums.

    (RTFM, you mean read the f****** manual?) I think you should try to read some of the manuals from overseas. You'll notice there's lots of differences despite using the same model numbers, the same fuel pumps, lines, filters.. etc. Only here in America when they make the Tundra flexfuel do they change to a higher capacity fuel pump and all this other crap. They do it to convince people that more is needed than adjusting the timing/ignition system.

    You are the reason that if I go into 1/10 Chevy dealers there won't be flexfuel tags on the vehicles. The dealers are actually taking the plaques off the cars because there is so much ignorance on the issue.
     
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