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  1. #1
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    Oct 2006
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    Importing Full Flex Fuel Cars - Toyota or VW

    I understand that the "full Flex fuel" cars made in Brazil run on gasoline, ethanol/ gas mix or total ethanol. (In Brazil this is sugar based ethanol.) I also understand that these type of vehicles outsold the gasoline driven autos this year.
    Toyota is building a new auto factory in Mexico and may build the "full Flex models" there. I want to investigate how to order a US spec model for safety and emission standards. (I think the ethanol may already exceed the US standards.)
    I am also working on trying to source out how to make ethanol via company with the web page "Kergy" which has developed a way to make ethanol from any carbon based material.
    Any ideas how to weave all these unknowns together. I am eager to break away from the current internal combustion cars but have a lot of education to accomplish. John

  2. #2
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    Per a few of the articles I have read, Brazilian Flex fuel cars outsold the other type because that country is forcing this type of car to push their sugar-based fuel corporations so the country can try to be fuel-source independent. There are no current "standard" US spec models for several reasons. The ethanol based ingredients determine the efficiency - sugar is better than, let's say, corn. The fuel sensors in the cars have to be able to have a very elaborate sensor mechanism to make the changes correctly for EPA standards, otherwise it actually will be less efficient for gas mileage for your vehicle and spew pollutants instead of a clean burn. If you only have a single type of ethanol base standard in your country, it is much easier. However, in the US, no one is even considering on using the fuel as a standard, much less making nationwide distribution yet. There are some pickup trucks in the near future that will be made by the US to help streamline the conversion issues and they are emphasizing corn based ethanol - it will be good for US farmers but not as efficient as sugar based ethanol.

  3. #3

    ethanol efficiency

    Although Iím no expert on ethanol, I believe that your explanation of the efficiency issues surrounding ethanol are slightly confused. Basic chemistry tells us that ethanol, a chemical, is the same irregardless of itís source.
    I believe that youíll find that the fuel-line sensors required as part of a flex-fuel vehicle are necessary to determine the percentage of ethanol Ėvs- the percentage of gasoline in the tank. For example if you fill a tank that was half-full of gasoline with E85 (85%) ethanol, you would then have 85% X 50% = 42.5% ethanol and 57.5% gasoline in the tank.
    The efficiency issue with different ethanol sources is critical because different sources require more or less land, water, and other energy to produce ethanol. What becomes critical would be to determine the amount of land, water, fertilizer, fermentation and distillation energy, etc that is required to produce a gallon of ethanol. My understanding is that with sugar cane (as is used in Brazil), that the ethanol yield per acre of land or other resources is reasonably good (from a sustainability perspective) while with corn, Iíve seen estimates ranging from barely sustainable to negative energy balance (taking more energy to produce than it provides). Of course, if we look at the acres of former rain-forest that had to be cleared to grow Brazilís sugarcane this sustainability might not look so good either.
    Unfortunately, with ethanol; the agriculture, oil, and automobile manufacturing lobbies are providing so much biased pressure for ethanol that we may never be sure what the real story on ethanol is.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2007
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    The Us Federal Government Imposes A 58 Cent Per Gallon Import Ta

    Using Sugar Cane To Make Ethanol Is Vastly More Efficient Than Corn But The Us Federal Government Imposes A 58 Cent Per Gallon Tax On Ethanol Made In Brazil From Sugar Cane When It Is Imported To The Us Artificially Making It More Expensive Than Gas

  5. #5
    Don't forget that a lot of Brazilian sugar cane fields used to be rainforests before they were clear-cut. There are few easy solutions to real problems.

  6. #6
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    Ethanol and Rain Forests

    Guys,

    Believe me. No sugar cane plant is able to be grow in the rain forest area. This is a spin from someone that know nothing about the sugar cane plant or have other interests. What they'll say after? That coffee plantations are destroying the rain forest? Those plants simply cannot cope with the equatorial climate. If you have concerns about the rain forest, better to stop consuming anything that has soy in it. This one is real threat. In fact the lands used for sugar cane used to have another forest in South America (the Atlantic Forest). This one the Portuguese and later the early Brazilian already 99% cut down about 400 years ago to plant sugar cane and coffee, mostly like the forest the northeast U.S. were logged down about the same time.
    Sugar were almost as valuable than gold in the 16h century. There were wars because of it. Entire populations were enslaved and and moved from one continent to another in order to produce it. Countries were born because of it.

    So, again... Believe me... If rain forest soil and climate were good for sugar cane, the forest would have been chopped down 300-200 year ago...

  7. #7
    JOL,
    Thanks for the geography/history/botany lesson. Perhaps it isn't the cane that's driving the rainforest deforestation. As I mentioned, there are few easy answers to real problems. You are just confirming it.
    Now, I guess we may need to address the soy problem, I hadn't realized that was the culprit. I'll have to study up a little more.

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