Friday, May 25, 2007

Would Champ Car’s Switch to E85 Be Green?

Before we can begin to answer that we have to define green, a term we hear a lot about in reference to preservation of the planet. It is sometimes used in reference the amount of man made CO2, which is often blamed for the current climate change with respect to global warming. There’s no doubt that CO2 is a green house gas and that it can cause the earth to warm. But how much is the subject of much debate depending on which side you take. Frankly I think the IPCC estimates are way off but that is another discussion. I’m for anything that will reduce the amount of pollutants we humans generate.

So for this discussion let’s determine the amount of CO2 produced by the fuels currently used and those that are proposed to be used by Champ Car.

If you don’t care to see the math or the method skip to the bottom for the results, you may be surprised!

Methanol – currently used by Champ Car.
E85 – 85% Ethanol 15% Octane (gasoline) proposed to be used.

When these fuels are burned the by product is carbon dioxide and water. For this discussion we will consider only a stoichiometric combustion.

First let’s determine the weight of a gallon of each of the fuels. I’ll use gallons and pounds here for the metrically challenged. If you search the internet for this information you will find many different answers so in order to be as accurate as possible I will use the information given in the handbook of Chemistry and Physics from CRC press.

Conversion factors
3.785 l/gallon
453.59 g/lb

Octane C8H18 density at 25degrees C = .6986 g/ml
Ethanol C2H6O density at 25C = .7873 g/ml
Methanol CH4O density at 25C = .7872 g/ml

When converted to grams per gallon:
Octane) = 2644.201 g/gal
Ethanol) = 2979.9305 g/gal
Methanol) = 2979.5520 g /gal

Divide grams per gallon by 453.59 to get pounds per gallon
Octane) 2644.201/453.59 = 5.829 lbs/gal
Ethanol) 2979.9305/453.59 = 6.5696 lbs/gal
Methanol) 2979.5520/453.59 = 6.5688 lbs/gal

Next find ratio of CO2 molecule mass to fuel molecule mass.
Hydrogen = 1
Carbon = 12
Oxygen = 16

Carbon Dioxide [C = 12 and 2O’s = 32] 12 + 32 = 44
Octane C8H18 [C8 (8X12) = 96 [H18 (18X1) = 18] 96 +18 = 114
Using the same process for Ethanol and Methanol gives:
Ethanol = 46
Methanol = 32

To find out how many CO2 molecules are produced from each fuel simply count the carbon atoms in one molecule of each fuel.
Octane = 8 for a total mass of 8 X 44 = 352
Ethanol = 2 for a total mass of 2 X 44 = 88
Methanol = 1 for a total mass of 1 X 44 = 44

So the ratio of CO2 molecule mass to fuel molecule mass is:

Octane = 352/114 = 3.0877
Ethanol = 88/46 = 1.913
Methanol = 44/32 = 1.375

We're almost there, multiply these ratios by the weight per gallon of each fuel to see how many pounds of CO2 each one produces when combusted.

Octane - 5.829 X 3.0877 = 17.998 lbs CO2/gal
Ethanol - 6.5696 X 1.913 = 12.567 lbs CO2/gal
Methanol - 6.5688 X 1.375 = 9.058 lbs CO2/gal

To find CO2 in lbs/gal for E85 find the sum of .85 X 12.567 and .15 X 17.998
E85 produces 13.380 lbs of CO2 for each gallon combusted, Over 4 lbs more than Methanol.

There you have it, by our standard E85 is not green………….but if CCWS decides to use it a big oil company might pony up a different kind of green as a series sponsor! Like I said first you have to define green.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Champ Car Going to E85 in 2008?

From Gordon Kirby’s – The Way It Is -

[Forsythe laid the groundwork by commissioning Cosworth to conduct a technical review of what's required to switch to ethanol. "I made the investment on my own in research and testing to show them what the facts are," he commented. "It cost me $350,000 with Cosworth and they did the due diligence on running the engine on ethanol. They did some dyno testing to see if their theories worked."

Cosworth's chief engineer Bruce Wood designed the XD turbo V-8 and oversees the XF series Champ Car engines. Wood documented the work Cosworth did in researching a switch to ethanol. "The biggest thing we felt might be an issue were the cooling circuits because ethanol doesn't have the same latent heat vaporization as methanol so it doesn't cool things down as much when you evaporate ethanol," Wood explained. "So we spent some time looking at the cooling circuits to establish that they were going to be big enough. Somewhat to our surprise, that turned out not really to be a big problem, although our testing was finally cut short by an overheated exhaust valve seat.

"We put a different piston in to be more comfortable with the characterstics of ethanol and the increased the boost was needed to recover the power loss with E85. That was really the bulk of the changes, as well as re-mapping the fuel system and introducing a different injector spray pattern. But essentially, it was not a huge amount of work."

Cosworth ran an ethanol-fueled XFE engine on the dyno for 980 miles before the valve seat problem. "We were aiming to run 1,400 miles," Wood commented. "Although we fell short of this, we were fairly comfortable we could fix the seat issue and make the engine completely robust at 1,400 miles.]

I believe Gerry is correct when he says E85 will dominate the future. So it makes sense for CC to change to E85 as their fuel. Perhaps some big oil might eventually pony up a major sponsorship.

I would hope that CC doesn’t try promoting a change as a “Green” thing, leave that to the politicians.

Will it happen, who knows, I think it makes sense!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Anne Proffit Journalist - Say What?

Anne my dear, a journalist at Paddock, who’s drinking the kool-aid?

Your latest rant about the lack of Kalkhoven’s willingness to “pony up”, pun not intended, to have some of the CCWS drivers entered into this years Indy certainly reveals your lack of understanding about the business of racing.

Oh sure there would be benefits to both series if some of the CCWS boys were circling the big rectangular oval called Indy come race day this year. But at what price? You seemed to think that KK’s offer to bring some talent to the race was………well here’s the [quote]…… “Horse pucky, Kevin, my man! Why on earth should Tony give you engines when he doesn’t do that for his regular followers? (And if he does assist Indy entrants, that’s his business.)”

I disagree with Kevin too but for quite the opposite reason, I say let Indy be what Indy will be. Grow your own business and mind your own business.

My, my how things are changing. It was only a few months ago when your boss was advocating that CCWS should just ignore the IRL and get on with their business and now you are allowed to post this strange rant on the state of the split.

Let me remind you the source of the OWR problem was TG’s idea to spilt. Nothing changes that no matter how sick of it you have become. When and until you accept that and direct your ire towards him you will forever be wrong in your criticism of CCWS for not participating at INDY.

[Quote] …. “That's just my opinion; I could be wrong, but I have to admit I've grown tired of IMS and IRL being brow-beaten by Kalkhoven and his predecessors just to keep the Champ Car series in the papers in May. Countless others have paid their own way to race in the May Classic on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 2.5-mile oval.] “

You said it Anne and I agree completely…………….You are wrong, get over it!

In case anyone would like to read the entire article.