Module 2: Chemical and Physical Characteristics of Ethanol

Module 2: Chemical and Physical Characteristics of Ethanol

Module 2: Chemical and Physical Characteristics of Ethanol and Hydrocarbon Fuels 1 Objective Upon the completion of this module, participants will be able to describe the chemical & physical differences between gasoline & ethanol-blended fuels. 2 Introduction Characteristics of polar solvents & hydrocarbons, their differences, & how they interact

Conditions under which ethanol-blended fuels will retain popular solvent characteristics as compared to all hydrocarbon characteristics 3 Characteristics of Gasoline Insoluble in water Produced from crude oil by fractional distillation Not considered poisonous: Harmful effects after long-term & high-level exposure Smoke from burning gasoline is black & has toxic components Greatest hazard is flammability: Fairly narrow range of flammability 1.4% - 7.2% by volume in air

4 Gasoline Production David Parsons/NREL 5 Characteristics of Ethanol Renewable fuel source produced by fermentation & distillation processes Most common feedstock in U.S. is corn Ethanol used with motor fuels must be denatured with 2% - 5% gasoline or similar hydrocarbon before transport to a bulk storage facilities Denaturant has minimal effects on characteristic 6

Ethanol Production Feed Stock Alpha Amylase Enzyme Gluco Amylase Enzyme Cooking Steam Cooling Cooling Water Saccharification Cooling

Cooling Water CO2 Yeas t Yeast Propagation Cooling Water Non volatiles Fermentation Cooling Water Beer Stripping

Steam Beer Rectification Cooling Water 190 Proof Dehydration Steam Cooling Water 200 Proof Denature

Natural Gasoline Storage & Transportation 7 Rust Inhibitor Characteristics of Ethanol Ethanol is produced by fermenting corn, conversion of corn starch into ethanol Sophisticated grain handling equipment present at ethanol production facilities Co-products from ethanol production include distillers dried grains, a high protein animal feed & CO2 Future feedstocks will expand to include corn

cobs & stover, switchgrass, sugar cane 8 Characteristics of Denatured Fuel Ethanol Polar solvent Totally miscible in water Less toxic than gasoline/methanol Toxic compounds not present in ethanol Greatest hazard as motor fuel component is flammability Wider flammable range than gasoline:

3% - 19% by volume in air 9 Characteristics of Ethanol In neat form, no visible smoke or visible flame In denatured form, little to no smoke & slight orange flame will be visible Ethanol & some ethanol-blends can conduct electricity Large amounts of water required to dilute ethanol to no longer support combustion 10 Chemical Properties Comparison Property Gasoline

Denatured Fuel Ethanol -450F -50F Ignition Temp 530 - 8530F 6890F Specific Gravity 0.72 0.76

0.79 3-4 1.5 38 - 300mmHg 4.5mmHg Boiling Point 100 - 4000F 165 - 1750F Flammable Range

1.4% - 7.6% 3% - 19% Conductivity None Good Smoke Characteristics Black None - Slight Solubility

None High Flash Point Vapor Density Vapor Pressure 11 Invisible Flames - Ethanol Thermal imaging 12 Activity 2.1: Comparison of Gasoline and

Ethanol Purpose: To allow participants to discuss the differences & similarities in the chemical & physical properties of ethanol & gasoline. 13 Characteristics of Ethanol-Blended Fuels Ethanol increases the ability of gasoline to burn cleaner: Lower emissions from unburned hydrocarbons Water contamination of ethanol gasoline fuel blends may cause phase separation: Phase separation will introduce a water layer in the bottom that consists of water & ethanol

All hydrocarbon gasoline will remain in the top layer 14 Characteristics of Ethanol-Blended Fuels Water contamination of ethanol gasoline fuel blends may cause phase separation: Gasoline floating on layer of ethanol/water solution Resulting ethanol/water solution still flammable 15 Characteristics of Ethanol-Blended Fuels Blending fuels alters physical & chemical characteristics of original fuels: Visual difference of smoke & flame

characteristics: Higher content of ethanol, less visible black smoke content & orange flame production 16 Characteristics of Ethanol-Blended Fuels Blending fuels alters physical & chemical characteristics of original fuels: When foam/water flowed on burning product, gasoline tends to burn off first: May have no visible smoke as the hydrocarbon burns off leaving only the ethanol burning 17 Activity 2.2:

Definitions Purpose: To allow participants to identify the definitions related to ethanol & ethanol-blended fuels. 18 Worksheet 2.2: Definitions Hydrophilic

Polar solvent Oleophilic Toxicity Ethanol Boiling point Vapor density Flammable range Water miscible Flash point

Combustible liquid Flammable liquid Hydrocarbon Hydrophobic Non-water miscible Upper explosive limit (UEL) Lower explosive limit (LEL) Specific gravity Auto-ignition temperature 19 Summary Ethanol is a polar solvent, miscible with water, & flammable

Higher content of ethanol, less visible black smoke content, & orange flame production Blend of gasoline & ethanol can easily go unnoticed by emergency responders: Ethanol will be last fuel to burn Ethanol can burn without visible smoke 20

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