ALTERNATIVE FUEL discussion forum.

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by alternativefuel, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. alternativefuel

    alternativefuel New Member

    Im starting this thread with the hopes that we can start an educational/discussion forum about all alternative fuel sources.
    With rising fuel costs and interest in reduced emissions I feel we
    can put our heads together and teach each other about whats
    new or educational. Maybe we can relate it to our bikes if
    we brainstorm and combine knowledge.

    All alternative fuel sources welcome. Please, lets keep it mellow/civil.

  2. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    It costs $1.45 to fill my mab up, Im not so interested in what new corn syrup may or may not work in it. But if you have the time to test and tinker and worry about it Ill be watching.
  3. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I pedal a bike much more than I ride a motorized bike, & I am almost 60 ! I feel that "human fuel" is as cheap as it gets. I would hope that many others on this forum feel the same way, & do not ride their powered bikes everywhere they go. It is a great & fun way to exercise. The need to conserve fuel trickles all the way down to each ounce of fuel.
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    A Suggestion

    "Alternative Fueks", in my view, fall into 3 broad categories:

    A) Liquid fuels
    1) gasohol
    2) biodiesel
    3) alcohols

    B) Gaseous fuels
    1) Propane
    2) LNG
    3) Hydrogen
    4) Other

    C) Electric - for purposes of discussion, electricity is a de facto "fuel"
    1) Mains sourced (charging battery packs)
    2) Fuel cell generated (lots of options becoming available)
    3) Solar array produced
    4) Onboard generation (which might include fuel cells)
    5) Other sources - wind, microhydro, methane digester/engine/generator

    For transportation purposes, electricity is in many ways ideal. Compact, cheap to produce, efficient power exchange from electricity to mechanical motion. It has serious drawbacks, as well. Principally, power storage densities are relatively low as compared to various fuels. Power storage systems are relatively expensive, and for a reasonable life-span to be achieved, very expensive. Range is seriously limited for a pure electric vehicle.

    Gaseous fuels have advantages and they have drawbacks as well. LNG is relatively cheap - but not readily available in many areas, and as primarily methane, it suffers from a pair of physical drawbacks; low specific energy, and incompressability. Getting a reasonable range takes a relatively large and heavy tank. Propane has the advantages that LNG does, and rather less of the drawbacks - higher specific energy, more easily compressed to liquid state, relatively low tankage weight. Hydrogen suffers from a very serious set of disadvantages, and benefits from some very real compensating advantages. First, it is difficult to work with - it will leak through ANYTHING, even steel. Second, it is extremely inflammable. Third, it has to be highly compressed for effective storage, yet the more compressed it is, the faster it leaks. Fourth, it reacts very readily with almost anything - it's difficult to work with in engines because it quickly degrades lubricants. In compensation, it burns cleanly, it has an excellent specific energy, and as a gaseous addition to a liquid fuel/air charge in an engine, it works very well indeed.

    The various liquid fuel alternatives would require volumes to discuss adequately. In brief, pure alcohols (ethanol or methanol) have low specific energies, and from most more "traditional" sources actually cost more energy to produce than they provide. There are exceptions to that. They poise special concerns for handling (seals, etc) but those have been dealt with, for the most part. Biodiesel is not as straightforward a subject as it might appear. Biologically sourced oils (effectively, low molecular weight fats) might come from any of hundreds of plant sources, of wildly varying quality and production rates, or might well include animal sourced oils (whale oil lamps, anyone?) So, what's the source? What's the molecular weight mix (which determines viscosity, flammability, etc)? There are a multitude of questions to be asked (and answered) before one can reasonably discuss details.
  5. gasoline you can find it every were its now more expensive than beer so drink dont drive haha. but running gas at the right oil/fuel ratio with the right jetting and port timeing is the best fuel so far. did you know that these engines can run 13:1 compression on premium pump gas?

    we can run alchol on thes bikes but you need to run the bike richer and also put on special gaskets cause alcy WILL eat your gaskets. but its expensive and the fumes arent exactly friendly. and you also need about 17:1 compression to run it

    e85 or ethonal is a good alternative to bad it hurts the environment more than it helps... but since its got a higher octane you can up your compression and get better powereout of your engine but its got a lower btu and so you have to burn twice as much and use a colder plug
    too me its pointless with e85 cause adapting it to these small engines is hard.

    and there is nitro
    anyone who runs nitro may as well drink it cause the only reason you put it in your tank is to gain rpm cause it burns slower but hotter than gasoline. simply put you go faster cause its burning longer hence pushing the piston longer but it can also burn so slow that if your motor does not have the correct transfer port duration/timeing it can burn the fuel in the crankcase causing a lean condition. also it works in rc's cause the have an 18:1to 20:1 compression. also you have to run massive amounts of nitro to make any power gains. so by puting it in your tank your just increasing rpms and burning up your mufflers

    ive tested all of these combos and found that corect port timing and the right mix of gasoline yeilds the best results for power mileage and cost

    the next best thing is alchol which needs high compression is expensive needs carb work but gets you the most kick in your pants vs the alternatives
  6. dwsutton

    dwsutton Member

    I have to pedal almost 6 to 10 feet to get my motor started. Sadly the reason I built and put money into adding a motor to a perfectly good bicycle was to yes, "ride my powered bike everywhere I go". Im not sure why anyone would have a bike with a motor added if their desire was to "not" use the gas engine. The forum for that would be I think. I applaud folks that buy bikes to get exercise, save the enviroment, wear tight spandex shorts, but I am not one of "those" people. All the other fuels Simon mentioned I consider "alternative" fuels - I found I am having a hard time converting Miller Lite into bike power......... :rolleyes:

  7. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    You misread or misunderstood my post. I don't pedal around on a motorized bike. I have about 6 bikes & use them all for different reasons. I like to ride a bike for exercise, so , as stated above, I pedal a regular bike more often than I ride my OTHER bike, that is motorized. I have an old cruiser, a Schwinn collectible, a 3 spd . , a nice mountain bike, an old Schwinn hybrid, & a motorized bike. The motorized bike gest the least use, right now.
  8. alternativefuel

    alternativefuel New Member

    Kind of a bummer, starting the first response on a negative note. But i guess I was warned ahead of time of what to expect bringing this up.
    I guess I am thinking more of a lot bigger picture. Yes my MB's get from 95 to 145 mpg. I also have increased my car milage from 22 to 29 by introducing alternative means. I know for a fact that this MB group is FULL of inventive, tinkering, back yard mechanics types. This is where many of the worlds greatest things evolve. From this point forward I will only push ahead, no matter the response. :cool:
    OK, let the games begin.LOL
  9. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    My response wasnt meant to be negative but if it was percieved that way think about this. Theres billion dollar companies out there with billions in research $ with scientists who have phds working on this problem and they havnt figured it out yet. I dont think I can come up with an answer or solution any faster than they can.
  10. BoltsMissing

    BoltsMissing Active Member

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  11. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    I quite agree.

    My main interest is bicycles but I'm afraid I've gotten to the age that without a little power assist at times on certain terrain I'd do less biking, the upshot being less overall exercise.

    I really like the concept of MAB and for my own part will contain the idea in that context without mission creep; if I wanted a motorcycle I'd buy one.

    I also think for legal reasons and longevity of the idea in it's present but tentatively de-regulationed form, it's the best way to go.
  12. kerf

    kerf Guest

    I understand the negative aspects of this discussion as most would label me as negative. It's not that anyone wants to stop progress but this debate has moved from the realm of the engineer / inventor to the political arena. Many in the "Green Movement" advocate the immediate cessation of hydrocarbon fuels in order to " save the planet" and have a very in your face attitude. These people have openly stated their desire for $8 a gallon gasoline just to reduce its use, regardless of the economic impact on society. Today, there is no substitute for crude oil and the process to find a viable alternative is in its infancy. The political issues have again split the country.
  13. dwsutton

    dwsutton Member

    I cant believe I competely agree with you ...... :grin:
  14. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Thanks DW, one additional comment. Science must never be a popularity contest, It must always be about hard empirical data. Politics is always a popularity contest, that's why the two don't work well together.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2008
  15. softride

    softride Member

  16. alternativefuel

    alternativefuel New Member

    Very cool post. Thank you.
    Now the discussion.....
    I wonder how much energy is used to heat his boiler? If the boiler has to burn for 24/7 that's a lot of wasted energy. We could run a steam engine instead.
    Has anyone seen his plans?
    I guess if you live up north and going to heat your home/hot water with wood you could use that same heat source to heat the boiler at the same time.
  17. JemmaUK

    JemmaUK Guest

    In the UK - 1 Gallon of petrol - 4.54 litres of same - was £6.25 this last time I went to get some.

    This equates to $12.50.

    Even so given 130 miles or so per gallon I am looking at a fuel only per mile cost of 5p or 10 cents american. I am being more careful with the engine at the moment as well, so I should get better mileage.

    So the comparison is - a two way bus trip at £2.80 for an all in distance of about 4 miles.. or getting on the bike and spending 20p for the same trip..

    The only time I dont go into town on the bike is when I will be drinking alcohol, which I do about twice a week. The longest regular journey so far is a 22 mile or so round trip to see my grandmother.

    I have used a small percentage of nitro mix in the motor - I dont think it has helped it any since its running rougher without it - which I find a little odd (unless its clutch noise) and the only thing that it really improved is starting.

    A tuned pipe has made a massive difference. One local hill I would ride up and be at 20mph by the top with the engine really fighting. Now the same hill with a tuned exhaust I hit the same point at 28mph! oddly though I dont have much more top speed - although that might be to do with the carb more than anything else.

    I dont think these eco fuels are the answer. I think that proper and economical use of the technologies we have is much more sensible.. I have seen a 1725cc two stroke motor dyno at 300+hp when my 1725cc engined car could just about hit 90hp.. so will someone tell me why we are using 4-strokes? a hybrid 2 stroke/electric car with the relevant pollution controls would be a much more efficient powerplant and alot easier to package...

    Jemma xx
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2015
  18. nwguy

    nwguy Guest

    Regarding Hydrogen storage, yes that has been one of the three main obstacles thwarting its rise. (green) production and distribution being the other two. Hydrogen requires pressure of about 5k psi for useful storage in gaseous form. One potential storage idea I read about is converting pure Hydrogen to Ammonia (NH3) which can be stored with vastly lower pressures as a liquid at room temperature, and is 3/4 Hydrogen. The smell and dangerous vapors with Ammonia would be yet another obstacle though.
  19. graucho

    graucho Active Member

    For those interested in keeping a MB and a car....
    My expertise is in "ON BOARD" hydrogen fuel cells. No storage tank.
    You turn your car/truch on, it starts producing. Shut it off, it instantly
    stops. Ill start off with the most basic videos showing the principlal of
    making your own fuel cell. This fuel cell will increase milage 1.5 mpg.
    It's not much to brag about but its a perfect lesson.
    Then we can work our way up to getting 37% more milage. Were full of tricks up our sleeeeeeves.

    Start with the oldest view date and work your way to most current.
  20. alternativefuel

    alternativefuel New Member

    Great hydrogen fuel cell starter link graucho.

    Here is a cool video that got me started in 1995.
    I Like the 4 stages of revolutionary development.
    1. Its nonsence. dont waste my time.
    2. O' its interesting, but not important.
    3. I always said it was a good idea.
    4. I thought of it first.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008