Wednesday 3rd of September 2014

octane, alcohol, petrol, toluene plus the smell of oil rags and of doing donuts...

toluene and octane

NSW'S E10 unleaded fuel mandate is a ''debacle'' and is costing the state's motorists millions, according to an international study.

The Texas Tech University research found motorists had a ''significant aversion'' to the ethanol blended product.

With the push for E10 reducing the availability of regular grade unleaded, motorists had instead flocked to the more expensive premium petrol because of concerns about E10's potential engine damage as well as fuel efficiency.

Most modern engines are constructed to take ethanol in the combustible mix. In my book, ethanol is a dry combustible that is too say it has no lubricating property. None. When used in model aeroplanes 2-stroke engines, ethanol has to be mixed with oil for lubrication and petrol. Pure ethanol burns with far more efficiency and far hotter than petrol.

Under high compression, any sort of oil will burn and explode. In big ships, heavy oils, that would even clog up diesel engines, are used. Most diesel engines can cope with banana oil or french fries oil should they be the only ones available... But in the end it's a question of maximising efficiency and retail management.

One is trying to "save" the environment by using E10, when one actually is doing a service to the sugar cane industry — an industry that is subsidised to make ethanol. Wine does not have ethanol but methanol, which is a different alcohol that has no permanent side effects, except when "abused". Ethanol is made from methanol by a separate chemical process, but ethanol is basically deadly for consumption. It will induce blindness and kill quickly should it be ingested.

As the articles in the picture above point out, the octane rating is one of the most important for engine power. In small aviation, the fuel (petrol) is usually 100 octane (pure petrol — no solvents), though I know that at times some pilots had to call on the 98 octane petrol at power stations when the 100 octane fuel is not available. It demands a different setting for the fuel/air mix (which always needs to be adjusted as altitude varies — the higher the plane, the "thinner" the air is).

As one can see from the advert by shell on the right in the picture, they advertise methyl benzene as a power boost for your engine. Methyl benzene (benzine) is TOLUENE (a solvent). Toluene is used to manufacture paints and other stuff but it burns rather well and in the process of refining naphtha, toluene may settle at the same level as petrol in the "cracking" towers. Though it also can be added to. Most petrol at the pump contains some small proportion of toluene — except in the 100 octane. 

The petrol companies may as well sell you the toluene as an engine booster which they do, or simply as a filler part of the lower quality "regular" (91 octane)... One of the draw back is that toluene is classified as an "aromatic substance" and as blended in the petrol is the source of "petrol sniffing" acting like powerful drugs with dire consequences. This is why in most Aboriginal communities, petrol is the low aromatic kind or the 100 octane to minimise sniffing. 

When filling up your car at petrol stations, avoid breathing the fumes. It's not the petrol that can damage your brains but the "extra aromatic substances" that will.

Gus Leonisky

Your local combustible expert



politics, petrol and doing milit'ry donuts...


LONDON –  The price of oil declined below $101 per barrel after disappointing earnings in the U.S. on Friday, having earlier risen on worries about the tensions in Ukraine.

Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery shed $1.07 to $100.87 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, gave up 27 cents to $110.06 on the ICE Futures exchange in London a day after gaining $1.22.

Ukraine is going through its biggest political crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, sparked by months of anti-government protests and President Viktor Yanukovych's flight to Russia. Ukrainian forces launched an operation Thursday to drive pro-Russia insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country's turbulent east. In response, Russia responded by announcing military exercises near Ukraine's border.

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when veggie oils are fuel...


This is what I was writing about when I mentioned oils in the top story...

When the cost of fuel starts to hurt, most people ponder about driving less or switching cars. But not Rebecca Howe. She switched fuels - to vegetable oil.

PULLING UP at the traffic lights smelling like fish and chips is a feeling youth worker Rebecca Howe knows all too well while puttering around in her 1986 model Toyota Land Cruiser.
“The car was built to last – but not with fuel economy in mind – which is why I’ve converted it to run on vegetable oil,” she said.The Marrickville resident said her conversion kit warms the vegetable oil to an ideal temperature and then automatically switches from diesel fuel to straight vegetable oil.“You need a diesel car to do this but I run it for 5km before switching over to vegie oil and back to diesel 5km before I end my trip because it’s (vegie oil) so thick that it can result in unburned fuel clogging the engine,” she said.Although vegetable oil produces some carbon emissions, Ms Howe said her impact is minimal as her car is fuelled with used and filtered cooking oil.“The conversation with a restaurant owner can be a little awkward at first, but I get oil from pubs, restaurants and cafes from the area,” she said.While there are no statistics available for the fuel economy of a vegie-powered car, Ms Howe has been happy with the returns.“I can get about 300kms from 60 litres of vegie oil,” she said.
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One of the major problem is that many "industrial" vegetable cooking oils are "solidified" at normal temperatures, this is why the oils mostly need to be "warmed up" ... As well there are a few firms that do the rounds of restaurant and buy the oil for recycling to whatever, including making soap, after a "clean up". Another problem is that should everyone use veggie oil in cars, the air should become a tad loaded with fumes and the price of "used" veggie oil would go through the roof.
Go solar...


petrol price collusion?...

The competition watchdog has launched legal action against Australia's major petrol retailers for price sharing.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched Federal Court action against petrol price information service Informed Sources, and several of its key clients.

The retailers targeted by the ACCC action are BP, Caltex, Eureka Operations (Coles Express), Woolworths and 7-Eleven.

"The ACCC alleges that the arrangements were likely to increase retail petrol price coordination and cooperation, and were likely to decrease competitive rivalry," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

"Given the importance of price competition in petrol retailing, the ACCC is concerned that consumers may be paying more for petrol as a result."

More to come.

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Guess what?... Should there be a "penalty" for the petrol companies, guess who is going to pay for it? You, me and everybody in this country... Plus the excise increments, unemployment going up and the Aussie dollar falling on its arse, the petrol price would soon edge towards $2 a litre, I'd imagine....