Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ethanol as automobile fuel: the new is actually old

A post titled Biofuel Industry Responds To Attack Ad includes the text:

[ POET CEO Jeff ] Lautt says that the biofuels industry now has ten percent of the market and that number could reach as high as 20. That's why, he says, the oil industry launched the first ad.

“It's a bit of a David/Goliath. We are the first alternative to their product in really the history of this country, so we're going to defend that," Lautt said.

Wikipedia notes of Ford's Model T:

The engine was capable of running on gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol,[14][15] although the decreasing cost of gasoline and the later introduction of Prohibition made ethanol an impractical fuel for most users.

Separately, National Geographic noted:

From the original design, the Model T ran on ethanol as well as petroleum. Ford believed ethanol would become the most commonly used fuel source, and as early as 1925 envisioned an America that would grow its own fuel, making it out of everything from potatoes to sawdust. With more people willing to consume agricultural goods, he believed, farmers' produce would have more market value. Forces were beyond his control, however, and the economic crisis affecting farming only increased with the onset of the Great Depression.

In 1927, in order to compete with General Motors, a new up-and-coming car company, Ford issued his first new car model since the Model T: the Model A. After that new cars rolled out of Ford Motor Company's doors on a more regular basis, and with them came the phasing out of the classic Model T–and Ford's vision for ethanol use in the near future.

Thus, Lautt's statement is not entirely accurate.

Separately, recall an earlier post on IPBiz, Henry Ford and ethanol including the text

Within US Patent 8,487,149 [Gevo], one finds the text:

Biofuels are renewable transportation fuels which have a long history ranging back to the beginning on the 20th century. As early as 1900, Rudolf Diesel demonstrated an engine running on peanut oil. Soon thereafter, Henry Ford demonstrated his Model T running on ethanol derived from corn. However, petroleum-derived fuels displaced biofuels in the 1930s and 1940s due to increased supply and efficiency at a lower cost.

Fuels from petroleum had displaced biofuels long before the 1930s and 1940s.


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