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The fuel of the future is not petro-based gasoline. It may or may not be ethanol, only time will tell. But consider that cellulose ethanol is coming, see:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/21/AR2006062101769_pf.html for details, or it might be something else, see:
http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/p...S01/606210353/1029/business&template=printart

Big business will soon get the costs down to where biofuels are economically competitive with petrofuels. They are already environmentally superior, because the carbon that biofuels release into the atmosphere was already there (plants suck up carbon dioxide) whereas petrofuels add carbon that was buried deep underground. But no matter how cheap they make it, using less of it will still be a good idea, so I don't think we're heading back to driving around in Big Iron.

So, someday soon some of us (read: me) would love to use these fuels in our beloved Insights. What sort of modifications would be needed? I'm an economist, not an automotive engineer, so I can't do it. I've read the threads about E85, and clearly some changes need to be made, perhaps some programing changes to the IMA, different injectors, etc.

Mike? Kip? Can you build us a conversion kit? :)
 

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The first thing you need is a fuel system that doesn't get consumed by the alcohol. That means no rubber, and the right sorts of plastic. Only the design engineer knows for sure what's in use right now--it's possible that the current parts are ok for alcohol.

The second thing you need is an engine control program that can adjust for the different characteristics of the fuel. The current system is probably capable of doing so, but the default settings are certainly not right.

I don't know how "flexible fuel" cars figure out what fuel you're using, but there might be something in the program like "whoa, I'm way out of kilter using the injection map for gasoline, maybe I should try the one for alcohol."

Bottom line: It could be done fairly easily by Honda, but it would be a research project with some risk for anybody else.
 

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I believe one of the members here did try running his Insight on pure alcohol. The engine ran but stalled when idling if memory serves me. This would be an interesting project for a college or university. Personally I'll stick with gasoline for the moment. ;) It is not clear presently that biofuel takes less energy to produce than is used in its synthesis.
 

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Don't remember a 100% alcohol test Kip but there's this one here:

E85 in an unmodified Insight
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... php?t=4701

Short summary:

Doesn't burn well and the long term issues of alcohol corrosion were not investigated. But you could get by in a pinch instead of walking. ;)


HTH! :)
 

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That's the one! :D

Methanol is chemically simple and easily synthesised. It is however slightly acidic and therefore attacks metals. It also removes paint easily and picks up moisture from the air which can deteriorate performance. Methanol vapors attack the human body as it is metabolised.

Pure ethanol is essentially 200 proof vodka. There's just no way the government is going to allow that. ;) Converting sunlight water and earth into vodka is a lossy process. Unless cars get mileage like an Insight it won't be practical. That's too bad as the idea of a drinkable motor fuel does have a certain appeal. :roll:

Alcohol makes for difficult winter starting too. Flex fuel cars have two fuel tanks. Gasoline is used to start the engine in cold weather.
 

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Greetings Dancer,
Its going to take more than a conversion kit in California. Right now there are no stations that sell E85 to the public. As much as I would like to get off of gas and go Bio I realize that until the cost is about 30% less than gas its not going to work.
 

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Ok the flex fuel vehciles I have in My fleet utilize only one fuel tank. The ECM recieves a signal from the fuel alcohol content processor which basically adjusts the fuel injector pulse width and the timing to allow the engine to properly run on either mixture. All 4 of my vehciles are flex fuel Taurus set up for M85. As far as the ethenol being drinkable it actually isn't safe to drink as curently the only ethanol available for mass useage is E85 which still has gasoline in it. From what I am hearing from government sources E85 should be available in select California markets by late 2007. The mileage of a flex fuel vehicle will be approxiamtely 10% less than straight gasoline. The fuel I would prefer to see commercialized more is CNG or propane. I also utilze a flex fuel pickup CNG/gasoline and 6 straight CNG pick ups and vans in the fleet I manage. Both are clean burning and easy to store / available in most areas. As for CNG a refueling station is available to the public for approximatly $3000 which I have considered for My own usage as the refueling stations at My work site get utilized daily and annual maintenance costs are only about $300. i tend to be one of the few agewncies in CAlifornia Govt taht takes the legislation seriuos in alterantive fuel vehiciles as I also now have 4 Civic hybrids in my fleet. ohh and by the way I own an Insight and wife drives a Prius so yeah I take it seriously, in fact bought my first Insight (unit 1108 in 2000,dahmm I miss the 5 spd)
 
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