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Mark Daul: Gasohol and things you should know

by jmaloni
Thu, May 22nd 2014 07:10 pm

by Mark Daul

Outdoors in Niagara

Bob Reese, self described as a "sales dude" for Kinetic Labs Technology on Balmer Road in the Town of Porter, sent me a group of photos of old gas stations, and they brought back a lot of memories. The picture you see is one of them.

Back in 2011, I wrote about E-10 gasoline, and a lot of people around the country were talking about it, too. It was nothing new until people began having engine troubles in their older cars and recreational vehicles. In the picture you see that E-10 gasoline is not new. That picture provided by the Nebraska State Historical Society was taken 81 years ago in 1933. The corn growers in Nebraska were pushing 10 percent blended gasohol even back then. Nebraska being the great corn state that it is would naturally be among the leaders that created this product.

I never realized gasohol was around way back then, and I'll bet a lot of you realize that either. Kinetic Labs developed a technology that puts an end to fears of using "alcohol induced" gasoline. Called K-100, it's what Reese sells and is available in stores, gas stations and auto parts outlets. K-100 makes water burn like your fuel, which is a byproduct of gasohol in your gas tank. It's a natural water/fuel separation process called phase separation.

Gasohol is an interesting topic if you are a car owner. To refresh your memory, E-10 gasoline is a mixture of 10 percent ethanol/corn alcohol and 90 percent gasoline. Now E-15 gas is being experimented in a 15/85 mixture.

Everyone is interested in operating costs, and fuel cost is No. 1 nowadays. With the addition of corn ethanol, gasohol is supposed to make fuel cheaper. Do you think it has made fuel cheaper or are we being spoofed?

Interest back in the 1930s focused on ethanol/corn alcohol for expanding Nebraska farm corn crops, offering farmers another use for their grain crops and the potential to boost prices. But what happened to corn/gasoline from 1933 to 1970 is anybody's guess. Following the end of World War II, the availability of cheap oil resulted in straight gasoline sold at equally cheap prices, and ethanol blends were put on the sidelines until recently.

The top corn producing states are Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota, with Iowa leading the pack as the largest corn producing state according to the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

Remember the gasoline shortages in the early 1970s? It looks like the current interest in corn fuel was reignited back then.

In 1971 Nebraska established a committee to investigate uses for the corn crops. Nebraskans thought they found a new use for corn. I'll bet any money some young enterprising scientist came along and said "Gee, I have an idea, let's use corn alcohol in gasoline!" Obviously he didn't know this had been done back in 1933, and that investigative committee didn't know it either.

In the U.S. we focus on corn to produce the alcohol/ethanol blends for our vehicles, in Brazil, they use ethyl alcohol/ethanol produced from sugarcane. Sugarcane ethanol was first used as a fuel in Brazil in the late 1920s. That's when the automobile was first introduced to that country.

In WWII, oil supplies were threatened, particularly as the war peaked in 1943. The Brazilian government demanded ethanol in gasoline to be as high as 50 percent. As noted Brazil's ethanol/alcohol was derived from sugarcane, produced from sugar in their sugarcane mills. In addition to using it as a motor fuel, it was used for alcoholic beverages, alcohol for antiseptics and other industrial uses. All gasoline sold in Brazil today includes a minimum blend of 18 to 25 percent ethanol, and sometimes even more. Today, Brazil has replaced almost 40 percent of its gasoline needs with sugarcane ethanol.

Remember back in the 1930 through the '60s, cars weren't as sophisticated as they are today with higher running engine temperatures, closer tolerances, fuel injection, hi-tech carburetors, higher compression ratios and things like that. They could probably run on rubbing alcohol or paint thinner back then. Quite different today, as cars are being built to overcome any problems that arise from E10, E15 fuels, and fuel additives to overcome any "phase separation" problems.

Thus the appeal of a product such as K-100.

If you are wondering why the United States doesn't use sugarcane instead of corn for fuel supplements, the U.S. is Brazil's best sugar customer/consumer for its exports.

Scuttlebutt - Things you should know

If you are wondering what kind of swarming bug you are finding outside now, they're called gnats. These pesky little things do no more than annoy you and don't bite. But spiders just love them. Spiders will build their webs right where the little critters like to hang out at night and they'll snag more in one night than they can possibly eat. It's possible you'll see hundreds of gnats outside of your windows and screens dangling from a web that was formed overnight.

Later this month and into early June, the black flies will be out looking to suck out some blood someplace to maintain their health, and that could be from you. Your bites will itch, most cases swell, and in rare cases can cause what they call "black fly fever" which includes headache, nausea and swelling of the lymph nodes. They don't bite at night like a mosquito and on windy days they are rare. They like to hang out in damp woods, feeding on wild critters I suppose, and then come out through the day looking for you and me.

In a previous column, I mentioned Mozi-Q, a new oral non-toxic fly/mosquito repellent developed in Calgary, Alberta, and how Erin Bosch, the developer had been seeking financial assistance from multi-millionaires on the Dragon's Den, a popular Canadian TV show, as she wanted to expand into the United States. She got the assistance and Mozi-Q is now in this country. I found it on the Internet from Florida and was impressed from what I saw on the TV show so I bought a package of it. You eat a tablet 30 minutes before exposing yourself and it is supposed to repel other blood-sucking insects.

I bought it primarily to see how it will work with black flies. When they bite me, I suffer for weeks, and if this stuff works, it is worth the $14.95, plus shipping. I paid for 30 tablets. The package recommends taking one tablet 3-5 hours when outside. They say it is good for mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, chiggers, No-See-Um's, sand flies, head lice and bed bugs. Called Mozi-Q, the U.S. seller is "Camping Connection" in Kissimmee, Florida. They have a website and they also sell it on eBay. More details, visit www.campingconnection.com.

•Boating update refresher. Remember, a law enacted in 2009, all boaters (with a boat 21 feet or less) are now required to wear a personal flotation device from Nov. 1 through May 1 - unless you are on a charter boat. Charter vessels are exempt from this legislation according to that law. Charter captains have very strict licensing requirements, and one of those is knowing first aid, rescue attempts, and extremely strict drug and alcohol regulations, besides all that, they know the character of the river and lake the best.

•For up-to-date Lake Ontario conditions close to home, check out www.OutdoorsNiagara.com website. Take yourself fishing, take a kid fishing, and don't forget to take your elders too!

So Smart sez: Geese are easy to age. Simply look at their tail feathers. Juvenile geese have a V notch at the tip of their tail feathers. Adult geese, however, have a rounded or pointed tip on their tail feathers.

Comments, suggestions? Email [email protected] or Terry Duffy [email protected].

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