After today's race, Chevrolet dropped out as a supplier of engines to the
Indy Racing League (IRL)
Interesting. Although previous Indianapolis 500's have had their share of
British engines as well as American iron, the 2006 Indy 500 will most
likely be a fight between the best from Honda and Toyota. There may be a
stray entry of an older car with a Chevy, but IRL is now All Japanese when
it comes to engines!
Still, it seems an odd digression from a quest for more economical
engines, doesn't it? As the public becomes sensitised to squandering
our grandchildren's energy supplies, will corporations benefit by being
associated with the waste?
I don't see a "digression" at all, in the sense that I think you intend.
Seems to me that pushing the technology to its limits has direct benefits to
building more efficient and cleaner burning, reliable engines. Does anyone
come close to Honda in this regard?
paradoxically, it's not. to get every watt out of a racing engine, you
have to design to get that energy out of the fuel. in terms of energy
output per liter burned, F1 engines are some of the most efficient in
the world. and it's no coincidence that F1 racing is also fuel limited.
that technology is directly usable in the world of domestic economy
engine design. whether detroit /chooses/ to use it is another matter
entirely. look at the specific output [watts per liter] of honda &
toyota engines and compare them with detroit hunkojunks.
On Mon, 17 Oct 2005 06:38:50 -0700, jim beam wrote:
Interesting you call yourself "Jim Beam"! See my other responses to the
OP. Did YOU know these cars run on Methanol? (Most people don't...)
About 14 years ago I was listening to Deborah Norville's radio program
where she had a folk singer who was going to protest the Indy 500 for that
year because he wanted to point out what a waste of gasoline it was. Oh
BOY! I jumped right on the phone and called in, and told them that the
cars run on Methanol, and if ANYTHING he should be PRAISING the engine
builders and engineers for being able to squeeze 600+ HP out of an engine
running a Renewable Resource...
They didn't have much to talk about after that! ;P
On Mon, 17 Oct 2005 07:11:58 -0400, Brent Secombe wrote:
Hmmmm....interesting take on the problem.
Except, you DO know these engines run on Methanol, right? And that
methanol is made from Corn (methanol is actually a form of grain alchohol,
or "White Lightening" or "Moonshine")
If anything, the means to ectract 700+ HP from an engine running Grain
Alchohol should be commended. Add to that the fact they've been doing it
for almost 20 years now, and the real question SHOULD be, why aren't we
developing this technology for street cars.
Now, at the current time, methanol is VERY expensive, mush more than
gasoline. IIRC, the current price for methanol racing fuel is about $6 per
gallon, but this is a purely refined form.
If the technology came into use more, there is no reason why the car
you're driving couldn't un on 25-30% methanol. And if the government had
taken note, instead of playing ball with the fuel companies for the last
20 years, there would have been plenty of oil if there had been more
widespread ethanol replacement. I have been running a 10% mixture of
gasoline and ethanol in one of my cars for almost 20 years now (I seek the
stuff out!) and it still seems to be running just fine. Now the IRL has
announced it will be running an Ethanol/Methanol mix beginning for the
ALL CART/Champ Cars/IRL cars have been running on Methanol since 1979 or
Actually, I'm wrong. From the IRL page:
"Methanol has been the fuel of choice in cars running in the Indianapolis
500 since 1965. A fatal accident involving drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave
MacDonald on the second lap of the 1964 Indianapolis 500 prompted the
Uhm, no. Methanol ("wood alcohol") is the simplest alcohol, ethanol ("grain
alcohol") is the second simplest. They are distinct substances, and methanol
is quite toxic. Don't be giving people ideas that they should drink methanol
to get drunk... they'll loose their eyesight or worse.
(Probably more than you wanted to know at
The problem most people seem to miss, and i too have no actual figures
for, is in the production of methanol (instead of gasoline) are the
power consumptions greater than fuel. Same with hydrogen cells or
electric cars - the power to charge the batteries comes from power
stations, the power to heat/cool/pump chemical reactions round a
refinery all add up and have to be produced by a non-renewable resource
until we get enough wind/tidal power to replace all power stations.
Thank you. No, I didn't know about the methanol. I don't follow racing.
I'm pleased to learn that the fuel is from a renewable resource.
I was born completely ignorant, and I'm still playing catch-up. :-)
On Mon, 17 Oct 2005 21:19:40 -0400, Brent Secombe wrote:
Gee, I think I was too...I can't remember back that far!
Yes, it is a renewable resource, and I wish they would take what they have
learned and apply it to our street cars!
But the oil companies are powerful, and you'd THINK they would be at the
leading edge of research (actually, they probably ARE but are milking the
Dino sources for all they are worth!) and set themselves up as the
'saviours' with the new renewable energy! "You saw it here first!"
Surprising they aren't...
On Mon, 17 Oct 2005 22:01:07 -0700, jim beam wrote:
I dunno...those guys are able to squeeze 700 HP out of a 10 cylinder
engine running the stuff...
I think a couple hundred HP shouldn't be too hard.
The only problem with ethanol? Think of the demands put on the growers of
corn, wheat and soybeans, the major sources of ethanol. There have been
some BAD years for growers, and if we were completely dependant on
ethanol, that could be a problem. Some years there would be less corn on
the table because we'd be putting all of it in our tanks.
But, then again, perhaps we could end the subsidies where we pay growers
NOT to grow crops! And I don't think the farmers would be having all the
tough times they have now, because ALL their output would be in demand
instead of overproduction. Any crop thet can produce ethanol would
probably not go to waste in silos (probably be a GOOD thing, storing it
for a year!)
If they can get the engines to run with a 20-40% ethanol mix, and get the
production of ethanol to where it doesn't take MORE energy to produce than
you get, then I see a win-win situation here.
I guess it comes down to miles per gallon-of-what. We postponed
breeding new dinosaurs, so eventually we'll be stuck with energy from
non-petro sources. I bet you're right about lower mpg's; but if it
comes down to a choice between 30 mpg on a fuel we've exhausted or 10
mpg on distilled dandelions, we'll have to go with the dandelions...
... in which case Scott's will come out with a lawn product that gets
rid of all that ugly grass among the dandelions. :-)
On Tue, 18 Oct 2005 08:59:34 -0400, Brent Secombe wrote:
Well, the other thing is that burning ethanol is a bit cleaner than the
petro fuels, so you'd think the Earthy Crunchies would be rallying for it!
Instead we go for Hydrogen, which is just as difficult to produce, is a
LOT more dangerous and right now requires MAJOR engine redesigns!
I'll take the dandelions...they make good wine, too!
I was in the petro research business for 26 years. Company purchased a fleet
of electric cars in ~1980 and one was mine (and what a POS). We had solar
powered gas stations, had a system for making ethanol from oil with high
rates of conversion and we had an automobile test facility with a wind
tunnel (and no, no secret carburetor). The dirty secret to energy is that
the oil co's sell what customers want to buy. Selling gasoline is better
than dealing drugs; market is bigger and it's legal. The plan was in '75 to
move drivers out of their Eldorados with 472 ci motors into Vegas and Pintos
(to help Ford and GM increase their market. Imagine us being in cahoots with
Ford and GM ). Those pesky drivers purchased Hondas and Toyotas instead!
Many of our customers told us the Government should make big cars illegal
and manged to convince their legislators to adopt a 55mph limit. That wasn't
good for Big Oil. The SUV's were a Godsend for the refining dept. We could't
make money in the early 90's from the refining operations. The Explorer
changed all that. As long as an F350 dually with a huge engine is considerd
a high-status grocery-getter, we are all doomed. I wish Honda sold a Civic
with a 200 hp tdi diesel in the USA. Fast around town and great mpg on the
road (plus being a Honda). 2 things an individual can do to make the world
a better place: Live close to your job and don't drive an RV on vacation.
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