Fuels and Marine Engines
too, may soon be running your boat's engine on fatty acid methyl
ester. On what?
environmental movement and the high cost of oil are generating
new energy solutions. Biodiesel-- the street name for what your
chemistry professor would call fatty acid methyl ester-- may be
workable for you. Whether it came directly from soybeans or corn
or from discarded restaurant cooking oil or grease that was refined,
these alternatives may hold the key to reducing our dependence
on foreign oil.
of vegetable based biofuels point out that the plants remove carbon
monoxide from the atmosphere. Congress agreed and, for a few other
reasons, last year mandated a concerted biofuels program that
would help keep U.S. farmland in continuous production and farmers
are some serious issues regarding ethanol for boaters who have
2- or 4-stroke outboard dinghy engines. Dont make a habit
of using gasoline that has higher than the familiar 10% ethanol.
Your outboard can experience performance problems that turned
up in tests. But even at 10% ratios, ethanol can attack the fuel
system components such as gaskets and lines. There may be leaking,
hardening and corrosion. Ethanol containing fuels can degrade
the surface of fiberglass fuel tanks.
more on biofuels and your boat, read the June, 2007 Cruising World
article, Whats New At The Fuel Dock.
as we all suspect, it cant be simple. For all the promises
of alternative fuels, there are costs and there are unintended
consequences. Many knowledgeable people decry the use of corn
and soybeanscrops that would otherwise feed humans on an
increasingly crowded planetto fuel our machines. In its
April 15, 2008 issue, The New York Times printed an article titled,
Fuel Choices, Food Crises and Finger-Pointing. They
a reaction is building against policies in the
United States and Europe to promote ethanol and similar fuels,
with political leaders from poor countries contending that these
fuels are driving up food prices and starving poor people. Biofuels
are fast becoming a new flash point in global diplomacy, putting
pressure on Western politicians to reconsider their policies,
even as they argue that biofuels are only one factor in the seemingly
inexorable rise in food prices.
In some countries, the higher prices are leading to riots,
political instability and growing worries about feeding the poorest
people. Food riots contributed to the dismissal of Haitis
prime minister last week, and leaders in some other countries
are nervously trying to calm anxious consumers.
It may cause a crisis of conscience to some that the biofuel one
put in his tank might have fed a family in a third world country.
Its been said that the corn that made the ethanol that filled
an SUV tank could have fed one man for a year.
A recent accounting of the growing
furor over biofuels vs. food may be read in an article from
Der Spiegel Online.