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A bill looks to put an end to government promotion of burning food for fuel

Should America burn its food crops for fuel?  A new Senate bill looks to change the government's policy on that question.

I. Short and Sweet, Like Corn -- But Not For Big Corn

If you read enough legislation from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, you'll notice something.  The longer a bill is, the more likely it is to be a bad bill, littered with special interest earmarks and loaded language.

The new Senate bill is not a long bill.

It weighs in at under 2 and 1/2 pages.  While still a bit on the verbose side (it could arguably summarized in three sentences) this is a relatively rare and remarkable instance of brevity.  Under the working title "The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013" [PDF], the bill is so fresh it has not even received a number yet.

The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013


The bill is sponsored by the office of U.S. Senator Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein (D-Calif.).  While Sen. Feinstein's support of the federal government spying on law-abiding Americans  by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has angered many social libertarians, including left-leaning ones, her bill should please those who feel the government should step back from its current role as a rampant market manipulator, allowing consumers to decide in a free market what they want.

Sen. Feinstein
Some might be surprised at Sen. Feinstein's new bill, which aims to scale back one key government market manipulation program. [Image Source: Sen. Feinstein]

It is cosponsored by eight Republican Senators and two of Sen. Feinstein's fellow Senate Democrats.  It states its purpose as:

To amend the Clean Air Act to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate for renewable fuel, and for other purposes.

The first paragraph of the proposed changes states:

(a) REMOVAL OF TABLE —Section 211(o)(2)(B)(i) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545(o)(2)(B)(i)) is amended by striking subclause (I).

What is "42 U.S.C. 7545(o)(2)(B)(i) subclause (I)"? You guesed it -- the paragraph of the law that institutionalizes corn ethanol market manipulation.

Senator Tom Coburn
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) [Image Source: Conservative.me]

The bill is co-sponsored by: * (the bill's coauthor)

Of these authors, only four are from states that produce corn on a substantial scale.  Those four come from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Tennessee -- states with small corn industries that are 15th, 19th, and 20th in terms of corn production by state, respectively (source [PDF]: U.S. Census Bureau).

Sen. Coburn tells Thomson Reuters:

Eliminating this mandate will let market forces, rather than political and parochial forces, determine how to diversify fuel supplies in an ever-changing marketplace.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein adds in her press release:

Under the corn ethanol mandate in the RFS, roughly 44 percent of U.S. corn is diverted from food to fuel, pushing up the cost of food and animal feed and damaging the environment. Oil companies are also unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for automobiles, boats and other vehicles. I strongly support requiring a shift to low-carbon advanced biofuel, including biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and other revolutionary fuels. But a corn ethanol mandate is simply bad policy.

Corn ears
The bill sharply divides politicians from corn farming states from their Congressional colleagues.
[Image Source: Farm Progress]

The bill generally divides politicians in corn farming states against their party colleagues in non-corn states.  However, it appears to have majority support in both the U.S. Senate and House, the latter of which is controlled by Republicans who are eager to appear to oppose market manipulation and government handouts in lieu of next year's elections.

II. Other Biofuel Quotas Left Untouched

The rest of the law is remarkably simple -- it just renumbers the remaining biofuel mandates which are preserved and removes one other reference to the corn ethanol mandate in the mandate for cellulosic ethanol (a chemically identical alternative to corn ethanol which is produced from non-food sources).

Yes, the bill does leave in place market manipulation to create market demand for lesser used, less controversial biofuels, including biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol.

Cellulosic visualization
Commercial ethanol from cellulose (pictured) tough sugar polymer in woody plants has thus far proven commercially infeasible, making its blending quotas a moot point. [Image Source: CUNY]

In the case of cellulosic ethanol this is pretty much a moot point as there's been virtually no commercial production to date. Researchers have failed to come up with a cheap enough process to convert cellulose (a tough polymer found in woody plants) to fuel.
 
Two cellulosic ethanol startups -- Inios Bio and KiOR -- claim to be "near" commercial production, after tens of millions in startup capital.  But neither company has a working commercial scale plant yet.
 
Other cellulosic ethanol companies -- such as Coskata, which General Motors Comp. (GM) backed pre-bankruptcy -- are still floating around, showcasing "semi-commercial" scale plants -- which produce hundreds of gallons of fuel a month, not millions.  But compared to the ambitious claims of a few years back, it would certainly seem such firms have lost a degree of their momentum.

Biodiesel
The bill protects biodiesel, which also comes from food crops. [Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

The biodiesel issue is slightly thornier -- particularly since there will invariably be accusations of favoritism (Sen. Feinstein's home state of Calif. is a top biodiesel hotbed).  However, in the grand scheme of things biofuel blending quotas this year was about a tenth (at 1.7 billion gallons) of corn ethanol production.  And the fuel generally is more compatible with older vehicles and yields better fuel economy than ethanol blends.  So leaving biodiesel in place, if problematic, is much less so than corn ethanol.
 
III. At Stake -- The Renewable Fuel Standard
 
Currently the position of the U.S. federal government on whether food should be burned for fuel is a resounding "yes".  The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), signed into law by President George Walker Bush (R) in 2007 institutionalized market manipulation to promote corn ethanol.
 
The bill requires refiners to blend in a certain number of gallons (in the billions) of corn ethanol fuel into gasoline.  Those who don't blend face stiff fines under the provisions of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7545).  Because the refiners are forced to blend in ethanol, consumers are, in effect, forced to buy it -- whether or not they like it.
The Clean Air Act
The Clean Air Act was initially intended to protect U.S. air quality, via market controls/manipulation.  It was expanded by the RFS to promote ethanol in the name of "national security". [Image Source: Earth Times]

The Clean Air Act gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the ability to regulate (i.e. manipulate) the U.S. fuel market as the federal government sees fit.  As its title suggests, the initial purposes of this market manipulation was to promote clean air.  With 2007's RFS it was transformed into a tool to give special interest handouts to big corn farming corporations, or to protect U.S. national security, depending on who you ask.

Gasoline containing ethanol is known by the fractional volume of the fluid occupied by the ethanol.  Today the U.S. sits at the so-called "blend wall" with most of the fuel sold at E10 -- 10 percent ethanol by volume.  The blend wall works out to the federal government forcing refineries to purchase 13.0 billion gallons of corn ethanol a year.

Increase that number by a billion gallons or so -- as the RFS law demands -- and you go over that blending wall, forcing refineries to start producing and selling modest quantities of E15.

Ethanol Fuel Blends
Common ethanol fuel blends [Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

There are plenty of criticisms of E10.  Studies have shown corn ethanol produces more greenhouse gases over its lifecycle than gasoline.  And some studies have even suggest that the entire production process for corn ethanol can be energy negative -- using more fuel than is produced.
 
And E10 requires engines to operate in so-called "mixed mode", delivering lower efficiencies.  In layman's terms ethanol and gasoline are chemically different enough that an engine cannot be optimized to burn both efficiently.  In some nations like Brazil who have a massive excess of sugar production, cars run on pure ethanol; these engines are very efficient. However, in the U.S. gasoline is the dominant fuel.
 
So when consumers use E10, they get fewer miles out of a tank of gas as their engine runs less efficiently.  Ethanol producers contend that the artificially created "competition" with gasoline producers has lowered the price at the pump, offsetting this lower efficiency.

Ethanol production
One criticism of corn ethanol fuel is that it produces more emissions than gasoline over its life cycle and may actually consume more fuel than it yields. [Image Source: Alternative-Energy News]

They point out that ethanol reduces U.S. dependence on foreign oil.  A third of the U.S. oil imports come from a relative secure foreign state -- Canada, the largest single exporter of oil to the U.S.  And more might come from there had current U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama (D) not blocked the Keystone XL pipeline.

Still approximately a third of U.S. oil imports come from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) -- which includes member states affiliated with terrorism and/or hostile regimes including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela (source: U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA)).  Corn ethanol indeed reduces imports, potentially saving some American lives in conflicts in these volatile regions over resources.  However, critics point out that there are alternatives -- including opening up more U.S. lands to fracking or promoting a combination electrified vehicles + nuclear power.

Sources: The Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2013 [PDF], Sen. Feinstein [press release], The New York Times, The Gazette [Cedar Rapids, Iowa]



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Well, that's new...
By Zok on 12/13/2013 3:36:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The new Senate bill is not a long bill.

It weighs in at under 2 and 1/2 languages .


I wonder what the other 1.5 are?




RE: Well, that's new...
By Captain Awesome on 12/13/2013 5:29:40 PM , Rating: 5
Probably Spanish (one language), and Canadian English (half a language, since you just add lots of u's to words like colour and flavour and moouse).


Please do us a favor?
By marvdmartian on 12/16/2013 9:44:10 AM , Rating: 2
BEFORE you put a photo of Diane (DARTH) Feinstein in an article, PLEASE post a large font warning above it? Damn, I paged down, and got walloped with that photo of her so hard, I damn near fell out of my chair!

Really uncool thing to do to your readers, first thing on a Monday morning, ya know??




By Mint on 12/13/2013 4:02:21 PM , Rating: 1
Hate to bust everyone's bubble, but a mandate means nothing without economic incentive or penalties to back it up. The rise of E10 happened while corn ethanol incentives (D6 RINs) were worth almost nothing.

Corn ethanol's market price is substantially lower than RBOB gasoline, so gas stations have no incentive to buy E0 unless consumers pay extra for the latter. Good luck with that.

This is exactly what politicians should support to appeal to free-marketers and environmentalists alike. I'm certainly for it.

Given that 4 senators from corn states are supporting it (as Jason notes, though I'm not sure why he says "only"), and that it has bipartisan support, I'm optimistic.




two way street
By iowafarmer on 12/14/13, Rating: 0
RE: two way street
By iowafarmer on 12/14/2013 4:53:53 PM , Rating: 1
There is a federally supported corn checkoff. Producers voted on the checkoff at the FSA office. Producers were told it passed. Each bushel of corn sold is assessed .01 that can be used to promote corn. No funds can be used for lobbying. If you are really interested in the checkoff you can find it in the government record.

I find it curious that the math seems to indicate that corn would be eligible to be considered an advanced biofuel if it weren't excluded by definition, and the indirect land use factor were not included in the calculation for inclusion. California imports more expensive ethanol from Brazil designated an advanced biofuel and in the indirect land use factor in the corn calculation the energy to produce the cane ethanol is included in the corn calculation. The ships with cheaper exported US corn ethanol to Brazil meet the ships bringing cane ethanol to California. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-29/brazil-s-...

The process of converting corn to ethanol is still evolving and efficiencies have apparently improved rapidly. Farmers do have an interest in oil production. They sell mineral and oil rights and leases on their land. Often time these include percentages on production returns. Farmers are observing the burning of flared gas at an estimated 20-30 of production. If you are interested in buying a lease they are available for sale. http://www.crude.com/investor-center/invest-in-the...

Links to crop production.
http://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Field_Cro...


Reduces reliance on foreign oil?
By Jalek on 12/15/2013 3:22:37 AM , Rating: 1
Do people still believe that? Currently, 3 million barrels of gasoline are exported daily, at least some of that crude that is imported is just refined and exported.

It's not necessary for national security, economic stability, or anything beyond oil company profits.




Really?
By TEAMSWITCHER on 12/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: Really?
By aurareturn on 12/13/2013 2:38:14 PM , Rating: 3
This place is completely bias and they are not afraid to show it either.


RE: Really?
By Mint on 12/13/2013 3:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
DT is full of misguided political rants, but this particular objection is the most inane whining ever. I'd guess TEAMSWITCHER is far more ashamed of the president's name than Jason is.


RE: Really?
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/13/13, Rating: 0
RE: Really?
By MaDeuce on 12/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: Really?
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/13/2013 7:47:10 PM , Rating: 1
5 posts since your account was created and your done with DT? LOL


RE: Really?
By MaDeuce on 12/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: Really?
By glowingghoul on 12/13/2013 2:58:40 PM , Rating: 4
What nonsense. He's printing your president's full name, and it's quite a stretch to suggest anything is being inferred.

I've never seen any politician so coddled by his supporters. I suspect the self appointed Obama defenders get some ego boost by "protecting" the poor, helpless man-child in office. It's probably the same reason he gets away with not being accountable for anything (unless its positive).


RE: Really?
By amanojaku on 12/13/2013 3:05:09 PM , Rating: 6
quote:
Invoking President Obama's middle name to infer some kind of false Arab reference
Maybe you should read the article again. Every politician's name is fully spelled out, including nicknames. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.


RE: Really?
By papabear38 on 12/13/2013 3:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
Did Mick offend your iFeeling? Or are you hurt that DT readers gave you an average rating of ~ 1?


RE: Really?
By xerosleep on 12/13/2013 3:40:42 PM , Rating: 3
Invoking President Bushes middle name to infer some kind of false Texas Ranger reference is downright shameful. It's time to remove DailyTech from my bookmarks.


RE: Really?
By Flunk on 12/13/2013 3:45:13 PM , Rating: 5
To be fair to Jason Mick (who I could tell wrote this without reading the byline) he often spells out politician's middle names, in addition to constantly misspelling the word government and several other odd things he always does.

Corn ethanol is not a right vs left issue. It's a industry kickback issue. They need to repeal those subsidies because making fuel from corn doesn't make economic sense and quite likely never will.

The whole process drives up costs for food and fuel and doesn't actually yield any more fuel because of all the diesel used in the corn production.


RE: Really?
By Mint on 12/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: Really?
By Mint on 12/13/2013 6:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
Are you people allergic to facts? What possible basis do you have for rating me down?

FACT: corn ethanol production subsidies are over.

FACT: the EPA will cut the corn ethanol mandate by 20% from the original 2014 targets.

FACT: Right now, CBOT ethanol futures for 2014 are $1.60/gal, while RBOB gasoline futures are $2.55-$2.85/gal.


RE: Really?
By CZroe on 12/14/2013 9:21:27 AM , Rating: 2
Mandating that people buy it is as bad as a subsidy. They don't care what government action brings them the monies.


RE: Really?
By Mint on 12/15/2013 1:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
EPA: We mandate 18 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used this year.
Market: We're not going to want more than 13 billion gallons of ethanol and 2 billion biodiesel.
EPA: Oh, sorry. We mandate 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used this year.

That's what a "mandate" means to the EPA. They also cut cellulosic ethanol targets year after year. In practice there is no hard mandate and it's really just a soft goal.


RE: Really?
By CZroe on 12/17/2013 2:26:52 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say anything about the targets. I want Ethanol-free fuel in my motorcycle because it sits a long time and Ethanol goes bad. I can't get Ethanol-free fuel. I have to buy E10.

How is forcing us to buy it not mandating that we buy it and giving money to the producers just like a subsidy? Its is mandating that we buy it even if we didn't consume 18 billion gallons.


RE: Really?
By 0ldman on 12/24/2013 5:31:57 PM , Rating: 1
I know.

It isn't like they used Bush's full name...

Oh, wait, they did.


Horsepower
By MaDeuce on 12/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: Horsepower
By Alexvrb on 12/13/2013 11:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
They can do it without subsidies, though.

I know the SBC Flex Gen Vs make substantially more power on E85, bone stock. I imagine this applies to a lot of modern DI flex engines to varying degrees... although as you pointed out, it only makes sense if you're looking for smiles over miles.


RE: Horsepower
By JZavala on 12/14/2013 6:03:50 AM , Rating: 2
not even smiles over miles. the more power you make with a big engine, means you can reduce displacement, thus reducing fuel requirements.

the more compression you can get, more energy you can extract, i know on my engine(13bt), i could run something like +30lbs of boost on true e-85 fuels due to its massive benefits.

having a proper electronic controlled turbocharger for 89/91/93/e-85 fuel mixtures could really help the idea of spreading more ethanol rich fuels into the system, because you'd only really need a 1.4-2 liter engine to make all the power you really need for highway cruising and passing and still get well over 30mpg highway. even an suv would make do with a much smaller v6's in the sub 3 liter range with turbo's rather than the monstrous 4.5+ liter v8's that many have now.

food for fuel. cant even eat the corn they use for ethanol anyway.


RE: Horsepower
By EricMartello on 12/14/2013 3:22:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
not even smiles over miles. the more power you make with a big engine, means you can reduce displacement, thus reducing fuel requirements.


This is entirely incorrect. Refer to the law of conservation of energy - energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This means that to produce a certain level of power output, measured as horsepower, the amount of fuel required to produce said power will remain constant.

Forced induction in the form of turbos or superchargers increase an engine's effective displacement by increasing the amount of air available for combustion. Increasing the air supply requires a proportionate increase in fuel.

quote:
the more compression you can get, more energy you can extract, i know on my engine(13bt), i could run something like +30lbs of boost on true e-85 fuels due to its massive benefits.


You're only half right - the additional air you gain as boost from a turbo or supercharger requires additional fuel. What you get with E85 is a higher octane rating, which means it will not detonate (self ignite) under higher boost pressures. Octane refers to a fuel's resistance to detonation.

Typical 93 octane pump gas limits maximum boost pressure to roughly 2 bar (~29 PSI) at sea level. Point is, you are not conserving fuel by running E85. You are simply burn more of it to make additional power due to its higher octane. As a side note, you can do the same thing with propane and get even better results. Propane's octane rating is around 110 and you can get it just about anywhere.

quote:
because you'd only really need a 1.4-2 liter engine to make all the power you really need for highway cruising and passing and still get well over 30mpg highway


FYI The 8.4L V10 in the Viper produces a peak of 640 HP yet is still capable of attaining ~25 MPG on the highway. This is without any cylinder deactivation or fancy electronic systems. Modern large-displacement V8 engines produce peak power levels over 400 HP and can do better than 30 MPG highway.

Small displacement engines have their place but they are not a requirement for fuel efficiency.


RE: Horsepower
By Solandri on 12/15/2013 5:20:42 AM , Rating: 2
No, he's correct. Energy is conserved, but power is the rate at which you're producing energy. If you have two engines which can produce the same power, the higher compression engine will be smaller. It will burn fuel at the same rate as the lower compression engine, but it will be lighter. The car is therefore lighter, and same amount of power will thus push it faster, and it will travel further than the lower compression engine on the same amount of fuel. This is the reason why leaf blowers and lawn mowers typically use 2-stroke engines even though they're much less efficient than 4-stroke engines. For those applications, the power to mass ratio matters more than energy efficiency. A leafblower which is too heavy to lift is rather useless.

The higher compression ratios are also slightly more efficient. It increases the temperature of combustion, as well as decreases the temperature of the exhaust when the gases are decompressed. This larger temperature differential leads to a higher efficiency. The longer mechanical stroke also helps efficiency (a 20:1 compression ratio has 19 units of energy-producing stroke vs 1 wasted unit, while a 10:1 compression ratio has 9 units of energy-producing stroke vs 1 wasted unit).


RE: Horsepower
By EricMartello on 12/15/2013 9:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, he's correct.


He was wrong and now so are you.

quote:
Energy is conserved, but power is the rate at which you're producing energy.


No it's not. Power is the rate at which "work" can be performed. The engine generates torque, a twisting force, which is "work". The quicker the engine can spin (RPM) while maintaining a level of torque (work) the more power you will produce. This is highschool physics stuff most people who didn't go to a US public school would know.

quote:
It will burn fuel at the same rate as the lower compression engine, but it will be lighter.


False again. The NA (normally aspirated) engine of larger displacement will burn roughly the same amount of fuel and produce the same amount of power as a smaller displacement forced induction engine, assuming the boost on the smaller engine increases its effective displacement to be equivalent to the NA engine.

Example: A 2.0 liter engine with 2 bar of boost will have the same effective displacement as a 6.0 liter NA engine at sea level.

As for weight savings, again, that may or may not be the case. Turbo and Supercharged engines need to be built from durable materials to be reliable, so they often have iron blocks or "overbuilt" aluminum blocks. In most cases, the forced induction engine along with its supporting equipment weighs greater than or equal to an NA engine of the same power rating.

Space savings is really the only notable benefit over NA, allowing for smaller engines to still produce decent power and torque...but as power levels increase, the space-saving element starts to vanish because the compressors need to be larger and require more large-diameter plumbing, plus an intercooler as well as a larger radiator.

quote:
This is the reason why leaf blowers and lawn mowers typically use 2-stroke engines even though they're much less efficient than 4-stroke engines.


Not really. They use 2-stroke engines because they are simple and easy to maintain, in addition to being cheaper to manufacture. They're also notoriously unreliable. Four-stroke engines do not achieve the same speed as 2-stroke engines but what they give up in RPM they make up for in torque...plus they are quieter, cleaner and generally more efficient.

quote:
For those applications, the power to mass ratio matters more than energy efficiency. A leafblower which is too heavy to lift is rather useless.


I have a four stroke blower that works great. Starts every time and runs quietly.

Power-to-weight benefits are slim to none as mentioned above. Due to the relatively low power levels that turbo econo cars operate at, the weight of the vehicle does not encumber it so much so that shaving (or gaining) a few pounds makes a difference one way or the other in terms of fuel efficiency, handling or acceleration.

quote:
The higher compression ratios are also slightly more efficient. It increases the temperature of combustion, as well as decreases the temperature of the exhaust when the gases are decompressed.


A proper forced-induction engine has a lower static compression ratio than an NA engine, typically 8.5:1 instead of 10:1 for an NA engine, and with a turbo or S/C the only thing that's being compressed is air, which allows more of it to be forced into the cylinder - along with more fuel. The act of a turbo or supercharger compressing the intake charge causes it to heat up, so forced induction engines tend to run hotter and have higher cooling demands.

The exhaust temperatures of forced induction vehicles is significantly hotter than that of NA vehicles, not cooler. Removing restriction on exhaust flow is often the first thing people do to boost the power of a forced induction engine - it tends to have a greater positive effect than replacing the exhaust on a NA engine.

quote:
This larger temperature differential leads to a higher efficiency.


In theory, maybe a slight advantage would be possible, however in reality heat soak negates this "benefit" and in fact causes a net power reduction.

Heat soak is what happens when components in proximity to the engine heat up due to the heat being radiated by the engine. Drive a turbo car in the winter and it feels a lot more powerful than it does on a hot summer day. Heat soak affects NA cars to a much lesser degree. This is one reason a large displacement NA engine is preferable to a smaller displacement turbo or S/C engine for racing.

quote:
The longer mechanical stroke also helps efficiency (a 20:1 compression ratio has 19 units of energy-producing stroke vs 1 wasted unit, while a 10:1 compression ratio has 9 units of energy-producing stroke vs 1 wasted unit).


Long stroke typically means low RPM, which also means low power with high torque - think diesel engines. Gasoline engines have controlled ignition (spark plugs) and so the stroke length and static compression ratio is limited by the fuel's octane rating.

Stroke has less to do with efficiency and more to do with designing an engine for a specific task. An engine that's going to be towing or hauling heavy loads benefits from more torque and therefore a longer stroke. A sports car or even a "general purpose" car sees little benefit from high torque ratings and does better with an engine biased toward power output.

The only measure where forced induction engines are consistently and significantly more efficient than NA engines is with regard to volumetric efficiency (power output per unit of displacement).

From a fuel efficiency standpoint there is virtually no difference when both engines have equal power ratings.


RE: Horsepower
By rountad on 12/16/2013 11:45:29 AM , Rating: 2
There's a lot of good info in your post, but also at least a couple of glaring errors, too.

Torque is not work.
Torque does not need to involve movement.
Horsepower is work.
Work involves movement by definition.

You can apply torque to a fastener and not move it. But, you haven't done any work if it doesn't move.


RE: Horsepower
By EricMartello on 12/16/2013 5:09:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Torque is not work.
Torque does not need to involve movement.
Horsepower is work.
Work involves movement by definition.


This is not correct. Horsepower is a unit of power equal to 760 Watts.

Work does involve movement and we're operating on the assumption that the engines in the cars have enough torque to move them. A car not moving does not change the fact that torque represents its capacity to do work.

The SI unit for work is "joule", and in the US we use "foot-pounds" - which is also what we use for torque.

Horsepower cannot be work because horsepower is a calculated value derived from engine speed (RPM) and torque (ft-lbs). If RPM equals zero, horsepower also equals zero and the engine is not producing any power.

The SI unit for horsepower is "watts", and the best way to think about horsepower is as the rate at which torque is applied. Horsepower increases when the engine is spinning faster while maintaining a certain level of torque.

quote:
You can apply torque to a fastener and not move it. But, you haven't done any work if it doesn't move.


By the same token, if the torque applied is insufficient to overcome the friction of the fastener, then no horsepower has been generated because power is work done over the time it took to do said work.


RE: Horsepower
By rountad on 12/16/2013 6:10:18 PM , Rating: 2
It is correct. And there are actually 746. I don't know why you think they are mutually exclusive.

Watts are also volt amps.

Foot pounds are a unit of torque. It doesn't involve a component of movement. It is not a rating of power.

The SI unit for torque is newton meter.
The SI unit for work is the joule.
You can see again that these are not the same.

A watt is a joule/sec.

Here's a url to corroborate:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/difference-between-to...


RE: Horsepower
By EricMartello on 12/16/2013 7:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is correct. And there are actually 746. I don't know why you think they are mutually exclusive.


GJ man, it is 746 Watts to 1 HP. I had to give you at freebee or you might start to feel bad. Unfortunately, your original comment not less incorrect - horsepower is not "work", power is work over time and horsepower is a unit of power.

quote:
Watts are also volt amps.


If we were talking about electrical systems this might be relevant.

quote:
Foot pounds are a unit of torque. It doesn't involve a component of movement. It is not a rating of power.


Never said torque was a rating of power - in fact that was what I said in my original response to the other guy.

Horsepower is a unit of power, and for horsepower to exist work must be performed. It's that simple. Zero work done = zero power.

quote:
The SI unit for torque is newton meter.
The SI unit for work is the joule.
You can see again that these are not the same.


Torque simply refers to a TWISTING FORCE rather than a linear force...but either way you slice it, it is a force, and work is a force applied over distance. Get it?

Work = 1 ft-lb of Torque = 1.36 Nm of Torque = 1.36 Joules

Notice that POWER is not in this equation. Horsepower is not work, because power is WORK OVER TIME.

quote:
A watt is a joule/sec.


/mega facepalm

Power = Work / Time
Joule = Work
Second = Time

1 Horsepower = 550 ft-lbs / sec = 746 Watts

Notice how torque, expressed as ft-lbs per second, yields power.

Notice that if we attempt move a 550 pound mass and fail to move it at all despite applying 550 lbs of force:

(550 lbs * 0 feet) = 0 ft-lbs = 0 J = 0 Nm = 0 Horsepower = 0 Watts

quote:
Here's a url to corroborate:


See above.


RE: Horsepower
By purerice on 12/17/2013 3:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Come on now kids, shake hands and back to your separate dugouts.

When one old man yells at a cloud it can be annoying but two old men yelling at the same cloud? Now that is entertaining.

Does it really matter in the end, does it?


RE: Horsepower
By JediJeb on 12/16/2013 5:55:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
monstrous 4.5+ liter v8's that many have now


This made me chuckle :)

I have never considered 4.5L(272 CID) engine "monstrous".

Now a 454CID or 460CID engine (7.3-7.5L class) now those I considered monsters in the day :) Also the BOSS426 and Chrysler 426 Hemi those were huge engines both displacement wise and sheer size wise.

I actually prefer those large engines because I would much rather hear the low drone at cruising speeds they make as opposed to the high pitched scream most little engines make.


RE: Horsepower
By Jeffk464 on 12/14/2013 11:20:49 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, for once I agree with Feinstein.


Jesus Christ
By DominionSeraph on 12/13/13, Rating: -1
RE: Jesus Christ
By MaDeuce on 12/13/13, Rating: -1
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007














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