Biomass -> Ethanol

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The largest single use of ethanol is as a motor fuel and fuel additive. Henry Ford designed the first mass-produced automobile, the famed Model T Ford, to run on pure anhydrous (ethanol) alcohol - he said it was "the fuel of the future". Today, however, 100% pure ethanol is not approved as a motor vehicle fuel in the U.S. Added to gasoline, ethanol reduces volatile organic compound and hydrocarbon emissions, carcinogenic benzene and butadiene emissions, and particulate matter emissions from gasoline combustion.

Ethanol combustion in an internal combustion engine yields many of the products of incomplete combustion produced by gasoline and significantly larger amounts of formaldehyde and related species such as acetaldehyde. This leads to a significantly larger photochemical reactivity that generates much more ground level ozone. This data has been assembled into The Clean Fuels Report comparison of fuel emissions and shows that ethanol exhaust generates 2.14 times as much ozone as does gasoline exhaust. When this is added into the custom "Localised Pollution Index (LPI)" of The Clean Fuels Report the local pollution, i.e. that which contributes to smog, is 1.7 on a scale where gasoline is 1.0 and higher numbers signify greater pollution. This issue has been formalized by the California Air Resources Board in 2008 by recognizing control standards for formaldehydes as an emissions control group much like the conventional NOx and Reactive Organic Gases (ROGs).


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