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Few transportation fuels surpass the energy densities of gasoline and diesel
Energy Information Administration ^ | JANUARY 3, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

Posted on 01/03/2014 12:25:45 PM PST by thackney

Energy density and the cost, weight, and size of onboard energy storage are important characteristics of fuels for transportation. Fuels that require large, heavy, or expensive storage can reduce the space available to convey people and freight, weigh down a vehicle (making it operate less efficiently), or make it too costly to operate, even after taking account of cheaper fuels. Compared to gasoline and diesel, other options may have more energy per unit weight, but none have more energy per unit volume. On an equivalent energy basis, motor gasoline (which contains up to 10% ethanol) was estimated to account for 99% of light-duty vehicle fuel consumption in 2012. Over half of the remaining 1% was from diesel; all other fuels combined for less than half of 1%. The widespread use of these fuels is largely explained by their energy density and ease of onboard storage, as no other fuels provide more energy within a given unit of volume. The chart above compares energy densities (both per unit volume and per unit weight) for several transportation fuels that are available throughout the United States. The data points represent the energy content per unit volume or weight of the fuels themselves, not including the storage tanks or other equipment that the fuels require. For instance, compressed fuels require heavy storage tanks, while cooled fuels require equipment to maintain low temperatures. Beyond gasoline and diesel, other fuels like compressed propane, ethanol, and methanol offer energy densities per unit volume that are less than gasoline and diesel, and energy densities per unit weight that are less than or equal to that of gasoline. Natural gas, either in liquefied form (LNG) or compressed (CNG), are lighter than gasoline but again have lower densities per unit volume. The same is true for hydrogen fuels, which must be either cooled (down to -253oC) or compressed (to 3,000 to 10,000 psi). However, considering only energy density leaves out the relative fuel economies associated with vehicles capable of using other fuels. The typical fuel economy of an internal combustion engine in a light-duty vehicle is around 25 miles per gallon. On an equivalent basis, electric vehicles with fuel cells powered by hydrogen can double the fuel economy of a similarly sized gasoline vehicle, while battery-powered electric vehicles can achieve a quadrupling of fuel economy, but the costs of fuel cells, hydrogen storage, and batteries are prohibitively expensive to most consumers and the availability of refueling and charging facilities is extremely limited. In addition, the improvement in fuel economy of these vehicles does not compensate for the lower fuel densities of hydrogen and various battery types like lithium ion, lithium polymer, and nickel-metal hydride batteries that result in limited driving range relative to gasoline-powered vehicles.


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: cng; diesel; energy; gasoline; kenyanbornmuzzies; opec

1 posted on 01/03/2014 12:25:45 PM PST by thackney
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To: thackney

Sorry, forgot to preview.

Energy density and the cost, weight, and size of onboard energy storage are important characteristics of fuels for transportation. Fuels that require large, heavy, or expensive storage can reduce the space available to convey people and freight, weigh down a vehicle (making it operate less efficiently), or make it too costly to operate, even after taking account of cheaper fuels. Compared to gasoline and diesel, other options may have more energy per unit weight, but none have more energy per unit volume.

On an equivalent energy basis, motor gasoline (which contains up to 10% ethanol) was estimated to account for 99% of light-duty vehicle fuel consumption in 2012. Over half of the remaining 1% was from diesel; all other fuels combined for less than half of 1%. The widespread use of these fuels is largely explained by their energy density and ease of onboard storage, as no other fuels provide more energy within a given unit of volume.

The chart above compares energy densities (both per unit volume and per unit weight) for several transportation fuels that are available throughout the United States. The data points represent the energy content per unit volume or weight of the fuels themselves, not including the storage tanks or other equipment that the fuels require. For instance, compressed fuels require heavy storage tanks, while cooled fuels require equipment to maintain low temperatures.

Beyond gasoline and diesel, other fuels like compressed propane, ethanol, and methanol offer energy densities per unit volume that are less than gasoline and diesel, and energy densities per unit weight that are less than or equal to that of gasoline. Natural gas, either in liquefied form (LNG) or compressed (CNG), are lighter than gasoline but again have lower densities per unit volume. The same is true for hydrogen fuels, which must be either cooled (down to -253oC) or compressed (to 3,000 to 10,000 psi).

However, considering only energy density leaves out the relative fuel economies associated with vehicles capable of using other fuels. The typical fuel economy of an internal combustion engine in a light-duty vehicle is around 25 miles per gallon. On an equivalent basis, electric vehicles with fuel cells powered by hydrogen can double the fuel economy of a similarly sized gasoline vehicle, while battery-powered electric vehicles can achieve a quadrupling of fuel economy, but the costs of fuel cells, hydrogen storage, and batteries are prohibitively expensive to most consumers and the availability of refueling and charging facilities is extremely limited. In addition, the improvement in fuel economy of these vehicles does not compensate for the lower fuel densities of hydrogen and various battery types like lithium ion, lithium polymer, and nickel-metal hydride batteries that result in limited driving range relative to gasoline-powered vehicles.


2 posted on 01/03/2014 12:26:53 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

In other words, gasoline powered vehicles are the best, and using REAL gas instead of that ethanol crap is even better.


3 posted on 01/03/2014 12:30:29 PM PST by Pining_4_TX (All those who were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48)
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To: Pining_4_TX

Using this as the criteria, diesel would be best.


4 posted on 01/03/2014 12:34:01 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Hey, don’t stop me, I was on a roll! ;-)


5 posted on 01/03/2014 12:35:39 PM PST by Pining_4_TX (All those who were appointed to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48)
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To: thackney

I’m sorry, this is far too complex for Liberals to understand. You are preaching to the choir.


6 posted on 01/03/2014 12:36:35 PM PST by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: thackney

Butanol comes in a close second?..............


7 posted on 01/03/2014 12:37:45 PM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: thackney

“Using this as the criteria, diesel would be best.”

...until you put the tons of EPA-mandated garbage on and around the engine and in the fuel.


8 posted on 01/03/2014 12:38:12 PM PST by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: thackney
What has a higher energy density than diesel? Acetylene? Kind of expensive, not to mention unstable.

No ex-wife/girlfriend jokes please.

9 posted on 01/03/2014 12:41:32 PM PST by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: thackney

Just curious, how would the liquid fuels compare to solid explosives? Can we build an engine that would snatch a tiny piece of a solid explosive, put that in the combustion chamber, and fire away?

Can you imagine the libs’ reaction to that proposal?

Honey, I need to run to the 7-11 to refill my tank with dynamite, do you need me to get the milk?


10 posted on 01/03/2014 12:42:41 PM PST by AdSimp
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To: thackney
Antimatter would be a few billion screens to the right of this one, but the EPA frowns on your city being destroyed when you have a fender bender.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density

11 posted on 01/03/2014 12:43:03 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Everyone get online for Obamacare on 10/1. Overload the system and crash it hard!)
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To: AdSimp
Just curious, how would the liquid fuels compare to solid explosives?

Explosives aren't all that high energy. For example TNT is only 4.6 megajoules/kg compared to gasoline's 46.4 MJ/kg. The thing with an explosive is that it will release all its energy at once.

I've heard that a block of C4 has the same energy as a block of butter, but I can't a reference to that, and the numbers I just looked up say that butter has a much higher energy density.

12 posted on 01/03/2014 12:50:12 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Everyone get online for Obamacare on 10/1. Overload the system and crash it hard!)
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To: The Antiyuppie

“I’m sorry, this is far too complex for Liberals to understand.”

Yup - drama and victimology are in their wheelhouse...physics and chemistry, not so much.


13 posted on 01/03/2014 12:55:03 PM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: thackney

So why didn’t Saturn V burn liquid oxygen and diesel instead of liquid hydrogen?


14 posted on 01/03/2014 1:09:34 PM PST by 867V309 (Obama- he's just crazy enough to do it.)
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To: 867V309

I’d assume since it’s an airframe they went for light weight.


15 posted on 01/03/2014 1:14:19 PM PST by nascarnation (I'm hiring Jack Palladino to investigate Baraq's golf scores.)
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To: thackney

“Using this as the criteria, diesel would be best.”

Yes, but only with the cat piss injection fluid.


16 posted on 01/03/2014 1:19:18 PM PST by headstamp 2 (What would Scooby do?)
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To: 867V309

The first stage burned RP-1 and LOX. RP-1 is highly refined kerosene.


17 posted on 01/03/2014 1:19:31 PM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: headstamp 2

That is the way the EPA accepts it, but not the way it would be best.

Cheers!


18 posted on 01/03/2014 1:21:00 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: KarlInOhio
great, so the good ol boys should be trying to get gasoline to explode as fast as dynamite does. I guess there is a reason why it doesn't.
19 posted on 01/03/2014 1:23:44 PM PST by AdSimp
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To: thackney

Happy New Year, Thack

Always enjoy your info from the oil patch.

You’re doing God’s work here.


20 posted on 01/03/2014 1:24:45 PM PST by headstamp 2 (What would Scooby do?)
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To: Steely Tom
What has a higher energy density than diesel? Acetylene?

I think that would be limited to longer chain hydrocarbons. #6 Fuel Oil (bunker fuel) will have a greater energy density.

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/energy-content-d_868.html

21 posted on 01/03/2014 1:28:15 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: 867V309
So why didn’t Saturn V burn liquid oxygen and diesel instead of liquid hydrogen?

Because when it comes to lifting, energy per pound is more important than energy per gallon. Hydrogen one of the best at the first and one of the worst at the second.

22 posted on 01/03/2014 1:30:11 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: AdSimp
Trinitrotoluene (TNT) already has the oxygen in the original molecule needed for combustion.

Fuels like diesel, gasoline, hydrogen need to be mixed with air for an oxygen source to take place.

23 posted on 01/03/2014 1:33:38 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Using this as the criteria, diesel would be best.
...............
Someone on one of these forums was telling me that the light sweet crude produced by most shale oil formations in the USA does not produce as nearly as much diesel as the heavy crude from say Venezuela.

Is this true?


24 posted on 01/03/2014 1:37:51 PM PST by ckilmer
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To: Army Air Corps

OK, thanks.


25 posted on 01/03/2014 1:40:41 PM PST by 867V309 (Obama- he's just crazy enough to do it.)
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To: AdSimp

The energy density of gasoline exceeds that of black powder by several orders of magnitude, which is why fuel-air explosives are so devastating. Not sure about HE, though.


26 posted on 01/03/2014 1:41:32 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (I'd give up chocolate but I'm no quitter)
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To: 867V309

The first stage of the Saturn burned kerosene which has a similar energy density. I think the opted for hydrogen on the upper stages to reduce weight and the load on the first stage.


27 posted on 01/03/2014 1:44:39 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (I'd give up chocolate but I'm no quitter)
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To: thackney

bookmark


28 posted on 01/03/2014 1:48:07 PM PST by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: AdSimp

Gasoline can make some pretty impressive booms if you do it right, but I won’t give the details here. You are correct about speed making the difference; high explosives don’t release much energy but they release it all nearly instantaneously.


29 posted on 01/03/2014 1:48:11 PM PST by Squawk 8888 (I'd give up chocolate but I'm no quitter)
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To: thackney

U235/U238 makes a pretty dense submarine fuel.


30 posted on 01/03/2014 1:55:15 PM PST by posterchild
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To: ckilmer
Someone on one of these forums was telling me that the light sweet crude produced by most shale oil formations in the USA does not produce as nearly as much diesel as the heavy crude from say Venezuela.

Light oil has less BTUs per barrel than heavy oil. But heavy oil takes more energy to refine because more energy is consumed cracking those longer chain hydrocarbons into the more valuable transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel.

The API gravity at 60°F (15.6°C) for No. 2 diesel fuel is between 30 and 42.

http://www.chevronwithtechron.com/products/documents/Diesel_Fuel_Tech_Review.pdf
Page 5

So while very light oil, nearly gas condensate with API gravities in the 40s and above, that should be true, Bakken, West Texas Intermediate, Brent and the like are most valuable because they have the most gasoline/diesel type hydrocarbons.

Long answer to say no, not true.

31 posted on 01/03/2014 1:58:57 PM PST by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney
Typical N6 is 149,000-150,000 BTUs/gallon.
Negative gravity slurry oils, some a full pound per gallon heavier, can run 159,000-160,000 BTUs/gallon.
Now, that's heat !
32 posted on 01/03/2014 2:13:07 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks ("Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth.")
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To: 867V309

“So why didn’t Saturn V burn liquid oxygen and diesel instead of liquid hydrogen?”

Cause hydrogen go boom?


33 posted on 01/03/2014 2:57:38 PM PST by HenpeckedCon (What pi$$es me off the most is that POS commie will get a State Funeral!)
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To: Squawk 8888
Gasoline can make some pretty impressive booms if you do it right, but I won’t give the details here.

It certainly makes some pretty impressive noise when it explodes in the cylinders of a Harley.

I'm guessing that being compressed to a few hundred psi before being ignited has something to do with it.

34 posted on 01/03/2014 4:07:28 PM PST by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: AdSimp

Fuel/Air Explosive (FAE)

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/dumb/fae.htm

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/dumb/faeanim.gif


35 posted on 01/03/2014 4:56:08 PM PST by BwanaNdege (Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. J.F. Kennedy)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

> other options may have more energy per unit weight, but none have more energy per unit volume.

/bingo

Thanks thackney.


36 posted on 01/04/2014 4:36:21 AM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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