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Bio-Ethanol Powered Heaters

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by bint2k, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. bint2k

    bint2k Member

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    Toronto, ON
  2. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    :-/ I don't know... why not? Running a car on ethanol and running the heater on ethanol are vastly different things in regards to consumption. If ethanol production gets more efficient prices could come down... and it's better than gasoline...
     
  3. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Many aircraft fires were caused by fuel fired heaters. They were phased out in the 70's and early 80's. I'm sure they are designed better now, but there is still a risk.

    NTSB Identification: NYC04LA047.
    The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
    Nonscheduled 14 CFR
    Accident occurred Thursday, December 11, 2003 in Buffalo, NY
    Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/24/2005
    Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N40259
    Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

    After landing, as the pilot pulled into the ramp area, he noticed an orange glow at his feet, and notified airport personnel over the radio that he had a fire in the airplane. The pilot brought the airplane to a stop, and airport crash fire rescue extinguished the fire. Examination of the airplane revealed the fire burnt a hole through the fuselage skin in the area of the Janitrol heater, just aft of the left wing root. The entire area forward of the Janitrol heater, including the wiring and plumbing of the heater, as well as the cockpit and cabin was consumed by fire. The pilot reported that his normal procedure for using the Janitrol heater was to turn it off at the same time he extended the landing gear while on approach. The Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), Description and Operations section stated, "The three positions of the cabin heat control switch are 'HEAT,' 'FAN,' and 'OFF'...It is advisable to place the switch in the fan position for several minutes after the heater has been operating to allow the unit to cool down before it is turned off." The Normal Procedures section of the POH required that the switch be turned to the "FAN" position while completing the Before and After Landing checklists. The Shutdown checklist called for the switch to be switched to the "OFF" position.


    The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
    The pilot's improper procedure with regard to the cabin heater, which resulted in the over temperature of the heater and subsequent fire.
     
  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Yes, blame the pilot for inadequate/dangerous engineering.
     
  5. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Agree that it should've been better engineered to reduce potential for danger...but technically the pilot played a role by following improper procedure. It's no different than failing to apply carb heat in carbourated aircraft when reducing power to idle, potentially resulting in engine failure...or forgetting to lower the landing gear.

    If you think about it, it's also like driving a Roadster to near empty, then letting it sit for weeks on end eithout charging :smile:.

    Edit: Mods...might want to move this out of the Model S section :wink:.
     
  6. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    That might *ahem* fly with airplanes, which aren't exactly user friendly in the first place, but likely won't go over well with drivers.

    Back to the original topic of fuel based heaters. I think they are fine as long as it is efficient and relatively cheap. It probably can preserve the range of the car, which may be more important than the price of the fuel (since it allows the user to make trips that would otherwise be impossible).

    Bioethanol (E85) is about 1 Euro/liter or under in most European countries (the most expensive is about 2 Euros/liter). The tank in the Volvo is 14.5 liters (so it'll cost 14.5-29 Euros to fill) and can provide 30 hours of heat.

    And at 5kW from the ethanol heater alone, that already is stronger than the Leaf's heater. It also has a 7kW electric heater, plus heated seats. Given the Volvo C30 EV has a 24kWh battery, even at less than half power (3kW), the electric heater can only provide about 8 hours of heat using a full battery (without any driving).

    E85 has 24.04kWh per gallon; if the ethanol heater burns 0.13 gallon per hour, it can provide at most 3.13kW of heat at that rate. And a full 3.83 gallon tank has about 92kWh of energy.

    So using this information, the cost to use the ethanol heater is about equivalent to using the electric heater at 3kW with the electricity cost at 0.157 - 0.315 euros per kWh. That doesn't sound too ridiculous to me.

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1074254_volvo-c30-electric-car-how-quickly-does-it-warm-up-in-cold-weather
     
  7. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Yes, but those are unavoidable dangers in that type of machine, not to mention well-understood. You don't needlessly design a hidden fatal flaw into a machine and expect procedures to save you.
     

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