also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol (CH3CH2OH), an
alcohol that (when denatured) can be used as a fuel in internal
combustion engines. One of its great advantages over gasoline
is that it is renewable. It can be made by fermenting sugars
derived from starches in plants, such as corn or sugar cane,
or less easily, from feedstocks containing cellulose, such
as grass, wood, crop residues, or old newspapers.
As long ago as the 1920s, Henry Ford and other early automakers
thought ethanol would be the world's primary fuel before gasoline
became so readily available. A gallon of pure ethanol (E100)
contains 34% less energy than a gallon of gasoline.
Another advantage of ethanol is that it is a high-octane fuel.
Octane helps prevent engine knocking and is extremely important
in engines designed to operate at a higher compression ratio,
so they generate more power. These engines tend to be found
in high-performance vehicles. Low-level blends of ethanol,
such as E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline), generally have a
higher octane rating than unleaded gasoline. Low-octane gasoline
can be blended with 10% ethanol to attain the standard 87
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