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Renewable energy science fair project:
Compare the energy efficiencies and environmental friendliness of biofuels and fossil fuels.

Science Fair Project Information
Title: Compare the energy efficiencies and environmental friendliness of biofuels and fossil fuels.
Subject: Renewable Energy
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Awards: 1st place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($300)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair (VSF)
Year: 2010
Description: The energy transfer from a flame of same amounts of vegetable oil and petroleum-based motor oil to a heated can with water was caculated and compared. The amount of fumes of black smoke were also compared.
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2010/jairxt2
Short Background

Fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency is a form of thermal efficiency, meaning the efficiency of a process that converts chemical potential energy contained in a carrier fuel into kinetic energy or work. Overall fuel efficiency may vary per device, which in turn may vary per application, and this spectrum of variance is often illustrated as a continuous energy profile. Non-transportation applications, such as industry, benefit from increased fuel efficiency, especially fossil fuel power plants or industries dealing with combustion, such as ammonia production during the Haber process.

The specific energy content of a fuel is the heat energy obtained when a certain quantity is burned (such as a gallon, litre, kilogram). It is sometimes called the heat of combustion. There exists two different values of specific heat energy for the same batch of fuel. One is the high (or gross) heat of combustion and the other is the low (or net) heat of combustion. The high value is obtained when, after the combustion, the water in the exhaust is in liquid form. For the low value, the exhaust has all the water in vapor form (steam). Since water vapor gives up heat energy when it changes from vapor to liquid, the liquid water value is larger since it includes the latent heat of vaporization of water. The difference between the high and low values is significant, about 8 or 9%. This accounts for most of the apparent discrepancy in the heat value of gasoline. In the U.S. (and the table below) the high heat values have traditionally been used, but in many other countries, the low heat values are commonly used.

Energy content of fuel
Fuel type MJ/l MJ/kg BTU/imp gal BTU/US gal Research octane
number (RON)
Regular gasoline/petrol 34.8 ~47 150,100 125,000 Min. 91
Premium gasoline/petrol ~46 Min. 95
Autogas (LPG) (60% propane and 40% butane) 25.528.7 ~51 108110
Ethanol 23.5 31.1 101,600 84,600 129
Methanol 17.9 19.9 77,600 64,600 123
Gasohol (10% ethanol and 90% gasoline) 33.7 ~45 145,200 121,000 93/94
E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) 33.1 44 142,750 118,950 100105
Diesel 38.6 ~48 166,600 138,700 N/A (see cetane)
BioDiesel 35.1 39.9 151,600 126,200 N/A (see cetane)
Vegetable oil (using 9.00 kcal/g) 34.3 37.7 147,894 123,143
Aviation gasoline 33.5 46.8 144,400 120,200 80-145
Jet fuel, naphtha 35.5 46.6 153,100 127,500 N/A to turbine engines
Jet fuel, kerosene 37.6 ~47 162,100 135,000 N/A to turbine engines
Liquefied natural gas 25.3 ~55 109,000 90,800
Liquid hydrogen 9.3 ~130 40,467 33,696

See also:

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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