Can Synthetic Fuel Save the V8?


Can Synthetic Fuel Save the V8?

No matter how quick they accelerate, the Electric Vehicle is seen by most car enthusiasts as a heavy one-trick pony that brings all of the charisma of a light switch to a spirited drive.

Luckily, for those of us who find the idea of trading our LS7s and LT4s (and even Hemis, Voodoos, M159s, and S65s, we are all in this together!) for a battery pack connected to some electric motors akin to ending our intimate, multi-layered relationship with our spouse in order to better focus on an affair with Amazon’s Alexa, British motoring publication, Autocar is reporting that McLaren has their sights set on a future where we can still choose passion over a self-driving pod.

The supercar maker is apparently working on a development car that runs on man-made fuel as proof of their concept’s validity. The good news is that the beautifully complex internal-combustion engines that we have been perfecting for more than 100 years “would need only small modifications” to run on these fuels.

People already lighting torches (also not great for the environment, guys) and heading out to buy some pitchforks because this adamantly goes against their commitment to renewable energy should just stay home and save their money too. These synthetic fuels can actually be produced using solar power and could end up being even better than EVs, from a CO2 standpoint, if you include the production of the batteries in the environmental impact of zero-emissions vehicles.

Other benefits laid out by McLaren’s COO, Jens Ludmann, are synthetic fuel’s ability to be pumped and easily transported just like current fossil fuels. He did emphasize that he doesn’t envision synthetic fuel replacing electric power, saying, “It’s too hard to say with certainty how far off synthetic fuel is from reaching production reality,” he said, “whereas battery technology is here. Then you also have the potential to combine synthetic fuel with a hybrid system, which would make it cleaner still.

“I’m not saying this to hold back battery technology but rather to highlight that there could be valid alternatives that we should consider.”

This development, along with the work that Bill Gates is doing with Carbon Engineering just might save enthusiast driving.


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  1. Some Answers to Alex’s article:
    Can Synthetic fuels Save the V8 and Spirited Driving.
    My brief Answer is Yes and better yet, was already proven.
    As a Career Bio Analytical Chemist, corvette (super) enthusiast and previous Owner of a 2008 c6 Z06, i felt compelled to pass Historical information to the corvette community, which INVOLVES the C6R GT1 program. Believe it or not, the LS7R built by Katech won Global Racing Engine Award in GT1 using multiple Fuels, the most Notable One was Cellulosic Ethanol.
    It was (BioEngineered) and mixed afterwards with a small amount of gasoline. The end product was called E85 Cellulosic. Not to be confused with Corn Grain ethanol, more controversial because that was competing with our food resources. I will not elaborate on how Cellulosic Ethanol is produced, please read it on Wikki (Excellent Article). Unfortunately it is not a cheap process, but i think worth the expense as a renewable resource.
    Why? Thermodynamic Efficiency, Power, and Cleanliness…
    Ethanol has a Much Lower Flash point than ordinary gasoline and when introduced in the combustion chamber (it) has a tremendously high Octane Value. This permits the use of much higher compression ratio for Piston driven engines. The next added advantage over Leaded Gasoline, Ethanol COOLS the combustion chamber as it is sprayed in. This Cooling effect increases the Thermodynamic Efficiency of the combustion governed by the difference of temperatures of gasses inside Before and After the reaction. End results: more torque and Horsepower.
    The LS7R was air restricted in the GT1 class to just under 600 Hp. My estimate for unrestricted air goes up to 700 hp at 7000 rpm… That engine was UNDER port fuel injection configuration. Convert the LS7R to Direct injection and you have 800 Hp using even higher engine compression ratio (above 13.5 to 1) and maybe 800 foot LBS of torque… All under a 7 Litre N.A. engine which rumbles and gurgles LIKE No Other🤗 with a proper cam.
    Next, Ethanol burns super CLEAN, with no soot. Therefore E85 reduces particulate matter by a factor 7 over high octane gasoline. One drawback to E85 is energy density is lower. In short, you need to carry a bit more fuel to travel the same distance. Ironically E85 if MUCH lighter than Li Batteries to go the same distance.

    More toughts: the C8 E-Ray (if a V8 hybrid) is proposed as an alternative, will be bittersweet because the gross weight will sky rocket to 4400 lbs. That is way to heavy for my taste for doing spirited driving🤮…

    Please leave comments on this assay and I Challenge any other scientist and or engineer to come out of Hiding and add your analysis.

  2. I’m not a scientist, but you left out one other important fact: ethanol is highly corrosive and the entire fuel system has to be made of much higher quality (meaning more expensive) materials. Also, the lower energy density issue is significant. With E85 you get about 18% less miles per gallon compared to gasoline while paying a much higher price. There is no free lunch here.

  3. Thanks George for your input.
    As a an Analytical Chemist, which i am a Principal Scientist, would like to demystify the term corrosion of ethanol in the fuel SYSTEM ONCE and FOR ALL.
    The people or companies who HAVE propagated this mis information WANTED to PROFIT from THIS mis-information with their own AGENDA. Therefore do not take this reply personally corvette community.

    Under the WHMIS system for the ENTIRE industrial/commercial activity on the face of this Planet: Ethanol is NOT corrosive… Why? it is neither an acid or a base: completely Neutral and happy to live a celibate life at room temperature. Finally it is not an oxidizer in chemical reactions. Therefore Ethanol does nothing to Metals, Plastics, Glass, Wood, Latex, Skin, and even your cornea if you get some by accident (just flush with water). Long Term exposure to your brain or your liver is a different story LOL. What it can do is DISSOLVE SLIGHTLY some oils and plasticizing agents in certain Cheap Rubbers OVER years. In your brain, repeated overdoses of hi % Ethanol will dissolve away at the oily membranes of your neurons, effectively killing them.

    So back to Race cars: the Fuel cell Bladder should be made with GOOD quality vulcanized rubber. The same could be said for O-rings in fuel line junction If there are ANYmore made of rubber which I doubt.

    Segwaying to street cars, No cell fuel bladder for corvettes and most other sports car i know, except the F40 and F50. An 18%drop in fuel mileage Does hurt however for E85. Other additives could be added to this fuel to increase its Energy Density… An Americain favorite in Top Fuel Racing: NitroMethane🤟🏼

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