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Alternative Fuels

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Alternative Fuels Aim: I am a part of the research and development department for an oil fired power station selling electricity to a local provider. I am going to test out 5 spirit burners' (liquid fuels) and 3 different types of nuts (solid fuels) and test to see which one is the most efficient and also produces a good amount of energy. Due to the dramatic recent increases in oil prices and the possibility of a shortage in the near future the company are looking for a renewable alternative to oil to run the station. Equipment: 5 x Spirit Burners (Hexane, Ethanol, Methanol, Propanol & Butanol) 3 x Nuts (Peanut, Cashew & Brazil) 250cm3 Beakers 100cm3 measuring cylinder 50cm3 measuring cylinder Electric Balance Clamp Stand 0 - 110�c Thermometer Bunsen burner Mounted Needle Method: 1. Measure 100cm3 of cold water into a beaker 2. Clamp the beaker over one of the spirit burner containing as shown in the diagram above. 3. Weigh the spirit balance and record the weight. 4. Measure and record the temperature of the water in the beaker. 5. Heat the water until it reaches +20�c of its original temperature. ...read more.


- 4.620KJg - 15p Cashew Nut - 10.290KJg - 8p Brazil nut - 5.250KJg - 6.8p Cost of fuels per/g Hexane -22.050 x 5p = 110.25 Ethanol - 10.080 x 0.4 = 4.032 Methanol - 9.030KJg x 0.1p = 0.903 Propanol - 8.610 KJg x 0.1p = 826.56 Butanol - 9.450KJg x 38p = 359.10 Peanut - 4.620KJg x 15p = 69.30 Cashew Nut - 10.290KJg x 8p = 82.32 Brazil nut - 5.250KJg x 6.8p = 35.70 Observations: Fuel Observations Combustion Hexane Carbon Solid. Strong Black Fumes. Luminous Flame. Incomplete Ethanol No Carbon Solid. No Black Fumes. Yellow Flame (almost colourless). Incomplete Methanol No Carbon Solid. Black Fumes. Luminous Flame. Incomplete Propanol No Carbon solid. No Black Fume. Luminous Flame Pale Yellow. Incomplete Butanol Carbon Solid. Weak Black Fumes. Luminous Yellow Flame. Incomplete Peanut Carbon Solid. Black Fumes. Luminous Yellow Flame. Incomplete Cashew Carbon Solid. Black Fumes. Luminous Yellow flame. Incomplete Brazil Carbon Solid. Black Fumes. Luminous Yellow Flame. Incomplete Analysis and Conclusion I have collected data on all the liquid and solid fuels and have come to the conclusion that ethanol is the best fuel out of the liquids as it produces a lot of energy; the energy Ethanol releases burns with an almost colourless flame without any black fumes, because it burns so well it releases more energy. ...read more.


We could also use a calorimeter to accurately find out how much heat has been lost; a calorimeter is an instrument that measures heat. We could use a calorimeter to measure the heat loss more accurately and efficiently. There are a many different ways of losing heat such as the ones above. Incomplete combustions mean that a certain amount of energy loss was produced. Measurement Errors Name of Equipment Tolerance Smallest measurement measured with equipment Balance � 0.05g 0.05 � 5.57 x 100 = 0.89 Thermometer � 0.5�c 0.5 � 20.5 x 100 = 2.43 Measuring Cylinder � 1cm3 1 � 100 x 100 = 1.00 No measurement is 100% accurate, all measuring equipment will have some sort of measurement error; measurement errors happen due to flaw(s) in the measuring instrument. The worst measurement error is the measurement with the largest % uncertainty this means it is also the least accurate. The worst measurement error is the thermometer as it has the largest % uncertainty. We can improve this by taking and noting down larger measurements, e.g. the smallest temperature is 25�c, 0.5 � 25 x 100 = 2.00. So the larger the measurement the more the percentage uncertainty will decrease. ...read more.

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