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Old 12-10-2018, 09:59 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: PA
Posts: 1,041

The designers of Twilight2000 didn't have a real understanding of fuel or fuel types other than perhaps some small research in their local library. In their defense, the internet didn't really exist when they wrote Twilight2000.

The Issues are;

Methanol alone does NOT have sufficient power to be used as a fuel. It simply lacks energy. It can be used to "cut" alcohol, gas or biodiesel/diesel, which WILL reduce that engine's power. A ratio of 10% methanol to 90% fuel will allow the "stretching" of an existing fuel supply. Cutting more than 20% Methanol into the fuel can result in reliability issues.

Ethanol is stated as having roughly HALF the power of gasoline. NOTHING could be farther from the truth. Alcohol actually has MORE POWER than gasoline but it burns hotter and, more importantly, FASTER than gasoline. This faster burn rate contributes to LOWER MILEAGE than gas but there is MORE POWER while you have a fuel supply. This is why Top Fuel Dragsters and performance racers all use an alcohol-based fuel system. The higher temps will cause the catastrophic failure of gaskets and hoses and eventually the piston rings and springs. However, any new vehicle rated for E85 CAN HANDLE alcohol.

The original Gasahol is a 50/50 mix of gas and Ethanol and you will see a significant reduction in MPG (up to 40%) but only a minor reduction in power for ground vehicles. Using Gasahol in Light Aviation IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER! Ethanol is known for water contamination issues and putting it into a carburated aircraft where the pilot controls the fuel flow/mix like a Cessna or Moonie (the two types I'M most familiar with) will probably result in carb stalls or carb intake icing at higher altitudes (where the cold air will gel the fuel and cause the water bound to the Ethanol to form ice crystals in the fuel lines). Power will also be SIGNIFICANTLY reduced compared to the high Octane ratings in AVGAS. Stalls will be common when attempting to maneuver under power, especially at high bank angles where fuel flow may "lean out" due to gravity. Standard High Test ground fuels will fare even worse. As a substitute for AVGAS, certain High Test Gasolines (97+ Octane) can be used with a bottle of special additives BUT it may result in reduced top speed AND altitude ceiling. This additive is commonly found at smaller US airports in order to support private and bush pilots who may fly into places where AVGAS is hard to get. Mixing High Test and Ethanol would be a NO GO in any smart General Aviation pilot's handbook.

The uninformed idea of AVGAS being needed for ALL Aircraft in Twilight2000 also needs to be addressed. This is NOT CORRECT. even the US Army's light aviation (based on the Cessna) is a TURBOPROP aircraft. ALL General Aviation Turboprop aircraft use Jet A fuel. The military turboprops use JP8. This fuel is less explosive and more uniform in its burn rates than AVGAS. In addition, a year before the First Gulf War, the Army started pushing a concept called "One Fuel Forward" where they only used ONE FUEL TYPE for all equipment and vehicles. That fuel was JP8. Yes, we began putting JET FUEL in diesel trucks in 1990. The initial issue was clogged fuel filters because the detergents in the JP8 "washed out" the contaminants from older fuels used before it. The second issue was that not all issued equipment used diesel fuel. The Army still had batches of older equipment that required MOGAS (gasoline). By the time of the Twilight War, diesel use would be "universal" and so would JP8. Any pilot would only need to look as far as the nearest tanker with "prewar" fuel production in it to find JP8 Jet Fuel. Civil aviation (which normally uses Jet A) can use JP8 as well. Fuel really won't be the issue for military aviation that GDW made it out to be.

Another issue is Biodiesel and Diesel being different fuels. The game has diesel engines using alcohol which is a questionable move. The diesel engines should be using Biodiesel made with Ethanol. Contrary to the opinions of an uninformed minority, there is NO DIFFERENCE in fuel economy OR power between the two. In fact, most diesels can run on FUEL OIL/HOME HEATING OIL. The fuels we were using in the 4/92nd and 475th prior to the JP8 were diesel in name only. You could lube a chassis with some of it. Virgin Airlines also proved that with sufficient detergents added, Biodiesel CAN BE USED BY JETS. They flew using highly-refined BIOWILLY'S (owned by Willy Nelson) without incident. In addition, most Jet Fuels are just highly refined Kerosene. With the right additives, Kerosene can be used to operate jet or turboprop aircraft. Anyone with Chemistry can formulate those additives.
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