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Dimitrios Simitas

F-35 a bust for Canada

posted May 21, 2017, 2:58 PM by Dimitrios Simitas

May 21st 2017,

So back to the fighter discussion in government. Beyond it being a decade and a half later to meet its obligations the fighter and Lockheed have not done much to win confidence. 

We could argue until the cows come home if we need a 4.5 generation fighter. One that is marginal at stealth, at the expense of mission capability, one that locks us into a single vendor and supplier forever due how Lockheed has been locking down the avionics and the US State Department not allowing source code to leave the US. With us having to fly them to the US even for minor software updates. 

But the costs of the fighters tells us the entire story, we need a fleet large enough to cover Canada. The 65 fighters don't. Neither does the 167 Super Hornets we could buy for the same price. But it's better. 

 Cost F/A-18E Super Hornet F-35 Lightning
 Flyaway $57.5 million  $138 Million 
 Cost Per Hour $10,507 $28,455
 Fleet Lifetime Cost.
 $9.2 billion $23.8 billion

Flyaway cost, is from the US Navy budget for the Super Hornet, and from the KPMG report for the F-35. Cost per flight hour, is from the US Navy's budget, and the USAF's budget. ( )

Lifetime costs is based to 8,000 hours per fighter. Which is when they typically require overhaul, structural work etc like the US Navy and USMC have been doing with their older F/A-18 Hornet fleet. For a fleet of 65 fighters. 

Our pricing for the F-35 program is based on idealistic pricing that was made before the first F-35 rolled off the line, and the Harper Government's answer to cost over runs was to either buy less planes to keep it within initial procurement costs, and then limit flight hours to keep the program in budget. Both are a failure of the Government and the Department of Defense in their ability to keep the airforce airworthy. 

No sane government can support the purchase of the F-35. There really isn't an argument. We need fighters to patrol our vast nation. Not the latest and greatest fighter that would only be needed if we fought a war with say the US. And we already know the F-35's constantly call "home". They could ground our fleet without firing a shot. We would never know. We are not allowed access to the software like a purchase of any other fighter would. 

Make the right choice for Canada. Not the choice for a catastrophic of a failure of a fighter. 

Anti-Depressants During Pregnancy?

posted Aug 28, 2016, 9:55 AM by Dimitrios Simitas   [ updated Aug 28, 2016, 10:07 AM ]

August 28th 2016

    Well it's been a year since I posted here, ended up getting fairly busy with my newborn son. Also my wife ended up getting Post-Partum Depression. It's been a roller coaster. Anyways, she finally went to see a doctor about it. But the doctor said there were risks and complications with pregnancy and taking them. Ended up telling us that we need to make the decision ourselves, not only if she should take them, but which one we feel comfortable with. 

    He seemed to think Prozac (Fluoxetine) would be a good choice, but that any of the SSRI's would probably be best. So I ended up doing research, and compiled a bunch of different medical reports I could find about it. I looked over a bunch of sources, and this by no means is definitive, and obviously I am not a doctor, and my information should be taken at face value but this is what I ended up coming up with.

List of Anti-Depressants

    According to the UK National Association for Mental Health, They give a list of antidepressants by type in their "Making Sense of Anti-Depressants" as well as a couple of anti-depressants that are included in a National Institute of Health article titled "Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy: Current Controversies and Treatment Strategies". I've included the scores here that I will get into later. 

 Type Name Trade Name Score
 SSRI Citalopram Citalopram -7
  Escitalopram Lexapro -2
  Fluoxetine Prozac -6
  Fluvoxamine Luvox -2
  Paroxetine Paxil -7
  Sertraline Zoloft7
 SNRI Duloxetine Cymbalta -4
  Venlafaxine Effexor -3
 Tricyclics Amitriptyline Elavil -4
  Clomipramine Anafranil -5
  Desipramine Norpramin 1
  Dosulepin Dothep -7
  Doxepin Sinequan -6
  Imipramine Tofranil -4
  Lofepramine Lomont -7
  Nortriptyline Aventyl -5
  Trimipramine Surmontil -4
 Tricyclic Related Mianserin Norval -5
  Trazodone Oleptro -4
 MAOI's Isocarboxazid Marplan -9
  Phenelzine Nardil -8
  Moclobemide Amira -8
  Tranylcypromine Parnate -8
 Other Drugs Agomelatine Valdoxan 0
  Bupropion Zyban 3
  Mirtazapine Remeron -6
  Reboxetine Edronax -3
  Triptafen Triavil -3

First Information Received

    My first piece of the puzzle was the couple of sheets that the doctor gave us, specifically the NIH "Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy: Current Controversies and Treatment Strategies" Table 2 that he gave us with a very tiny summery of a select number of drugs.

 Name Pregnancy Lactation Score
 Sertraline No confirmed evidence of birth defects in 1st trimester exposure. Risk of SSRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure.  Minimal detection of drug in infants serum. 2
 Paroxetine Small absolute increased risk of cardiac defects in 1st trimester exposure (no more then 2 per 1000 births). Risk of SRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure. Minimal detection of drug in infants serum. -1
 Citalopram No confirmed evidence of birth defects in 1st trimester exposure. Risk of SSRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure. High milk/plasma concentration at higher doses. -1
 Fluxetine No confirmed evidence of birth defects in 1st trimester exposure. Risk of SSRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure. Long half-life can increase the potential for accumulation. -1
 Escitalopram No confirmed evidence of birth defects in 1st trimester exposure. Risk of SSRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure. Very limited data to date shows lower milk/plasma concentrations as compared to citalopram.  1
 Desipramine No confirmed evidence of birth defects in 1st trimester exposure. Risk of SSRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure. Minimal detection of drug in infants serum. 1
 Imipramine No confirmed evidence of birth defects in 1st trimester exposure. Risk of SSRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure. Minimal detection of drug in infants serum. 1
 Nortriptyline No confirmed evidence of birth defects in 1st trimester exposure. Risk of SSRI withdrawal syndrome with 3rd trimester exposure.Minimal detection of drug in infants serum. 1
 Mirtazepine Limited data avalible; no confirmed evidence of brith defects in 1st trimester exposure. Limited data avalible. Well tolerated in small study. Always monitor for changes in sleep and eating behavoirs. 0
 Buproprion Limited data avalible; no confirmed evidence of brith defects in 1st trimester exposure. Limited data avalible. Small incease risk of infant seizure (case report). 0
 Venlafaxine Limited data avalible; no confirmed evidence of brith defects in 1st trimester exposure. Inadequate data avalible. 1
 Duloxetine Inadequate data avalible. Inadequate data avalible. 0
 Phenelzine Very limited data avalible; no confirmed evidence of brith defects in 1st trimester exposure. Inadequate data avalible. 1

    This table made me question itself, mainly because it is talking about SSRI withdrawal symptoms with Desipramine, Imipramine, and Nortriptyline. Which are all tricyclics. Also all SSRI's carry the risk of birth defects, at varying degrees. This made me suspect enough of the source that I needed to do further research. 

Pregnancy Issues

    For this section, I mainly complied data from the UK Teratology Information Service. They have fact sheets on their websites primarily aimed at doctors. They have a disclaimer actually on every fact sheet on these drugs as "This is a UKTIS monograph for use by health care professionals."

    I looked at several things while going through them, Preterm Birth, Low Birth weight, PPHN, and Malformations. 

    Most of these intactions that caused spontaneous abortion, intrauterine death, and preterm delivery seemed to be interconnected, so I just summed it up in the most likely category based on my over all research as "Preterm Birth" as that is far more likely an outcome.

Most drugs here, tended to get negative results from the studies, as like many studies, they are focused primarily on the harm they can cause, not the benefits to the mother, but even so each sheet lists the following important points on anti-depressant use while pregnant. 

  • It is important to ensure that maternal mental health is treated appropriately. As such, (insert drug name) may be suitable for use in pregnancy, but the risks and benefits of use must be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Where a patient is stablized on (insert drug name) either prior to conception or during pregnancy, the risk of discontinuing treatment, changing medication, or reducing the dose should be carefully weighed against the risk of maternal relapse during pregnancy may pose to both mother and child. 
    Bullet 2, is primarily the reason why I also looked at breastfeeding issues that may arise, as stopping the drug to be able to breast feed may cause relapse of her symptoms based on my research, and during relapse the symptoms may amplify. 

 Anti-Depressant Score Preterm Birth Low Birth Weight PPHN Malformations
 Bupropion 1    1
 Sertraline 0 1 1 -1 -1
 Escitalopram 0 1 -1 -1 1
 Amitriptyline -2 -1   -1
 Duloxetine -2   -1 -1
 Fluoxetine -2 -1 -1 -1 1
 Paroxetine -2 -1 1 -1 -1
 Lofepramine -2 -1 -1  
 Venlafaxine -3 -1  -1 -1
 Mirtazpine -4 -1 -1 -1 -1
 Citalopram -4 -1-1  -1 -1

    PPHN can be caused by these drugs, but the rate listed of 0.2-1.2% isn't that much higher then 0.1-0.2%. A percent seems like a lot, but this is a range based on multiple studies, with indications that the range is effected by the specific type of SSRI used, and dosages, based on my reading online. But this source, like most isn't too specific as further study is needed.

Breastfeeding Issues

    Since anti-depressants will be taken both during her pregnancy, and after, a topic that popped up in my mind immediately, that I knew would effect the choice, is after birth how will breast feeding work, and will it be okay?

    The Specialist Pharmacy Service of the National Health Service UK, has a Q&A called "Management of depression in breastfeeding mothers - are SSRI's safe?".

    From the NHS their report can be summarized in the following points.
  • SSRIs and their metabolites pass into breast milk in small amounts, generally below 7% of the weight adjusted maternal dose. Infant ingestion via milk is lowest for sertraline and fluvoxamine and highest for fluoxetine.
  • Because of shorter half lives, lower passage into milk and larger pools of data, paroxetine or sertraline are the preferred SSRIs for use in lactation.
    Which gave Sertraline (2), Fluvoxamine (1), Paroxetine (1) and Fluoxetine (-1) in the scoring system.

Half Lives of Anti-Depressants

    The UK National Association for Mental Health, in their "Making Sense of Anti-Depressants" also list half-lives of anti-depressants. Which has been linked to both pre-birth issues, but also post both in the milk supply.

 Drug Half Life
 Agomelatine1-2 Hours 
 Tranylcypromine~2 Hours 
 Moclobemine2-4 Hours 
 Venlafaxine4-7 Hours 
 Trazodone5-13 Hours 
 Mianserin6-39 Hours 
 Duloxetine8-17 Hours 
 Amitriptyline9-25 Hours 
 Phenelzine11-12 Hours 
 Lofepramine12-24 Hours 
 Clomipramine12-36 Hours 
 Reboxetine~13 Hours 
 Fluvoxamine17-22 Hours
 Imipramine~19 Hours 
 Mirtazapine20-40 Hours 
 Sertraline22-36 Hours 
 Trimipramine~23 Hours 
 Paroxetine~24 Hours 
 Escitalopram30 Hours 
 Doxepin33-80 Hours 
 Citalopram~36 Hours 
 Isocarboxazid~36 Hours 
 Nortriptyline~36 Hours 
 Dosulepin~50 Hours 
 Fluoxetine96-144 Hours 

    This was pretty simple, I gave the top 1/3rd (1), and bottom 1/3rd (-1).

Drug Interactions with Neonatal Withdrawal Symptoms

    The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol 293 No. 19 has a report called "Neonatal signs after Late in Utero Exposure to SRI's." Which mainly deals with the withdrawal symptoms a baby can feel after birth. Some highlights from the report by the group of doctors, that were notable, includes;

  • In 3 of 4 cases, exposure was associated with postnatal onset of signs within 4 hours of delivery, which suggested that these neonates experienced drug toxic effects as as opposed to withdrawal. In the forth case somnolence was apparent after discharge on day 2, with significant worsening by day 3 of life. Cord blood SRI levels equivalent to those found in adults and the prolonged half lives of fluoxetine, and norfluoxetine (the active metabolite) in neonates suggested that fluoxetine exposed neonates experienced SRI toxicity signs comparable with adult SRI adverse effects.
  • Paroxetine and fluoxetine are the SRI's most commonly reported with the neonatal syndrome. 
  • Late gestational exposure to SRI's with long half-lives, like fluoxetine, could be associated with a neonatal toxicity syndrome with immediate onset of signs at birth. 
    Table 1, "Case Reports of Neonatal Outcomes After Late In Utero SRI Exposure" Has several studies on the use of SRI's, Gestational weeks of birth, the time their effect started, duration and whether or not breastfeeding was completed. I am only listing cases where breastfeeding or not is specified, as my previous mentioned comment that post birth breast feeding is important to my wife and I.

 Anti-depressant Dose mg/d Gestational Age Sign Onset Duration in daysBreast Feeding 
 Paroxetine 40 35Day 3-4 10 No
  30 39Hour 12 3 No
  40 TermDay 5 21 Yes
  10 TermBirth10 Yes 
  40 TermDay 5> 28 Yes
  10 TermDay 3 2 No
 Citalopram 20-30TermBirth  > 7 Yes
 Sertraline 200 TermWeek 32 Yes
 Fluoxetine 60TermHour 414 No
  40 37Day 3 21 Yes

    So I ended up scoring Sertraline (1), Paroxetine (-1) and Fluoxetine (-1) based on this data. Although I guess because of both the withdrawal symptoms and the increase of the symptoms due to the drugs passing on through the milk supply, Paroxetine and Fluoxetine could potentially get a (-2) for each. But I treated this as one source and one score.

    It is interesting to note with these numbers, that Paroxetine, must be entering the milk at a significant quantity, to keep the baby suffering from withdrawal symptoms for a long period of time, never fully cutting off the baby from the drug. Smaller (10mg/day) doses, limit withdrawal symptoms both in breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding babies, by a significant amount. It seems that once the drug gets to 40mg/d, the symptoms jump from 3 days for 30mg/day to 10 days for 40mg/day. It also seems that the difference between breastfeeding and non-breasting feeding with low as compared to maximum doses plays a fairly large difference. From 10 days of duration of withdrawal symptoms to anywhere from 3-4 weeks or more for maximum dosages during breast feeding.

    The Citalopram study is a little incomplete and no real data to compare it with. But a low to mid-range dosage based on some of the sources I found seem to indicate that it too can stay in the blood for a significant amount of time, but without further data, it's hard to say if it's passing through the milk supply as readily. 

    The use of Sertraline, even at maximum dosage of 200mg/day, took 3 weeks to develop symptoms, and they only lasted for two days. Making it seem like the little amount passed through the breast milk is enough to keep the baby from experiencing any hard symptoms of withdrawal, and once the symptoms appear, they are relatively mild. As only Paroxetine, with no breast feeding, and minimum dosage of 10mg/day has the same duration of symptoms. 

    Fluoxetine, in non-breastfeed babies, seems to give toxicity symptoms, due to the massive concentrations in the cord blood. Lasting two weeks, and while breast feeding delayed the symptoms by a few days, it ended up lasting 3 weeks. Which to me makes it seem rather not preferred like Paroxetine. 

How it Effects the Mother?

    I also used, the UK National Association for Mental Health, in their Anti-Depressants from A to Z guide book looking at it for pregnancy risk factors, blood/liver issues, energy/sleep issues, dietary restrictions, withdrawal symptoms and whether or not it was either listed as dangerous, or seemed dangerous due to complications from non-prescription drug interactions.

    Most things were always going to be negative values, as there is little positive mentioned in this report, but the Withdrawal category is multiple scoring. For every underlined serious withdrawal symptom, I gave it a (-1) so lots of drugs ended up getting (-3) in the end. Agomelatine, has a note that it's withdrawal is actually okay, so it's the only drug in this entire list that got a positive score for a single item.

 Name Score Pregnancy Blood/Liver  EnergyDietary Withdrawal Dangerous 
 Sertraline -1   -1   
 Agomelatine -1 -1  -1    1  
 Mirtazapine -2   -1  -1 
 Reboxetine -3 -1  -1  -1 
 Triptafen -3 -1 -1 -1   
 Amitriptyline -3  -1   -2 
 Trimipramine -3  -1   -2 
 Escitalopram  -4   -1  -3 
 Fluvoxamine -4   -1  -3 
 Venlafaxine  -4   -1  -3 
 Duloxetine  -4   -1  -3 
 Imipramine  -4 -1  -1  -2 
 Trazodone -4   -1  -2 
 Clomipramine -4 -1  -1  -2 
 Doxepin -4 -1 -1   -2 
 Paroxetine -4   -1  -3 
 Citalopram -4   -1  -3 
 Fluoxetine -4   -1  -3 
 Lofepramine -4  -1 -1  -2 
 Mianserin -5 -1 -1   -2 -1
 Nortriptyline -5 -1 -1 -1  -1 -1
 Dosulepin -5 -1 -1   -2 -1
 Moclobemine -5 -1  -1 -1 -2 
 Isocarboxazid -5   -1 -1 -2 -1
 Tranylcypromine -6   -1 -1 -3 -1
 Phenelzine -7  -1 -1 -1 -3 -1

Educated Opinions Online?

   Finally there are also 3 websites, by the Mayo Clinic, Seleni Institute, and WebMD about anti-depressants while pregnant. This is more just general information, because as we see above, the risk factors for Fluoxetine, are relatively clear, but because of it's high prescription rate, even among pregnant women, it was recommended by all 3 groups.

 Anti-depressant Score Mayo ClinicSeleni InstituteWebMD 
 Sertraline 11 1 
 Fluoxetine 11
 Bupropion1  1 
 Duloxetine 1 
 Citalopram 1   1 
 Desipramine 1 
 Escitalopram 1 1
 Amitriptyline 1   1
 Nortriptyline 1

 Paroxetine -1-1 -1
 Moclobemide -1-1   
 Phenelzine -1-1   
 Tranylcypromine -1-1   
 Isocarboxazid-1  -1  


    Finally I can't help anyone make their own personal choice, I am not a doctor, but based on this, I feel confident my wife and I have made the right choice in selecting her medication.

Dimitrios Simitas

# Sources
1 National Association for Mental Health
9 for these 4 items

Lego Figures

posted Aug 24, 2015, 6:17 PM by Dimitrios Simitas

August 24th 2015

Due to popular demand, I have taken close ups of all the figures that came with the Millennium Falcon.

BB-8, the "soccer ball".

The completed figure. And below, the Stud on top design of the base piece.

Han Solo, the "Old man".

This face makes him look really old.

Rey, the "female Luke".

Tasu Leech, the new Lando.

Kanjiklub Gang Member, the "Pirate".

No face printing as you can see on the back.

Finn, the "Turncoat".

Chewbacca, the "Ageless". Same as many of the more new sets. Nothing really new to see with the figure itself.

Upclose of the neat Wookie bowcaster, and I don't even like stud shooters.

Hope this helps to those who asked for it.

Dimitrios Simitas

Lego Star Wars 75105 - Millennium Falcon

posted Aug 23, 2015, 6:07 PM by Dimitrios Simitas

August 23, 2015

    So with the much anticipated release of the new Star Wars sets, I was browsing my local Walmarts and Toys-R-Us stores. A couple of days ago I found the price listings at a Walmart to the east of me. Today, with my buddy, we found the new Millennium Falcon in all it's glory.

New 75105!

The box is fairly big, with some heft to it, considering it's a little over 1,300 pieces.

Back of Box

The back of the box in all it's glory. Showing the top canopy of the Falcon opened up.

Close up of the Interior

A close up of the interior as shown on the back of the box.

The new style missile launchers integrated into the front of the Falcon.

Both Turrets

Both turrets, top and bottom.

Gunner Stations

The Gunner stations.

Space Chess

Can't forget the space chess. And Chewie's inability to lose.

Smuggler compartment

The Smuggler compartment.

The ramp.

The cockpit

And the tiny cockpit.

Now that the basic box images are out of the way, let's get on with the review of the Lego set itself.

The package contents.

All 9 bags, and an unmarked bag, that is mainly with bag 1 components. Also, the binding on the manual isn't a typical stapled affair. It's bound like the Lego star wars books you can find in the book section for kids to read.

Sticker Sheet

The Sticker sheet. Not too many, and because it was packed with the book, stayed flat. Unlike the sticker sheet of my recently built Death Star that was crushed with the bags of Lego.

Charactor Sheet

Oh and a surprise for all of you, the Character poster in the instruction manual.

Bag 1 completed build.

Fairly standard with Lego's new construction methods, lots of pins and assemblies with flat tiles to give it a surface.

Bag 2

Other then some of the obvious things such as the chairs, chess table, and beds, it seemed to be a collection of parts thrown around into the area to give it substance.

Bag 3 started to give the ship depth. And gave us what we wanted to see ...

The front of the now old man.

And the back.

As you can see, the sides are designed with parts "floating" using the hook method.

Bag 4 continued what bag 3 started.

Bag 5 gave us the full depth of the ship ...

It also gave us this ...

The tube however was a little short, and did not extend from stud to the proper stud.

Bag 6 gave us this adorable soccer ball.

Two simple pieces, not much to him, and he doesn't balance well when not on a stud. A slight breeze, from something like my fan will topple him.

With Han Solo.

You can see the cockpit, seemingly too small to hold any seats for the figures, and no door way into the rest of the ship. Limiting it like the Ghost set with the cockpit isolated from the rest of the craft.

Random interior shots for people to enjoy build during bags 2 to 7 ....

The two, "handled" pieces is what the platform for the gunners slides up and down on. With the two black hooks allowing you to lift up the gun to get to them.

The hidden compartment.

The 4 legs are fixed in their positions.

Bag 8 built the canopy for the most part.

And Bag 9 completed the ship!

Final thoughts.

Other then being able to pick up the set 2 weeks early, which was great. Let's focus on the building of the set itself.

Playability – 9/10: This set gives you a big "wooosh" factor, seems sturdy, and when opened up gives you a playable area for the mini-figures, something we are lacking with most sets. Lot's of "wooosh" and no play locations in most of the current line up. 
Minifigures – 10/10: Not sure how the minifigures will play out with regards to the new movie. But it's got what appears to be a few hero's and a few villains to play with. Instant 10 for the older Han Solo and the new updated Wookie bowcaster. And this is coming from someone who hates the stud guns that come in the battle backs.

Design – 8/10: Lot's of non-linear building involved, compared to classic Lego. Other then Bag 2, everything made relative sense, and the ship turned out looking design of what it should be.

Price --- 8/10: $180 CAD, a little more steep, as I believe the last MF was $150, but our dollar dropped during the same time period.

Overall --- 9/10

It's a good set, and far more playable then many. For AFOL's, it also has the benefit that it looks like it would display well in a non-playable setting.

Dimitrios Simitas

Soccer organizations supporting hooliganism?

posted Apr 26, 2015, 8:11 AM by Dimitrios Simitas

April 26th 2015

So I came across this interesting article ...

The Greek government wants to pass laws on violence following a series of incidents at matches.  

The Greek Super League has already been suspended three times this season due to serious outbreaks of violence.

Any new legislation would breach Fifa and Uefa rules on third-party influence on a national football federation.

On Wednesday, the European and world football governing bodies sent a letter to the Greek government reiterating their stance.

Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino hopes the threat "will make them reconsider their actions, so we can still work together to resolve the issues affecting Greek football".

However, Greece's deputy sports minister Stavros Kontonis rejected the ultimatum in a television interview on Wednesday evening.

"We are not going to change the philosophy of the sports bill. The supervision exercised in Greek football by Fifa and Uefa has failed," Kontonis said.

We all know the kind of hooliganism that occurs in soccer matches not only in Europe but other parts of the world as well. This has been an issue that has plagued the sport for years. Over zealous fans causing problems depending on the outcome of in game calls, and events, but also how the game ended.

I have to question the validity of the organizations when measures directly meant to combat hooliganism is seen as an “imposing” legal precedence that a nation has the right to control it's own citizens.

If UEFA and FIFA claim to be the sole implementer of anti-hooligan measures, does that mean that instead of having the various police forces of nations playing soccer, shouldn't the organizations completely foot not only the enforcement costs but compensation for damages?

After all, if local LEO's are supposed to maintain order during soccer riots, but nations cannot impose punishment for people who riot, then who is responsible for the injuries, damages and potentionally loss of life?

Seems to me there is only two organizations responsible, so perhaps during the next mass riot at a European soccer game the injured should initiate a law suit for UEFA and FIFA being unable to protect them and deal with the riots?

Dimitrios Simitas

Ethanol Fuel Debate

posted Apr 24, 2015, 4:13 PM by Dimitrios Simitas   [ updated Apr 24, 2015, 4:16 PM ]

Date: October 27, 2012
Just a "rant" about Ethanol fuels ...

Per litre it has 21.2 MJ of energy. Since I realize that most here are American I'll use both systems, you end up with 80.25 MJ/US Gal.
  • Gasoline with a Octane of 91? 34.8MJ/L or 131.73MJ/Gal.
  • So you end up with 90/10 (90% gasoline and 10% Ethanol) having 33.7MJ/L or 127.56MJ/Gal.
  • That newish E85 they are pushing? 25.2MJ/L or 95.39MJ/Gal.
Car engines have a maximum theoretical efficiency of 37%. Most new "fuel" efficient engines are only at 20%.

So on say a Harley with it's 48mi/Gal. One Gallon of Regular fuel Octane 91, and assuming a 20% efficiency, means to drive 48 miles you need 26.35MJ's of energy, this is more or less a "absolute", in that you can't suddenly make the bike use only 1MJ of energy to do the same distance, regardless of what fuel you use. Since Harley says "under ideal laboratory conditions", we all know real world fuel economy will be worse then listed, but that 26.35MJ's of energy can be considered a minimum energy we'd need to move the bike.

If you use 90/10 you'd need 

131.73MJ/Gal / 127.56MJ/Gal = 1.03 Gallons of fuel.


131.73MJ/Gal / 95.39MJ/Gal = 1.38 Gallons of Fuel.

Now as for "pollution" to get us to where we are going. 

When you burn Gasoline you end up with this equation:

2 C8H18 + 25 O2 → 16 CO2 + 18 H2O


C2H5OH + 3 O2 → 2 CO2 + 3 H2O 

The molar mass of Gasoline is ~0.75g/cm^3 (100oz/gal) while for Ethanol it is ~0.79g/cm^3 (105.4oz/gal)

So in one Gallon of Gasoline you have 2835g of gasoline.

In one Gallon of 90/10 you have 2552g of gasoline and 299g of ethanol.

In one Gallon of E85 you have up to 425g of gasoline and 2456g of ethanol.

The molar mass of gasoline is ~114g/mol, while Ethanol is ~46g/mol.

  • So in regular gasoline you have 24.9 mol of gasoline. 
  • 90/10 you have 22.4 mol of gasoline and 6.5 mol of ethanol. 
  • In E85 you have 3.7 mol of gasoline and 53.4 mol of ethanol. 

As per the above chemical equations, you end up with eight times the CO2 in moles then you have in gasoline, and two times that of Ethanol.
  • So regular Gasoline has a easy 199.2 mol of CO2.
  • The 90/10 stuff has 192.2 mol of CO2.
  • And E85 has 136.4 mol of CO2.
So that looks like Ethanol has a "good" trade off in CO2 emissions. Which is what everyone talks about. And perhaps they are right. But remember my fuel efficiency conversions I mentioned above?
  • Regular Gasoline simply produces 199.2 mol of CO2 to get us 48mi down the road.
  • The 90/10 stuff now requires 198 mol of CO2 to get us to 48mi down the road.
  • And finally the E85 stuff now requires 188 mol of CO2 to get us the same 48mi down the road as the other two.
So while Ethanol costs us more at the pump then crude based gasoline, even with the lower production of CO2, we still end up within 6% of the same amount of CO2 being released in the air. Which is more then eaten up due to efficiency losses caused by dirty air filters, oil changes, tune ups etc.


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