Researches from Stanford University have recently published a study on ethanol fuel and its influence over human health. Compared to pure gasoline usage, ethanol increases health problems because of a cancer-chemical formation.
E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) produces a high amount of aldehydes, even higher than gasoline, when burned. Aldehydes form ozone, and ozone can cause very severe respiratory problems if it stays at a breathable level.
The production of aldehydes and ozone are very much increased in the winter period. The scientists demonstrated this statement using some predictive models and taking into consideration two factors: the number of cars on the roads until 2020 and vehicle emission reduction to almost 60% by 2020. They found that from the freezing temperature till 105°F, E85 released up to 7ppb of ozone more than gasoline. From the freezing temperature down to -52°F, E85 released into the air up to 39 ppb more than gasoline.
“What we are saying with these results is that you see an increase. We are not saying that this is the exact magnitude you are going to get in a given urban area, because it is really going to vary from city to city depending on a lot of other factors such as the amount of natural vegetation, traffic levels, and local weather patterns” said Diana Ginnebaugh, a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering.
Sometimes the need of going green can eliminate the CO2 emission but it can produce another nasty problem that could have a higher impact on the environment. We need to figure out very well how to go green and what are the consequences of our interactions on the environment, at least until we still have one.