German fuel situation and what to improve on it, 2.0

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tomo pauk

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Apr 3, 2008
Many moons ago, davebender davebender made a thread about alleviating the German fuel situation. Perhaps we can give it a second look now?
Of interest is the avgas, gasoline and diesel fuel for military trucks, subs and cars, as well as what to do with fuel required for civilian use (industry, transportation, agriculture).
A realistic approach is appreciated, ie. no 'future sends to Germans 100 fuel-laden tankers in 1939' etc.
 
Didn't Germany at least work on making synfuels during World War II? I remember reading here that they at least tried coal extract for aviation fuel and gasoline and diesel. I'd also say maybe look at biofuels for where that might work (though that wasn't a big deal back then unlike now).
 
Didn't Germany at least work on making synfuels during World War II? I remember reading here that they at least tried coal extract for aviation fuel and gasoline and diesel. I'd also say maybe look at biofuels for where that might work (though that wasn't a big deal back then unlike now).

Yes, Germany had synthetic oil derived from coal (the Fisher-Tropsch process). This synthetic oil production accounted for the large majority of Germany's aviation fuel production during the war.
 
Yes, Germany had synthetic oil derived from coal (the Fisher-Tropsch process). This synthetic oil production accounted for the large majority of Germany's aviation fuel production during the war.
Almost none of the aviation fuel was from the FT plants, the vast majority (probably over 95%) was from the Bergius process plants. The FT plants
sometimes provided some chemicals used for iso-octane production, but this was an extremely minor constititent by volume and didnt occur after about 1943.
 
North sea oil could be a deal maker. Pre war stock building or capture the fields far from the pesky Royal Navy and find a way to protect them. Offshore Drilling History
Nope. See below for a diagram dated 2016 showing distribution of oil and gas reserves across the North Sea area. The physical challenges of developing North Sea oil in the 1970s were huge. The technology to do it didn't exist in the 1930/40s. They are some of the deepest and roughest waters in the world.

1683534663095.jpeg



This is the kind of rigs that had to be built from the 1970s to exploit the North Sea.
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This steel oil rig jacket was built on its side and tipped into position.
 
The physical challenges of developing North Sea oil in the 1970s were huge. The technology to do it didn't exist in the 1930/40s. They are some of the deepest and roughest waters in the world.
not in a war its not.
 
Many moons ago, davebender davebender made a thread about alleviating the German fuel situation. Perhaps we can give it a second look now?
Of interest is the avgas, gasoline and diesel fuel for military trucks, subs and cars, as well as what to do with fuel required for civilian use (industry, transportation, agriculture).
A realistic approach is appreciated, ie. no 'future sends to Germans 100 fuel-laden tankers in 1939' etc.
These sorts of engines were supplied in the main from both the limited crude Germany could import, and extract internally, together with the output of the Fischer-Tropsch fuel from coal plants, which were mostly unsuitable for making AVGAS.

The only sensible solution is to have made more FT and Bergius plants, and to listen to advice they had early on from Professor Steinmann at Berlin University (and ignored) to build a more distributed system, instead of making one huge plant right next to each coal deposit. Later in the war they began building underground hydrogenation plants, which were not completed but were feasible despite significant ventilation engineering challenges.

1683540134118.jpeg
 
FWIW, a video of a guy testing the different fuels (methanol, E85, pump gasoline) on a tuned 350 GM engine. Methanol gives the best power, but it is also consuming the most, more than double of what the gasoline would need.
At 6900 rpm, numbers are:
methanol: ~590 CHp (corrected HP?); fuel flow of ~585 lb/hr; BSFC of ~1.13
E85: ~583 CHp; ; fuel flow of ~313 lb/hr; BSFC of ~0.613
pump gas: 568 CHp; fuel flow of 236 lb/hr; BSFC of ~0.47

At 7200 rpm:
methanol: 599 CHp; fuel flow of 599 lb/hr; BSFC of 1.163
E85: 593 CHp; fuel flow of 319 lb/hr; BSFC of 0.616
pump gas: 577 CHp; fuel flow of 246 lb/hr; BSFC of 0.488

(I have no data on less 'aggresive' fuel blends, like E10 or E20)

LW planers dealing with combat operations will have valid reasons to discard any alcohol - especially methanol - for their needs, the training command might've put the ethanol/gasoline blend to a good use (if there is a steady supply of ethanol, of course). Or, make the switch to such blends for domestic transportation/civilian needs.
Greater knock resistance of the ethanol fuels would've probably been of interest, too, since increased CR improves the gas mileage, thus cancelling a bit the greater BSFC of the methanol fuels.
 
I know that alcohols could've been used in automotive applications, but what chemicals or chemical blends could've been used as aviation fuel? Here's what the Fiat CR.32 used for aviation fuel: "The engine did not use the usual aviation gasoline, but instead ran on a mixture of petrol (55%), alcohol (23%) and benzol (22%)."

Benzol might be something mis-translated - engines were often using benzene.

BMW VI 7.3 (denoting the CR of 7.3:1) also used a lot of benzene in the fuel mixture (80:20 vs. gasoline), since benzene improved the octane rating (as did the alcohol). The VI 6.0 (6:1 CR) required 40% or benzene, and 60% of gasoline to run. The VI 5.5 (5:5 CR) could be run on gasoline of the era. The VI 7.3 was the most powerful of the lot, up to 750 HP if outfitted with Zenith carb and with reduction gear; the VI 6.5 was up to 660 HP, the 5.5 was up to 650 HP.
All data is for 1929.

German word 'benzol' is very different of English 'benzol' - one is petrochemical material, another is alcohol.

Note that both the VI and Fiat's engine were not supercharged. Problem with benzene was that it was very toxic.
 
From wiki Benzole - Wikipedia :


In the United Kingdom, benzole or benzol is a coal-tar product consisting mainly of benzene and toluene. It was originally used as a 'motor spirit', as was petroleum spirits. Benzole was also blended with petrol and sold as a motor fuel under trade names including "National Benzole Mixture" and "Regent Benzole Mixture".[1]

Confusingly, in certain languages, such as German, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Russian, the word benzol (or benzole) means "benzene", and in some of these languages, words pronounced like "benzene" (e.g., the German word Benzin) can mean "petrol" or "gasoline."[2]
 
Almost none of the aviation fuel was from the FT plants, the vast majority (probably over 95%) was from the Bergius process plants. The FT plants
sometimes provided some chemicals used for iso-octane production, but this was an extremely minor constititent by volume and didnt occur after about 1943.

Correction noted. I knew I was forgetting something.
 
Methanol has long been a popular choice for high performance racing engines where the rules allow. It is/was very popular with aircooled race engines where the charge cooling is very beneficial, not to mention the higher power achievable in many applications, albeit with larger fuel consumption. So, it is also popular in short duration Sprint and Drag racing. The "Fuel" term in Drag racing relates to Methanol, aided by Nitromethane on many applications.
The problems with Methanol and fuel systems are always present, many methanol fuelled engines are carefully purged of the Methanol before being put away after use.

Eng
 
Methanol has long been a popular choice for high performance racing engines where the rules allow. It is/was very popular with aircooled race engines where the charge cooling is very beneficial, not to mention the higher power achievable in many applications, albeit with larger fuel consumption. So, it is also popular in short duration Sprint and Drag racing. The "Fuel" term in Drag racing relates to Methanol, aided by Nitromethane on many applications.
The problems with Methanol and fuel systems are always present, many methanol fuelled engines are carefully purged of the Methanol before being put away after use.

Eng

One can try to make comparison with jet-powered aircraft and their fuel consumption (not that I'm claiming that a methanol-fueled piston engine can match a half-decent ww2 jet in propulsive power and other advantages). Eg. Me 262 carried about 1000-1250L (about 250-300 US gals) of fuel per engine, it was still a fairly short-ranged fighter. Or, the Fw proposal jet conversion of the Fw 190, whose obvious addition was a new fuel tank with almost 900 L of fuel, in order to cater for 1170 L/h fuel consumption (endurance of 1.2 hr).
Methanol is also less flamable than gasoline, something that matters in military operations.

However, main German fossil fuel was coal - perhaps jumping on the steam-powered trucks bandwagon for non-combat transport applications would've released a lot of fuel to the combat units? There was a good deal of coal was also abundant in most of the countries that bordered with Germany, like Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, let alone in Ukraine (far easier to capture than the oil fields of Baku).
 

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