Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Corrosive Nature Of E85 And Standards Clash

The E-85 sticker on the inside of the gas tank flap shows that it's compatible with the fuel. Image Credit: Robert Becker

The Corrosive Nature Of E85 And Standards Clash

We are told over and over that we are in a war ... and that one of the reasons Islamo-Faschist hate our way of life is due to the amount of influence we exert to get our hands on the oil Islamic countries control in order to fuel our way of life.

One strategy put forth to aid in reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil is to blend the fuel with greater amounts of renewable sources of fuel known as Ethanol (fuel made from cellulose laden vegetation).

The blend, known as E85 - 85% Ethanol and 15% Gasoline - is more corrosive on things that it comes in contact with than straight Gasoline. This potential corrosiveness has held up the approval and certification of pumping mechanisms that deliver fuel to our cars from the Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL).

This from "About UL" on the UL website -

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization. We have tested products for public safety for more than a century.

Since our founding in 1894, we have held the undisputed reputation as a leader in product-safety testing and certification within the United States. Building on our household name in the United States, UL is becoming one of the most recognized, reputable conformity assessment providers in the world. Today, our services extend to helping companies achieve global acceptance, whether for an electrical device, a programmable system, or an organization's quality process.

Basically, without the UL certification for safety, insurance companies and fire response entities will not allow E85 fuel stations to be built. Worse, without certification, E85 stations may be shut down.

Excerpts from the Lincoln Journal Star -

Underwriters Laboratories monkey-wrenches E85 stations

By Lincoln Journal Star staff and wire reports - The Detroit Free Press and Journal Star reporter Art Hovey contributed to this report - Saturday Oct 21, 2006

The legal operating status of some filling stations selling E85, the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is under question since Underwriters Laboratories, the product safety testing group, said it has no timetable for approving E85 systems.

That’s created confusion around the country and could slow the spread of E85 stations, to the dismay of state and local governments, farmers, ethanol promoters and environmental groups.

The lack of the UL seal for filling station pumps carrying E85 means at least some of the roughly 1,000 stations that carry ethanol fuel may be violating fire codes, and new stations that want to install E85 systems in some states would need waivers from local or state fire marshals.
Ethanol advocates said they hope to clear the air soon. In Nebraska at least 10 new E85 stations are on the drawing board, according to Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

State fire marshal inspections have sufficed so far for the 29 existing E85 stations in Nebraska, Sneller said, regardless of the absence of a UL listing.

“We expect certainly this will have some impact on newly installed equipment,” Sneller said Friday. “We are not certain if it will have any effect on already installed equipment.
UL seals show up on thousands of products from toasters to turbines, and a UL listing is a requirement for filling stations under most fire codes. But on Oct. 5, UL announced it was suspending its listings for any fuel system that handled E85.

John Drengenberg, UL’s manager of consumer affairs, said the group had certified some parts of a fueling system as acceptable for alternative fuels but had not taken a close look at E85 until May, when a supplier applied for a UL listing for an entire dispenser — the pump and nozzle.

Drengenberg said as UL began to examine the system, it realized it needed more information about how ethanol reacted over long periods of time with parts made from certain metals.

“We looked at it very carefully and we found this issue of the corrosiveness of ethanol,” Drengenberg said. “We’re going to hold back until we get all the questions that came into our minds answered.”
Sneller said he was not aware of city codes in Nebraska that may demand a UL listing.

“It may be more of an issue with insurance policies,” Sneller said.

The issue has certainly caused confusion, Sneller acknowledged.
On Thursday, there was supposed to be a new E85 initiative announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Governors Ethanol Coalition and private sector partners, Sneller said, but now that’s in doubt.

“The National Ethanol VehicleCoalition has worked very closely with UL for more than a year on this very matter,” Sneller said. “That process was considered to be nearly complete and approval to be imminent, so there’s a great deal of confusion about what prompted this adjustment and a number of efforts under way to get more preicise answers from the UL about why this occurred at this time.”
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Here, in California, this becomes a none issue, issue - of the four stations statewide that carry E85 ... only one is open to to the general public (the other three are on US Government/Military facilities).

At MAXINE, we STILL believe we are at war! Appearently, this war has to be fought not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but here at home as well.

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