E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by amarshall »

Man-made global warming/Climate change
Carbon footprint
biofuels
EC directive
renewable/sustainable energy

http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/b ... els_en.htm

5% ethanol has been with us for a while without problems, but the articles seem to suggest that problems arise with concentrations above 7% (and 10% fuel is coming in this year).

So - it's happening, like it or not - we can do some work to figure out how to keep our cars going as they are, re-engineer them to make them compatible or scrap them/consign them to static museums.
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by Lotus Jim »

Hi, I hope this helps answer a few questions. I have quickly extracted a few facts that I had used in two papers I submitted to a University earlier this year.

• Because ethanol is compatible with gasoline, it makes it an ideal “fuel extender” enabling fuel reserves to be increased through the blending of gasoline with ethanol.
• The general trend is that the greater the concentration of ethanol blended with gasoline, the greater the reduction in regulated tailpipe emissions.
• The blending of ethanol in gasoline is mandatory in some global regions due to government environmental or energy security policy.
• Ethanol can potentially yield, depending on the growth and processing methodology employed, up to 25% more energy than the energy invested into its production.
• Best guess estimates from several studies for the reduction in green-house gas emissions of Ethanol during its “growth”, processing and combustion are 12% to 13% when compared to the gasoline it displaces.

It is my opinion that the addition of Ethanol is “bridging strategy” to try and lengthen the life of gasoline supplies till emerging technologies such as fuel cell and battery technology become technically viable to generate a significant shift in consumer buying. Ethanol also has the following impacts which must be considered before any increase in its use can be mandated:

• Ethanol produced from feed stocks such as corn, wheat, barley, sugar beet and sugar cane increase the demand for these crops and as a result, “drives up” the price of food products.
• Ethanol produced from feeds stocks is very water intensive and would compete for this resource.
• Ethanol produced from feed stocks is land intensive. According to Pearson et al “wheat straw and rapeseed biodiesel would require approximately 45% and 40% respectively of the UK arable land area to supply 5% of the UK energy demand”. Therefore mass domestic production of ethanol from feedstock is restricted due to land mass and high population density. However it must be noted that many companies are investigating the viability of creating ethanol from waste vegetation or organic material as this has the potential to improve the environmental gains of ethanol.

As a side discussion point, the drive in some regions for a bio fuel substitution of gasoline is for energy security and not environmental drives. Consider the countries which have the largest oil reserves and then consider their relationship with the west! Another issue with ethanol is that the fertilisers used during the growth of the ethanol food stock (such as corn, wheat, sugarcane etc.) can be significantly damaging to the environment and are a source of greenhouse gas emissions (which are included in the 12 to 13% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions total quoted earlier) however they impact the environment by leaching into the ground water changing the bio diversity of lakes and streams.

With regard to the stickers being on Lotus fuel caps in the 1970’s warning about the use of Ethanol being place in the fuel system it could be because of the following reasons:

• In the early 1970’s Brazil started their energy security policy of synthesising ethanol from sugar cane, therefore Lotus may have placed these stickers on the fuel cap just in case their products were exported.
• During the fuel crisis of the 1970’s, when fuel supplies were erratic, Lotus may have wanted to mitigate the risk of owners adding untested fuels, such as ethanol or methanol, to their engines.

With regard to water absorption, ethanol is hydroscopic. This water absorption property makes it a safer alternative to gasoline when on fire (despite producing a colourless flame when burning) as it can be extinguished using water. However this property has the significant disadvantage of phase separation of the blended fuel.

Phase separation occurs due to water ingress through atmospheric absorption. The ethanol breaks its bond with the gasoline molecule and creates a stronger bond with the water molecule. As a result the heavier than gasoline water-ethanol molecule is dragged to the bottom of the tank and separates from the more buoyant gasoline molecules. This has the potential to make the E10 in the tank unsuitable for internal combustion due to the high water content and the separation of the two combustible liquid fuels. According to a report generated by Hemming’s in the states: “A gallon of gasoline/ethanol blend containing 10% ethanol can suspend nearly 4 teaspoons of water per gallon.” Because of the phase separation phenomena, the shelf life of blended gasoline is 3 months/90 days, (I believe, however I haven’t found conformation of it anywhere) that the typical shelf life of un-blended gasoline can be up to 2 years.

To combat this issue, “Hemming’s” in the USA advise the following (http://clubs.hemmings.com/clubsites/nap ... thanol.pdf):
“Since water increases corrosion, always take precautions to eliminate any introduction of moisture into the fuel system. The tank should be kept full during storage to minimize condensation on the tank walls (alternate is, run dry).”

“Gasoline should not be stored for long periods of time, especially during seasonal changes that usually have large temperature fluctuations associated with them. Care should be taken not to allow water into the fuel system, while filling fuel tanks or in the form of rain or splash, for example.”

“Aside from any ethanol “problem” gasoline stored for extended periods will "oxidize" resulting in the formation of gums which contribute to fuel system and engine deposits. Gasoline is typically stable for a period of at least 90 days but may be 30 days old when you purchase it.”


In the USA fuel stabilisers are now available for classic cars.

I hope this has helped answer a few questions.

Jim
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by Lotus Jim »

Simpatico wrote: On Youtube some boating enthusiasts show how quickly the fuel absorbs water, you can literally see it forming in an open vessel. After spending 3 days clearing a bucketful of rust and water out of the Eclats fuel tank (and rusted solid sender/filter/fuel lines) I'd say anyone using their car sparingly should fit a drain tap and a filter king.
Have you got the links to youtube? I wouldn't mind taking a look. The marine environment is going to have a very water dense air atmosphere, which certainly wouldn't help. I'm not surprised that the marine industry isn't happy about this!

Its interesting as in Brazil they have being using ethanol blends since the 1970's in there vehicles, with most of the blends being greater than E10. I think the technology is out there to make an Excel, Eclat or Elite compatible to run on E10 fuels. Its just determining the best course of action and what should or should not be replaced. So far, given the responce from Dell'Orto, it sounds as if the carbs should be fine.

So we need to look at the possible effect of E10 on the fuel lines and fuel hoses, fuel pumps, vapour hoses and engine internals.

Jim
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by amarshall »

Thanks Jim, useful and interesting stuff - the basic message from that seems to be that cars need to driven regularly enough to ensure that fuel doesn't sit in the tank for than 60 days - I approve and recommend this concept anyway, mainly as a means of avoiding large bills for seized parts. Failing that, a fuel stabiliser can help to reduce take-up of water and separation of the mixture in the tank.

As for the other reports, if I'm reading them correctly (someone please check) - damage to metals is minimal so carb and engine internals will probably be ok, but problems of swelling and degradation arise with certain types of "rubbers" and "plastics". However, since these are fairly common components, we can probably find some suitable alternatives if we do have problems.

Nikasil doesn't seem to have any reported issues with high ethanol fuels, just high sulphur.

There is also the issue that ethanol contains oxygen, so the fuel mixture will be, effectively, a bit weaker than normal so some tweaking of carbs and timing may/will be required to cope with that.
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by Lotus Jim »

With regard to the Nikasil concern, if Jaguar and BMW say its ok to run there Nikasil coated engine products on E10, you could assume that the risk to the Nikasil in an Excel would be fairly low too?

Its interesting that one of the reports suggests that the government should have a lower blend of ethonal fuel for classic cars! Let hope they do it! :D
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

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Lotus Jim wrote:With regard to the Nikasil concern, if Jaguar and BMW say its ok to run there Nikasil coated engine products on E10, you could assume that the risk to the Nikasil in an Excel would be fairly low too?

Its interesting that one of the reports suggests that the government should have a lower blend of ethonal fuel for classic cars! Let hope they do it! :D
Given that I can't find any reports of Nikasil problems from areas where >5% ethanol is or has been routinely used (e.g. in S. America & Australia), I reckon it's fair to assume that we will have few problems with the cylinder liners. Worth noting that a fair number of motorcycles also use Nikasil and there are no easily found reports of problems with them.

I'm almost tempted to take one of my old liners and immerse it in vodka for a couple of months to see what happens to it - but I can think of better things to do with vodka. :mrgreen:
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by amarshall »

An interesting piece of history this time (well, from 1980 some of it) - how run your engine on 85% ethanol, including how to modify carbs., adjust timing and test plastics : http://running_on_alcohol.tripod.com/id26.html


And another report which indicates some possible problems with Aluminium and Magnesium : http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare ... 746pod.pdf
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by Simpatico »

Lotus Jim wrote:
Simpatico wrote: On Youtube some boating enthusiasts show how quickly the fuel absorbs water, you can literally see it forming in an open vessel. After spending 3 days clearing a bucketful of rust and water out of the Eclats fuel tank (and rusted solid sender/filter/fuel lines) I'd say anyone using their car sparingly should fit a drain tap and a filter king.
Have you got the links to youtube? I wouldn't mind taking a look.
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by Lotus Jim »

Pretty interesting experiment. Looks like he is in an extremely high humidity area, such as Florida which can have humidity as high at 91% RH. I wouldn't mind giving this a try myself.

I wouldn't panic too much as in motor vehicles, the fuel system is sealed from the atmosphere. Also it is possible he is using E85 for his demonstration, which would absorb water very quickly!

It would be interesting to see if any manufacturers are planning on fitting water filtration to fuel tanks. Perhaps in the future, classic car owners will have to fit a drain plug to the base of their fuel tanks to ensure that they can purge the tanks of "watery crud" every year.

Maybe this is the excuse to start using Excels, Elites and Eclats daily! :D

Jim
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by amarshall »

Lotus Jim wrote: I wouldn't panic too much as in motor vehicles, the fuel system is sealed from the atmosphere.
Breather pipes. The system can't be sealed - if it was, we'd get vacuum in the tank.
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by Lotus Jim »

Fair point. Bugger.......I am properly embarrassed by my statement! That was such a school boy error. Glad you picked me up on that! :oops:
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by Redlotus »

Lotus Jim wrote:
Maybe this is the excuse to start using Excels, Elites and Eclats daily! :D

Jim
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by amarshall »

I've been discussing this with a supplier of engine components - they don't think there's much of a problem with the internals, but don't want to go on record - so no names.

They also pointed out this useful looking thread at the Club Peugeot site : http://www.clubpeugeotuk.proboards.com/ ... ge=1#12247

Again - most of the problem are related to seals & pipes, but the issue of metal corrosion in copper components comes up.

I don't think we have much, if any, copper in the fuel system do we ?
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by amarshall »

Another quick update. Mike T. has also been looking into this for us and has come up with pretty much the same conclusions as me.

As far as we can make out there should be no major problems with the engine itself or the carbs. The areas which can suffer are :

a) fuel tank - ethanol is hydroscopic (attracts water) so there can be a build up of water in the tank leading to rust. Solution - use the car regularly. If storing it, either get the tank completely drained and dry, or keep it full. Check the filter at 3 month interval for signs of rust moving through the system
b) fuel pipe from tank - the spec. of this is currently unknown so we don't know if the rubber used will be attacked by ethanol. More work for me to do there.
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Re: E10 (10% ethanol) fuel

Post by amarshall »

Latest news from the factory. Lotus no longer have the drawings and specs. for the fuel system components! (I suspect they no longer have any drawings/specs for our cars).

So - we need to do our own testing to determine how badly the seals and hoses will be affected.
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