Bioenergy

EPA Grants Ethanol Testing Exemption to Renergie

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted a testing exemption to Renergie Inc. Under the test program, the first of its kind in the U.S., Renergie will use variable blending pumps, not splash blending, to dispense hydrous ethanol blends of E10, E20, E30 and E85 to test vehicles.

The testing could help determine blend optimization with respect to fuel economy, engine emissions and vehicle drivability. Sixty vehicles will be involved in the test program which will last for a period of 15 months.

In the U.S., the primary method for blending ethanol into gasoline is splash blending. The ethanol is “splashed” into the gasoline either in a tanker truck or sometimes into a storage tank of a retail station. Renergie believes the inaccuracy and manipulation of splash blending may be eliminated by precisely blending the ethanol and unleaded gasoline at the point of consumption.

A variable blending pump would ensure the consumer that E10 means the fuel entering the fuel tank of the consumer’s vehicle is 10 percent ethanol (rather than the current range of 4 percent ethanol to at least 24 percent ethanol that the splash blending method provides) and 90% gasoline, Renergie said.

Tests conducted in Europe have shown that the use of hydrous ethanol, which eliminates the need for the hydrous-to-anhydrous dehydration processing step, could mean energy savings of between ten percent and forty-five percent during processing, a four percent product volume increase, higher mileage per gallon, a cleaner engine interior and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.