Preparing Tank for Ethanol Retail Made Easy

The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) reported that preparation to retail E85 (the ethanol-based fuel that is made of 85 percent corn-derived ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) does not have to cost a fortune. According to NEVC, a new E85 compatible tank does not have to be purchased, as E85 can easily be stored in an existing underground gasoline or diesel tank. However, the tank must meet U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.

Jefferson City, Missouri – January 8, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] NEVC has provided steps provide a brief outline on converting an existing tank to dispense E85. First, any remaining gasoline or diesel must be pumped out of the tank. Storing gasoline and diesel underground causes some particulates to accumulate and form sludge so secondly, the tank must be cleaned out. There are four methods in which the tank may be cleaned. One is to use a filter agitator device. Another is to physically enter the tank and steam clean the sludge. A third is to use a robotic cannon to liquefy the sludge. Or a chemical cleaner can be placed into the tank to clean the walls. After the tank walls are cleaned, the sludge must be pumped out of the tank. Next, it is wise, although not necessary, to add 100 gallons of E10 gasoline and then pump out all E10 and any remaining residue. Following this procedure, 500 gallons of E10 gasoline should be added to the tank; and then E10 gasoline (a fuel that uses only 10 percent ethanol) should be sold. After the E10 is totally sold out, the tank is ready to store the E85 product; and the pump must be prepared for consumer use. NEVC cautions prospective dealers to be sure to install an E85-compatible non-aluminum nozzle (nickel-plated or steel); compatible breakaways and Teflon-lined hose with stainless steel ends/fittings to pump. Lastly, a 1-micron (instead of 10-micron gasoline) dispenser filter must be installed. Finally, the pump must bear decals of E85 logos and/or stickers, cautionary statement and orange/black Federal Trade Sticker, an E85 nozzle cover, and a pump topper. NEVC recommends that point of sale brochures are made available, as they are needed to train customer behavior and to promote the new product. NEVC urges E85 dealers to be sure to sure to display the price of E85 on price marquis. Following these simple steps, NEVC said a dealer would be ready to sell the E85 product. NEVC cautioned that dealers should remember to change the filter on the pump regularly and change the blend of the fuel as the seasons change.
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